The other day I recognized something that has been bugging me for ages: That we don't eat meals at the dinner table (in the kitchen), but instead on our laps in front of the TV. A big part of the reason for that is like every other part of our house the kitchen is a cluttered mess. Another part is that it is ugly. It's almost original to the house, which was built in 1950. The cabinets and layout are original. Some previous owner put in white tile countertops and backsplashes, and did a terrible job installing ugly beige tile on the floor, then when we moved in we painted everything white and yellow and that's where the improvements ended. There isn't much in the way of counter space or storage, so the kitchen table is often used to hold anything and everything
until I find a place for it indefinitely.
It's not big but it's also not a particularly tiny kitchen, it just has a really inefficient layout. There is a big blank wall right when you walk in, which originally was home to the laundry area. We put our fridge on the other side of the doorway from the blank wall so there wasn't room for anything substantial like cabinets, so instead three Cost Plus vintage-esque framed prints went there and we made do. For nine years. Yep, I haven't even switched out the art since we moved in. I would absolutely love to renovate the whole damn thing, change the layout around, increase storage and counter space, and install a pass-through, but we haven't been able to afford that master plan since we conceived it so instead we did nothing.
Nothing... until the other day when I said to the Hubs, "I wish there was something we could do to make our kitchen more comfortable." We started brainstorming (not to be confused with mind-mapping), I hit up Pinterest for some ideas, we measured, and voila! We decided to build open shelves on that big blank wall. It was actually really easy and inexpensive. Instead of buying shelving kits, we got pre-cut pine wood and brackets and turned them into four three-foot long shelves ourselves. We painted the wood white and put a pretty gray contact paper on the tops. I ordered some nice (and cheap!) gray baskets for three of the shelves so we can use them like a mini pantry, and the other shelf is where my coffee maker and fruit basket now live. I'm kinda loving my new coffee station, and I'm absolutely loving the extra counter space I have now that the coffee maker and fruit basket have moved! Plus the kitchen looks more balanced, and even though I haven't finished stocking the shelves (my baskets aren't due to arrive for another week, ugh!) I'm already feeling a lot more organized.
I have more plans too! Next I'm going to paint a chalkboard on what remains of the big blank wall next to the new shelves, and then I'm planning to install pegboard above the stove (where three more "vintage-esque" pictures have hung for the past 9 years).
So all this is what it takes to eventually get us to start eating meals around the table together. Yeah, it hasn't quite happened yet, but it will! I still have to tackle that mess on the table... but as my therapist friend says, "Progress, not perfection!"