Mini Kitchen Makeover




This is (was) our kitchen.

It’s a good kitchen.  It’s open to the living area, has a gas range and a garbage disposal, granite counters, and one of those faucets that pulls out and turns into a sprayer.  But it’s also been a frustrating kitchen for me–because of its size.  Now, I know all too well that we have what is considered a good-sized kitchen by New York City standards, and I am grateful for that.  It’s just that I do a lot of cooking and there are very few items in my kitchen that aren’t used on a regular basis, which means that I have to unload an entire cabinet to access something almost daily.  It’s exhausting and the juggle often results in things getting broken.  I’ve completely lost track of how many times in just the past six months I’ve stood in our kitchen in frustrated tears looking at shards of glass mixed with garlic powder/chickpeas/whathaveyou on the floor around me.


Old spice arrangement
Yikes! Someone grab that cinnamon before it falls out!


We’ve been talking for a long time about ways to add more storage space to our overflowing kitchen, most of which involved the empty wall where we keep the garbage can.  The discussion has been largely centered around shelving, but we haven’t been able to find shelves that felt right and there were concerns about things getting bumped/falling down/breaking–which would sort of defeat the whole purpose around adding the them.

Sometime last week I caught an episode of the Rachael Ray Show.  They had a designer on the show giving tips on how to makeover your kitchen on a budget.  One of her suggestions: hang a medicine cabinet in the kitchen for more storage space.  They’re much more shallow than kitchen cabinets, which means they won’t get all up in your business (i.e. will add storage space without taking up a lot of space).  The mirrored cabinets that she was using seemed a bit tacky and obviously “bathroom” for my tastes, but I remembered seeing small, decorative cabinets hung in other people’s bathrooms that had glass doors and I decided to do some looking.  It didn’t take me long to find two very viable options on Ikea’s website.  Chris has a hard time picturing things, so my next step was to do what I always do when I want to add something to our apartment: make a mock up.


(Mouseover/off to see both cabinet options.)


Both cabinets look pretty good, right?  We found ourselves leaning slightly more toward the larger one with the high gloss white finish, but decided to look at them in person before making any decisions.  This is always a good idea with Ikea merchandise–to see it in person.  A lot of their stuff looks so good for the price, while some of it unfortunately looks just as cheap as it is.  We were lucky that our favorite fell in the former category, and the frosted glass cabinet fell in the latter.  Yay for easy decisions!

After a trip to Home Depot to procure some heavy duty drywall anchors, I built the cabinet and Chris and I measured and mounted it.


Before & after straight on


I love it.  I feel like it’s just the thing our kitchen was missing.  The high gloss white finish is sleek and modern, and I don’t think it looks like a bathroom cabinet at all.  Okay maybe a smidge on the inside, but not enough to bother me and only if I really think about it.


Spices before & after


And here’s the before and after inside. All my spices and extracts used to live all crowded on top of one another.  My flours are still in that cupboard, but the rest of it has moved to the new cabinet.  Look how much nicer everything is!  I can just open the door, see what I need, and grab it.  It feels great.

Just for fun, let’s take one more look back at the mock up I did.


Mock up after


And the actual result:




That’s one of the reasons I love drawing things up beforehand–getting to see an idea become real.  Of course, that’s also one of the reasons I love cooking so much.


After open


 I’m still playing with how to arrange everything and contemplating what can be moved to the old cupboard to make space elsewhere (I have a loaf pan and a couple muffin tins that have been hiding out under the sink and am hoping to find them a home), but I already feel so much better about our situation.  Who’d a thought a bathroom cabinet could make such a difference in our kitchen?


  1. Barb said...

    You really do have an amazing kitchen for NYC! You even have some extra room in the new cabinet as well. Smart cookie!

  2. Stacey LoSacco said...

    Wow! This looks great!! What a fab idea and you had just the right space for it in your kitchen!

  3. Mel said...

    It looks great! I like this one better than the smaller choice! Way to go:)

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