The Unexpected Kitchen: Progress

Having the kitchen cabinets in makes a world of a difference in the way the house looks, even if its a completely non-functioning space as far as anything more complicated than opening a granola bar is concerned. It is working well for displaying my paltry cookbook collection, however.

Here’s a little tour of the kitchen evolution.

The original kitchen:

memorial house 003

It stunk, and once the cabinets were ripped out I figured out why…


That’s basically a colony’s worth of mouse poop. Do we all need to take a quick break and go shower now?

So you can see why I basically tore the entire room down and started over. The wall front and center is where the kitchen was added on to.


Old kitchen on the left, new kitchen addition on the right:


Cleaned up:




And with cabinets:


Considering where it started, this is pretty exciting. I spent a lot of time pondering the many mysteries of kitchen design and lighting, and got plans from three designers before settling on the final cabinet configurations, and then promptly forgot all of that when my brain space was needed for other projects, like cutting the diagonal tiles for the master bath.  So having it all put together was like rediscovering all of the brilliant decisions I made months ago.

Like this…


Those are two 2-bin waste cabinets. My garbage is now the most organized thing in my life. One of the interesting things about country life is no garbage pickup. Its amazing how quickly you can break life-long habits of just tossing things in the garbage when all of the sudden someone isn’t going to come by in a truck and haul it away for you.

The waste is actually separated into five types: burnables (you’d be surprised how much garbage can be burned), glass and can recyclables (which in Michigan can be turned in for cash), plastic recyclables, compostable food waste, and then actual “trash” which is mostly non-compostable food waste and plastic.

Burnables end up here:


Do you know how much less I hate getting junk mail, now that it goes in the burn barrel? It’s almost exiting… “Hey look, more things I can use to start a fire!”

Also exciting is this light, back in the kitchen.


I’m going to get the single version to hang over the “table” part of the island when the final thing is built, but I might go for something different over the sink.

For now, I moved my old dining room table in to simulate the future island since it has roughly the same dimensions. It gives me somewhere to sit, and lets me check out the spacing of everything before building the island.

I’m also pondering color and backsplash options….


I’m actually very seriously considering using the same type and color of tiles used in the full bathroom shower, except in a subway size.


The kitchen is occupying one of the top spots on my priority list, and there is definitely work to be done. A few of the cabinets just need their glass doors installed and the crown molding needs to go in on the uppers. The counters (probably concrete) and getting a sink installed are high up there on the list as well.  However, seeing as how I’ve been living with a hot plate and mini-fridge for over a year now, I’m actually not in a rush for major appliances.

Like the living room, its far from being done, but I think it’s a definite improvement over where it started.






14 Responses

  1. First off I’d like to say i love you blog. However i was shocked about burning garbage….Unless you are burning it in a pot belly stove or a fireplace so the heat from the burnt material gets used to keep yourself warm, I can’t believe that anyone would burn stuff and send up that much CO2 into the air. Where i live (Canada) we have top notch recycle programs and can recycle almost everything there is very little you don’t compost or recycle.

    1. I really don’t know how much CO2 a little flyer fire generates, and it may be more harmful than I expect. Your comment is thought-provoking.
      But I think you’re underestimating the emotional warmth generated by a little bonfire. Of course it’s not a necessity, but if standing in the backyard enjoying a little fire makes one happy, that has value.
      Or should we also eliminate campfires and wiener roasts and s’mores?
      I bet those little hand-held sparklers are really bad. But the pure joy of waving them around still makes me smile!
      Canada is a big place; I seriously doubt that there is recycling pick up on most rural roads.

      1. OMGosh! Did he not read your post? I think you have gone beyond the call of duty when it comes to recycling. You Rock! We live in Arizona, so having an outdoor fire in the winter is Wonderful! Especially with a piece of Alligator Juniper (the smell is so intoxicating, love it) Love your blog and look forward to reading more on your DIY’s,

      2. I think you misunderstand. I’m closet pyromaniac myself, love the smell of wood burning, campfires and BBQ and so on. However i have a problem with people burning trash (anything that is no recycled or composed). If your burning things with a purpose that is cool, ie, to stay warm, cook,and so on i totally understand and have no problem with it. I support emotional enjoyment but “because i just love burning shit in my backyard” ….I think you have deeper emotional issues you need to work out and burning stuff i don’t think is a long term solution to feeling better, just saying. What I am saying is that burning trash just to get rid of it in my mind is problematic and am surprised that they still allow that where you live. And yes we do have recycle programs in the rural areas, Unless your talking about the upper norther areas of Canada,the ones that are frozen …with snow.. then ya they probably burn that shit just to stay warm.

        Welcome to 2011 K.D., like my mom use to say just because you have a penis and playing with it makes you feel good doesn’t mean you should do it all the time….same goes for trash.

        1. Hey guys – I completely respect all of you opinions here, but I want to make sure things don’t turn nasty on this site.

          It’s great to hear that Canada has such great recycling programs. While we can recycle things like bottles/cans/cardboard regular paper products are a bit trickier around here. Where we live, everybody has a burn barrel on their property for things like paper and tissue.

          We burn a paper grocery bag full of garbage about once a week, if not less, just to put it in perspective. We also have bigass bonfires about once a week too (sometimes with burnables, but a lot of time with pallets or other wood) just for fun. In the scheme of things we’re burning a lot more for entertainment that we do for garbage.

          Also, we do not burn plastics or Styrofoam.

          I do completely respect you perspective on putting unnecessary CO2 out, but I think we also have to consider what the environmental impact is of the trucks that haul recycling materials to the processing facility and how much energy and other chemicals are used in actually recycling the product. It might just be trading one evil for others.

          It’s definitely given us something to think about though!

  2. Looks fabulously awesome!

    If you don’t find any more cookbooks when you finish unpacking you can always display some platters, pitchers or vases among the cookbooks.

    What do you have left to do to meet the minimum requirements for certificate of occupancy? I’m guessing you are pretty close by now. Although if I remember correctly you are doing a bit more than the minimum before you actually move in.

    You must be giddy with excitement!

  3. For what it’s worth, I liked the way your dining room table looks in there. When I saw it I thought, what a nice, warm island. Now that I know it’s your table I can see that it is a bit low, but the wood is nice with the beautiful cabinet colour.
    I love the lights!

  4. Have been busy with working on gut/reno work on house for daughter so haven’t had time to check in on your progress. I’m sure you are ecstatic about being able to actually live in a HOUSE and have the bath and kitchen and now a living lounge area to use as well. Good for you and MM! Go Girl!!! I’m sure by the holidays you will be smiling at your big ole Christmas tree in the vaulted ceiling area living room and thinking “what? build a house? Not such a big deal!” Ok, maybe not. 😉
    Keep up the good work. You give all of us female DIY hope.

  5. Awesome kitchen! It looks so functional and well thought out! As for the garbage, you do what you have to do when you live rurally. The same people that are wagging their fingers at you for burning trash will be just as apt to wag their fingers if you sent it to a landfill. You just can’t win. We live semi-rural. We are not “allowed” to burn our trash but we are encouraged to burn our green waste for fire clearance. If you think a garbage can fire is cozy, you should visit some of our bonfires! 🙂

  6. I too was surprised your community doesn’t have a way to recycle paper stuff. It’s good in a compost pile also, if you have one of those.

    1. We certainly do compost food waste, and the ashes from the burn barrel in the garden as well. I thought you could only use b&w newspapers in the compost pile, but I’d be happy to throw in some junk mail too!

  7. Plant more trees/vegetation! They love the CO2 and give back O2 as a bonus. Photosynthesis, anyone. 🙂

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