The kitchen has been my arch nemesis since the day we moved in. Ruled by a run-down refrigerator covered in a fine spray of brown rust, it featured walls the color of snot, impossibly placed grease splatters, and an overhead fluorescent light that defied all reason and taste. It had barely any counter or storage space to speak of, and just being in it kind of made me feel dirty.
The good news is that its truly offensive state motivated me to get to work on it immediately.
BEHOLD: The fruition of countless hours of OCD-esque labor and a lot of Craigslisting. (Also, I promise I'll figure out how to take non-shitty pictures of my apartment. At some point. In the future.)
Here's what I've done so far:
- Repainted the cabinets (as soon as we moved in), trim, beadboard and back door (later) with a fresh coat of white paint
- Stripped the cabinet hardware (as soon as we moved in) and spray painted it oil-rubbed bronze, along with the hardware on the back door (later)
- Refreshed the janky refrigerator with a coat of white appliance paint
- Acquired the kitchen cart in the corner
- Haggled back and forth at a garage sale for the pièce de résistance, the island*
- Lined the interiors of the bare, unfinished cabinets with paper**
- Hung (well, Nathan did the actual hanging part) the ladder spice rack
- Installed a magnetic knife rack
- Brought in three stools for hanging out in the kitchen
- Repainted the stupid, pointless spotlight on the far wall to match the rug (unpictured) that's under the island
- Installed a towel bar over the gaping hole where the left drawer next to the sink is supposed to be***
- Removed the 70s light cover and replaced it, for the time being, with a somewhat crappy, homemade drum shade
*I did a lot of haggling because this was the first major purchase I made for the apartment on my own. The guys weren't convinced that we needed an island in the kitchen because neither of them cook, so they didn't realize how necessary countertop space is. Without the cart or the island, the only counter space is what amounts to 1.5 square feet on each side of the sink — half of which is usurped by a drying rack for the dishes. It wasn't until after I brought in the island that Nathan and Andy realized what we'd been missing and, bonus, it provides a bunch of storage space, too.
**The true purpose of the entire cabinet/sink structure is really just to emphasize how much our kitchen was not built to be a kitchen. It's a crappy structure made of poor-quality chipboard and lumber that's probably exhaling splinters and dust particles all over our dishes and pots on a daily basis. I try not to think about it too hard, because when I do, I realize that the bottom half has no dividing walls between the compartments and our pots are brushing elbows with all of our cleaning supplies and their chemical-y goodness. I need to find a solution for this.
***When we moved in, the drawer that is supposed to be there was missing, because the drawer front had apparently fallen off and our landlord was going to fix it. That may or may not have happened, but we'll never know because the drawer has been lost to the chaos that is my landlord's two-steps-away-from-an-episode-of-"Hoarders" apartment. I gave up on the idea of it ever coming back and chose instead to mask the hole with my awesome, acid-green dish towels.
Besides the major additions and changes, adding in all our stuff really helped. Plants, DIY "art," and the ladder spice rack all made a huge difference.
- Vintage cranberry prints (Andy)
- Framed illustration of ducks and food (Ikea bargain frame + page from Edible Boston)
- Virtually indestructible zizi plants and brightly colored pots (Ikea)
- Constellation map (Wrapping paper from PaperSource + Bulldog clips from Dick Blick)
- Appalachian Mountain Club calendar (Nathan)
- Framed photos of food (already-owned Ikea frames + more pages from Edible Boston)
- Ladder for the spice rack (a Craigslist "Free" section find)
All items and decor were either (A) Craigslist finds, (B) previously owned items, (C) DIY creations, or (D) gifts.
The pantry got the same treatment as the kitchen when it came to the built-in storage and hardware, and I ripped off the countertop's plastic sheeting and replaced it with black vinyl contact paper. It's held up surprisingly well for more than a year of use, but it could use some touching up. I didn't touch the pink walls because I was still trying to respect the whole "no painting" rule that's in our lease. My resolve has weakened with every passing day, however, and I feel like any day now I'm going to say fuck it and paint both the pantry and kitchen walls a different, more acceptable (but still neutral!) color.
That's it for now. I still have a lot more I want to do, but at least now I'm not ashamed when people come over, and that's really the important thing, right?