Monday, February 12, 2007

reclaiming our living room

Whew! Won't be doing that again for a while. There's still stuff everywhere. I'll be organizing and decluttering for days to come.

Well, the carpenters were scheduled to arrive at 9 a.m. on Friday. Mr M had been out and about since about 7 doing various errands but promised to be home in time to receive them. Shortly before 8, just as I was about to step into the shower, the doorbell rang. Story of my life, happens all the time. It's either the mailman, the in-laws, or, this time, two strange men with a big truck. Sure, they said, the carpenters were coming at 9, but they were told to unload everything at 8. Oh, thanks for letting us know beforehand. Good thing this was not a beauty pagent.

They had a teensy problem with the lazy susan corner cupboards - they didn't fit through the ridiculously narrow kitchen door (who builds these houses anyway?) and had to be hefted through the window instead. A couple of small trees bit the dust in the process, unfortunately.

Up until about noon there was only one guy working on the kitchen and we wondered if he'd get finished on time. A bit later two of his pals showed up and put the finishing touches on everything and they made amazing progress. We hung around in the living room, supervising at a distance and providing tea, cookies and cheese sandwiches and by the end of the day we were chilled to the bone because they kept the front door open so they could go outside and use the electric saw etc. Figures that it was only 4°C that day. Brrr!

So here she is! The colours are slightly off because of the lighting but you can get the general idea. As well as wanting to add a few splashes of colour here and there, we still need to decide on a window treatment because the obligatory German-issue white lacey curtains just aren't cutting it any more. I'm thinking something sheer and terra cotta-y to go with the floor. What do you think?

The countertops are higher than they were before, and we got a built-in oven and ceramic cook top. The sink is also new. We decided against getting a new dishwasher just yet because the old white one works perfectly well. But can you believe we never had an exhaust fan over the stove like normal people? We do now and I love it.

View of other side with microwave niche. The upper part of the entire wall used to be pretty much dead space in the old kitchen so we have a LOT more storage now.

The entertainment centre - TV, DVD player and radio all in one. Mr M's idea. I always had a little TV but not a fancy one like this. It's kind of scary.

The only (British) English translation I could find for this cabinet is a "pull-out larder" which isn't the most attractive description. The cabinet itself is great. The whole thing pulls out and can be accessed from both sides. The door is on an angle to give us more room when entering the kitchen.

Super-mega cutlery/utensil drawer. Whoo! I can find stuff!

This corner of the kitchen used to be home to The Bermuda Triangle of Cabinets. Things would disappear on a regular basis and you had to practically crawl in there to get anything. We decided to replace it with a lazy susan just like the much-loved one in the right corner. Great for pots and pans.

The hard part now is deciding where everything should go. There's so much more room now, but guess what? I'm too short to reach a lot of it! Hmmmphh. Germans are just too damn tall. Mr M. had to go to that Swedish place again on Saturday and buy a little step-stool for me. What I am able to reach will be put to good use, though, and I'll be so happy to have a place for all the stuff. No more cluttered countertops.

All in all I am delighted. This kitchen actually makes me feel like cleaning and polishing it, and if you know me, you'll know that's really something.



At February 12, 2007 11:49 a.m., Blogger Maria said...

That looks great! I think it looks like a pull out pantry, but larder is more fun to say. ;-)

At February 12, 2007 11:50 a.m., Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

The kitchen looks fabulous, Christina! I've always wanted some of those pull-out thingies and I LOVE the entertainment centre!

I'm sure you'll be moving things around for a while until you find out what really suits you best.

All I can say now is: Happier cooking!

At February 12, 2007 11:54 a.m., Blogger traveller one said...

Oh Christina it turned out so lovely! You must feel like you are in heaven. I used to have one of those pull out cupboards and they are terrific. What's the first meal you're cooking in it??

At February 12, 2007 12:07 p.m., Blogger Alison said...

That's fantastic Christina! You must be thrilled :)

At February 12, 2007 12:38 p.m., Blogger Pardon My French said...

Wow! I was going to comment on the larder, but it seems that everyone else loves it, too. So, now I'll just admire your lazy susan and super-organized cutlery drawer.

At February 12, 2007 1:48 p.m., Blogger goofball said...

Nice kitchen! Always fun to have a lot of storage, but believe me: it gets filled soooo easily with new stuff :p.

Deciding what goes where is very hard. We've already rearranged twice in our new kitchen and it's still not optimal too me. But I too have the problem that I cannot reach everywhere.

In Belgium we call these "pull out larder" a "pharmacy cabinet" if I would translate it to English. Because they were originally only used in pharmacies and now they've become so practical in kitchens. I totally adore him. We could not design a big one in our kitchen :(. Hey, I guess you can't have it all.

At February 12, 2007 2:04 p.m., Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Wow! What a difference. Is there anything better than good kitchen?


If I were you, I'd be afraid to cook there. It's too pretty for such a use. Perhap you can find some velvet, cinema-style ropes at that Swedish place.

At February 12, 2007 2:57 p.m., Blogger Elemmaciltur said...

*Yay!* For you and the new kitchen!

At February 12, 2007 4:39 p.m., Blogger Kim and Victoria said...

New kitchen looks great! I too am interested in your "first" meal in there! Happy cooking!

At February 12, 2007 4:46 p.m., Blogger Thimbleanna said...

WooHoo! It's beautiful Christina! Now we'll be looking forward to postings of all the fabulous things you'll be making in there! ;-)

At February 12, 2007 4:51 p.m., Blogger C N Heidelberg said...


At February 12, 2007 5:00 p.m., Blogger melusina said...

Beautiful new kitchen! And it seems like it went well, all things considered. I always imagined total kitchen remodeling would be a nightmare.

At February 12, 2007 5:11 p.m., Blogger Angie said...

It looks so pretty! Finally, a kitchen fit for your culinary excellence.
And yay for lazy susans! Shane has one in his kitchen... my green kitchen has the Bermuda triangle, of course! Hey, a question -- do you think men have nesting instincts like women apparently do? All I wanted to do over the weekend was curl up on the couch and watch TV, but Shane forced a roller in my hand... and 14 hours later we had two freshly painted bedrooms. Whew.

At February 12, 2007 5:29 p.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...

how cool! That looks like an incredible kitchen with so much space! (well especially how rather small it is). But I'd say you could have potentially 2 people inside..

And I noticed the big fridge! Congrats.. Love the tiles.

At February 12, 2007 7:38 p.m., Anonymous Lisa said...

Mmmmm... inspiring!
I can just imagine the culinary masterpieces that're gonna roll outta there in the coming months.

At February 12, 2007 8:04 p.m., Blogger charlotte said...

It's SO beautiful! I love, love, love it! You must be thrilled. I love the double-sided pantry thingy. I once had one and it was so useful.

Being vertically challenged, I also have one of those of step-stools from the Swedish shop in order to reach my top shelves. It's cool.

At February 12, 2007 8:16 p.m., Blogger Rositta said...

I asked my Aunt once about those lacy curtain and she didn't have an answer really other than that's what everyone does here! Kind of stupid in my opinion but there is a lot about my homeland that I fail to understand..oh well. The kitchen is spectacular...ciao

At February 12, 2007 8:46 p.m., Blogger Andrea said...

Ahh, congrats on the kitchen - she's a beauty! I really love the cabinet colors. Your kitchen is twice the size of mine, can I come over ;) ?

At February 12, 2007 10:01 p.m., Blogger J said...

LOL! I was about to ask how you reached the upper parts of it. It looks wonderful - especially when compared to the old one. This one should last you another 18 years or so. Plus, with all the cooking you do - you deserve it.

I can't remember where the first place I saw one of those pull-out shelve things was, but I thought they were great ideas.

At February 12, 2007 10:23 p.m., Blogger Dixie said...

I have a half size Apotekeschrank and I love it. More fits in there than you may think.

And your countertops look like mine. In fact a lot of your kitchen is a lot like mine - or at least how mine was until I had to change apartments.

I hope you have many happy hours in your beautiful new kitchen!

At February 12, 2007 10:54 p.m., Blogger christina said...

maria - Pantry! That's right. I've been living here way too long - sometimes the English words just escape me.

CSwiss - Next thing you know Mr M will be wanting to put a giant plasma TV in there! And yes, right now I'm just sitting here staring at stuff that needs to be put away and wondering where it should go.

traveller one - I'm liking it more every day. Once the new kitchen smell is gone I'll be delirous. I've been cooking in it since Saturday actually, but nothing earth shaking - fajitas, spaghetti, chicken wings etc.

Alison - Thanks! We'd been saving up for more than a decade for this. :-)

pardon my french - the lazy susans are great because they kind of force me to keep things organized rather than just chucking everything into a cupboard which would be my usual style.

goofball - Thanks for visiting! Oh yes, I'll fill it up in no time - just like getting a bigger fridge or a bigger purse. The pull-out cabinet is also called a "pharmacy cabinet" (Apothekerschrank) in German, but I didn't see that description being used in English. Probable because the pharmacey set up is different in Europe and N. America.

Sal - Well, thank you! It is a HUGE improvement, believe me. Yeah, maybe for the first few weeks I should charge admission and hand out little bags of popcorn. But as you can see above, I have already cooked, AND I have already cleaned up several times and it wasn't that bad. I could get used to this housewife stuff. :-)

elemm - Thanks for dropping by!

kim and victoria - Well, I may have to do an Official First Meal 'cause right now I don't even have all the stuff put away.

Thimbleanna - Once I get organized again, there WILL be food blogging. And no one will be forced to look at the crappy old countertop.

cnheidelberg - Thanks! I feel your pain with the sunflower kitchen- :-O

melusina - It went really smoothly, actually, consdering other stories we've heard of cabinets not fitting or countertops being the wrong length etc. Ripping out the old stuff and fixing up the walls wasn't that great, but Mr M did that while I supervised. :-)

angie - Thanks! Lazy susans are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Well, maybe not, but at least they make good use of the space. Hmm, nesting instinct - Is Shane pregnant? Ha ha! No, I think they do and he's lookin' forward to a cozy life with YOU.

Expat - We tried to make the most of the space since so much was wasted before. It's still really a "one butt kitchen" but two people can work around each other if they're prepared to cooperate a bit. The fridge is the biggest thing in the whole room. I can't believe we actually squeezed it in there.

Lisa - Stay tuned! I'll be taking requests.

charlotte - Thank you! I love the pantry too. I'll finally be able to see where everything is and stop buying new stuff because I think I've run out! Glad to know I'm not the only vertically challenged one out there. :-)

rositta - I guess it must be because they want a bit of privacy but want as much light as possible to come in and heavy curtains wouldn't be much use there. Most people have a little panel thing at the bottom of the window to keep people from looking into the room from outside. I do also think it's a cultural thing, though, as well and everyone does it because everyone else does it. There are literally thousands of different white curtains to choose from.

andrea - Sure, come on over and help me organize. I'm not too good at that.

J - I may just have to get one of those sliding ladders that they use at libraries. :-) And sure, the kitchen will last another 18 years, but will *I*???

Dixie- I've been doing test runs to see what fits in there the best and it is suprisingly roomy. and best of all I can SEE everything. Awesome. Wouldn't it be funny if we had the same countertops and cabinets?

At February 12, 2007 11:26 p.m., Blogger Mike B said...

That is really nice. I wanted to do a wrap-around in our new flat, but the chowderheads put a radiator under the window, so we're going to end up with a "side and a half." I love the color of the wood. The drawer space is to die for ... no wonder you have an entertainment center in there! Will you ever leave the kitchen again?

At February 13, 2007 2:34 a.m., Anonymous lillian said...

what a great kitchen !

At February 13, 2007 8:49 a.m., Blogger Carol said...

It's BEAUTIFUL!! And so QUICK! (Tom will be re-doing our bathroom for months to come...)

I'm jealous -- er, I mean envious!


At February 13, 2007 2:03 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

I am so darn-tootin' happy for you, Christina. You've been planning this for some time now. I LOVE all the pics. Thanks for the up close and personal virtual tour! You are now in heaven.

Interestingly, we're getting measured today for new kitchen counters (the new "particle" granite that never needs polishing). Should get installed sometime this week. It's amazing how quickly they can transform a room!

At February 13, 2007 2:30 p.m., Anonymous Maribeth said...

Wow! That looks so beautiful!!! And the plan was so well thought out. You must be thrilled!

At February 13, 2007 2:34 p.m., Blogger Berlinbound said...

1. I like it - good job.

2. I'm jealous.

3. Keep the windows simple - don't do anything if you can avoid it - the more light the better. I would just frost the lower half of the glass pane and forget any kind of fabric.

That's my 3 cents!

At February 13, 2007 2:41 p.m., Blogger EuroTrippen said...

Look at all that space! Our kitchen is the size of a closet.

At February 13, 2007 5:45 p.m., Blogger Claire said...

I think that it looks fab! I would go with a taracotta tile, but something a little darker. Your cabinets and walls look light, so you don't want the floor to wash out the room but rather bring in the contrast. I love the pull out cupboard!! I wanted one in our kitchen, but it was too expensive.

At February 13, 2007 5:47 p.m., Blogger Claire said...

Dude, I'm an idiot. I just read the floor post and took a closer look at your pics. Very nice. I think your right, I would pick window treatments that would bring out the colors of the floor.

At February 13, 2007 9:47 p.m., Blogger Christina said...

Great kitchen! I think a terra cotta, or maybe olive, window treatment would go great.

At February 13, 2007 10:52 p.m., Anonymous said...

Wow, Christina, it's fantastic!! The photos look like something out of a magazine. When can I come "over" and hang out in it?

At February 13, 2007 11:30 p.m., Blogger susan d said...

I love it! So bright and clean and new and organized.
I love the floor and terra cotta color. Good idea for accent.

At February 14, 2007 2:50 a.m., Blogger Windrose said...

The Joy of Cooking just got multiplied by lots with this great space you designed for your favourite (?) pasttime.

I dont believe how many drawers you have in your new kitchen, Christina!(I have exactly four, so I am green with envy.)

At February 14, 2007 4:37 a.m., Blogger Angie said...

Haha, I can assure you neither one of us are pregnant right now!

I finally caved and blogged about Spain. I could not fall asleep last night because I was thinking about what I should write, so I took that as a sign! And I even created a new blog... so take that! :)

At February 14, 2007 4:37 a.m., Blogger Angie said...

(As you can see, I've blogged so much tonight that my grammar skills have gone out the window! Time for bed! lol)

At February 14, 2007 2:29 p.m., Blogger Trac said...

I am jealous of your kitchen! :O)


You have been invited to attend a
Brits/Valentines Party!

Dress code: Don't care!

At February 15, 2007 2:02 p.m., Blogger Hillside Garden said...

Deine Küche sieht sehr hübsch aus, Christina. Ich kann verstehen, wie gut du dich darin fühlst! Und um den Apothekerschrank beneide ich dich glühend!


At February 15, 2007 11:31 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Mike - Yes, we're lucky that the radiator is right by the door so we can have lots of counter space. I've been enjoying the entertaining centre a lot - I may just put up a camp bed and stay in there forever.

lillian - thanks!

Carol - The carpenters surprised us by being very efficient - not a given at all here. If we'd done the installation ourselves it would have taken days for sure. We did consider it but decided it wasn't worth the stress. Our main bathroom also desperately needs to be done but right now we've got both a lack of $$§ and of motivation.

ginnie - Oh yes, it's not a post without pictures, right? I hope you'll show us your new countertops too. There are so many nice ones available now.

maribeth - The kitchen planners were so helpful and had a lot of great suggestions so it was pretty easy to decide on a design.

berlind bound - Yes, I need something that lets in a lot of light but keeps the neighbours from snooping. :-)

eurotrippen - I guess it is pretty roomy compared to some others I've seen.

Claire - Dude, I get what you mean! The floor is a lot lighter than it looks in the photos and some of the "tiles" are sort of beigy and the "grouting" is grey so it goes with the cabinets and appliances quite nicely. The window really does need a bit of colour though.

christina - Yes, I'd been considering various shades of green as well or something that combines a bunch of earthy colours. We'll see.

kiwi - Thanks! You should see it now that I've messed it up a bit. :-)

susand - It's so nice to start fresh again and actually have a place to put everything without needing to cram it in. It will make me much more organized, in the kitchen at least.

windrose - The drawers are wonderful. I don't know if that's the trend these days, but they sometimes seem to make more sense than just the cabinets.

angie - Yay! I have commented on your post and can't wait until the next one.

trac - You're back! :-)

hillside garden - Danke, Sigrun! Der Apothekerschrank ist wirklich ein Traum. Ich habe ihn jetzt bestimmt 100 mal auf und zu gemacht, nur um sein Inneres bewundern zu können! :-)

At February 27, 2007 6:59 p.m., Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

A real "American style" kitchen! I'm envious. Sigh. I miss all my drawers and cabinets in the U.S. and my big pantry.

At March 21, 2007 9:35 p.m., Blogger Lilian said...

Well, I'm just catching up on your blog after over a month of not visiting... WOW, this kitchen looks AMAZING. I particularly like the slanted cabinets, how handy!!! The colors look great as does everything else. AWESOME!


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