Revisiting our Small Kitchen Renovation
It’s funny how time can make something look so different. I remember feeling underwhelmed by our small kitchen renovation, like the amount of effort it took, made the final reveal feel disappointing. I also remember feeling that it was too white, which is saying a lot coming from me! But many months have passed and I’ve really enjoyed our small galley kitchen. And I feel proud of the updates based on a smaller budget.
I read back through my Kitchen Reveal Post and was very touched by your encouraging and kind comments that I wasn’t really able to accept at the time. I apologize for not responding! And I wanted to address some of the questions and share how I feel about our decisions 8 months later.
Small Kitchen Lessons
Some of you raised concerns about the longevity of the ikea cupboards. After almost a year we have had a couple of small nicks mostly from dishes or pots and pans bumping into the cabinets. I actually tried to take a pic for you of the knicks, but they are so small that they aren’t visible even in a close up photo, but I know they are there and they bother me! I am very careful with cupboards so I would say I am disappointed in how easily they ding. I chose these doors based on budget. Replacing the doors was approximately $500 versus approx. $4000 for my dream door replacement company (Reform CPH). I find balancing budget versus sustainability and longevity a constant balancing act. It’s easy to say I wish I had invested in a more durable door but I didn’t have the money at the time. Maybe I wish I had waited and saved up for the dream cabinets. Or had shopped around for local custom doors that were somewhere in between these ones and the dream. Oh well, I still enjoy these doors and love the custom maple cutouts.
One of my main concerns with our smaller kitchen was not having a pantry. I considered adding a tall skinny one to our dining area but wanted to see if we could do without. I really didn’t want to add an additional cabinet in that small space if I could do without.
It has been totally fine not having a pantry. More of our cupboards and drawers are used for food storage than dishes. I use some baskets to corral like foods and we do have to shop weekly and be cognizant of excess. For example, We only buy a few canned goods or dry foods at a time and use them up before buying more. There may be some cost savings we are missing out on, not buying bulk but I figure we are always saving a bit by living smaller. Also I have found the very tops of cabinets are under utilized and can store multiple pantry items as long as I remember to check there before I buy more.
We already have edited many of our kitchen utensils, dishes and cookware down over the years to essentials and many are stackable. All that less is more mindset has served us well with this smaller kitchen and even has me reconsidering the cabinets on the window side…. like should I remove them? Just have a tiled wall? Open shelving? If I was to go even more minimal I would invest in these pots and pans (an interview with creator and owner Kate over HERE).
Garbage and Recycling
In our small kitchen we just have a small door mounted garbage can under the sink. It fills up quite quickly but we have gotten in the habit of taking it out everyday (to the back alley where our shared garbage sits). We also keep a small compost on the counter (no room in the fridge and out of sight out of mind if we kept it under the sink). I couldn’t give up precious food storage space so we have been keeping our recycling on the patio. It’s not pretty, but it’s doing the trick for now. I would eventually like it more concealed than the two ikea bins I have.
I am finding the 24” wide, counter-depth fridge a challenge for a family of 4. I wish we could store a few more things in it. Our last fridge was a 28” wide counter-depth and found it to be perfect. Losing 4 inches and a less usable freezer has been a challenge. I just find we can’t have all the condiments we want to have. Also with our freezer we need to be really intentional about what we have in it. When we grocery shop we have to make choices, like we can’t have two kinds of veggie burgers in the freezer or we can have frozen raspberries but not blueberries this month. I’ve noticed that families in europe deal with smaller fridges than this and would love to know more tricks to make it work because it’s a beautiful fridge and we truly don’t have room for a bigger fridge. I suppose it means I can’t always have my big jar of castelvetrano olives as it takes up half a shelf, ha!
After almost a year, we have spilled and dropped things all over the wood floor and it is holding up great. I expected this but it’s still a relief. And I also feel strongly that the continuation of the flooring from the open living and dining area to the galley kitchen helps the room feel bigger than it is. I also believe the wood floor warms up the white kitchen.
Some Additional Sources from the previous Kitchen Reno Post:
Water Carbonator : Aarke Carbonator in White
Cutting Boards: Bowyer and Toulson
Baskets: Type A
Glassware and Pitcher: Fable (have a code to share 600sqft10 for 10% off)
As always let me know if I missed anything you were wondering about.
(we may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if you purchase through these links. We appreciate your support! And always, re-use what you have, buy secondhand first)