As a passionate cook, I was really hoping for a better kitchen in our Squirrel Hill apartment, but we moved out on really short notice and had to make some compromises. Our apartment is wonderful with a great view and lots of space. We are very comfortable. While it isn’t much to look at, I’ve made our kitchen work for us with just a few adjustments and some organization. It’s a work in progress, but so far I’m pretty happy with how we are using the space.
When I’m cooking, I like to have easy access to the most important tools and ingredients. When we first moved in, I knew I wanted to use the walls to help organize and keep the kitchen user-friendly. My favorite addition has been the Ikea peg board above the sink. We’ve re-arranged it a lot as we get used to the space. I have so much fun changing up what we hang on the board. Ikea sells so many different hooks and holders, so these peg boards are infinitely customizable.
I like to have things I use frequently on hand: Trader Joe’s Olive Oil, Maldon Sea Salt, and tasting spoons. I used to put my blender away every time I use it, but it is so heavy I started to leave it out all the time. The knife rack just went up this weekend. The shelves in our cabinet gave us plenty of space for our pretty extensive collection of glassware, jars and mugs. We picked up the shelves at The Container Store, they only cost $7 a piece and made a world of difference. In the other set of cabinets we store spices and other ingredients that I mix into smoothies. The second shelf houses our collection of storage containers and mixing bowls. Admittedly, this area could use a little more organization.
By hanging things on the walls, we opened up our drawer space. We use the drawer closest to the sink for flatware, spoons and spatulas. The drawer next to the oven hold more tools, things like plastic wrap, foil, and trivets. The left most drawer has cooking tools and a tin that holds all those little things that are nice to have on hand in the kitchen: a pad of paper, pens, a measuring tape, phone charger, scissors, rubber bands etc. We use the main lower cabinets to hold most of our All-Clad collection. I made the small cabinet into something that is really special to me: a baking cabinet. It is pretty packed with most of my decanted baking ingredients, specialty pans and tools, and my Kitchen-Aid mixer.
The kitchen as it stands features a lot of beige. I wanted to make it more modern by incorporating a lot of stainless steel with the knife rack, the hanging pans, and the tea pot on the stove. I’m looking for some sort of art or decoration to customize the kitchen and make it feel more homey. It would be nice to use the wall in the entryway for some organization and storage for mail and keys.
The Pantry is small but we’ve made it work. The bottom holds our garbage and recycling, and the shelves above hold dry goods. I installed hanging baskets from Ikea for kitchen linens – pot holders, aprons, and a huge stack of my favorite Ikea kitchen towels.
For additional storage, I bought a small sideboard for the dining room. The cabinets and drawers hold things that aren’t used very frequently like our 12-quart stock pot and specialty things for serving. The sideboard mostly functions as a coffee bar for my Nespresso Machine and collection of analogue coffee makers (a French press, a moka pot, and a pressure espresso maker). We also store wine in one cabinet and can convert the sideboard to a bar or buffet for entertaining.
One of the keys to making it work in a small kitchen is making sure everything always gets put away and the counters stay clear. I like to minimize clutter and only have what I need. It makes the small kitchen not feel so small.