Sunday, January 14, 2007

Kitchen--1980's Style

Monday, January 15, 2007
We live in a standard, 1915-ish two-story stucco house in south Minneapolis. It has a standard small kitchen, typical of the era. We moved into the house in 1985, and the kitchen had been remodeled shortly before we bought the house, so I'm assuming it was done in the early 1980's. Part of the original remodel was done well, but some of it looked like they ran out of time or money and just slapped something together. We're hoping that our remodeling job will not be subject to any criticism of slapdashery.

I was very fond of all that cobalt blue when we first moved in, but it does have an 80's air to it now.
During the last owners' remodel, the refrigerator was pushed into a corner from which it cannot be moved without dismantling the window. We know this because we bought a new refrigerator. Like all the replacement appliances we've bought over the years, the refrigerator was purchased because it was on sale, not because it fit a decorating scheme. I haven't yet decided whether my collection of George Bush magnets will survive this remodel.

The stove, an old Roper range, has stolidly refused to give up the ghost. It doesn't perform very well, but I've put off replacing it because I knew I would get around to doing a complete remodeling job eventually. I really shouldn't be too negative about this stove--it has, after all, turned out some fine loaves of bread.

Again, because I knew that a remodeling job was in my future, when I couldn't tolerate the vinyl floor that came with the kitchen for another minute, I decided to just do a temporary fix. We put in some fake wood laminate flooring. I have to admit it's really easy to clean. However, Michael Anschel, of Otogawa-Anschel, our kitchen contractor, saw this floor, he turned up his nose. "You shall have a hardwood floor," he decreed.

My sink is a one-bowl ceramic model. It has served well enough, but it scratches easily, and the grout doesn't look so hot.

My biggest complaint about my kitchen--not enough counter space. It has three small areas, most of which are taken up with various appliances. Probably if I put all the appliances away all the time, I'd have enough counter space, but that's unlikely to happen. You can see all three little counter areas in this picture:

We had always thought we would put an addition on the back of the house to get more kitchen space. When we thought about how much it would cost, we thought again. I asked Michael if maybe I could get a little more space by getting rid of the door that goes nowhere.

Except to the landing on the stairs next to the coat closet.
Our new oven and some cabinets will go where this useless door is now.
We have old-fashioned steam heat and old-fashioned radiators. This is more or less okay with me except that it makes it complicated and expensive to add air conditioning, and in a small room--like this kitchen--it takes up valuable floor space. We are going to get rid of the radiator and install radiant in-floor heating. This decision added several thousand dollars to the original estimate, but by that time we were thinking of it as play money. Very dangerous.

We have a tiny space in the area from the back door into the kitchen that houses a small cupboard, a microwave, cookbooks, and a pile of recipes I've cut out from various magazines and newspapers that's awaiting organization. We're going to try to better integrate this area into the kitchen. I don't quite understand how it's going to work, but Michael does.

I am going to clean up my cookbook collection, of which this is just a part. I haven't quite decided how I'm going to deal with them.

I went through a French Flea Market period of decorating about five years ago, and I picked up this painted chest, which stores such items as napkins and Tupperware.

I also bought this distressed table and four distressed chairs for a song. Jim has been singing a sad song ever since he fell to the floor on one of the (very) distressed chairs. He has re-glued them and pounded them into shape, but we still have to warn people not to sit on the third chair in the kitchen. They invariably ignore our warnings, and the chair falls apart while they're sitting on it. We could move the chair out of the kitchen, but it's more interesting to watch people's chagrin as the chair collapses from under them. Jim hates these chairs. I believe this is the main reason he agreed to the kitchen remodel.


Jeanne said...

Though I'm in Texas, I'm convinced the previous owners of my home knew the previous owners of your home. I have the same blue kitchen - the colorful Formica crawls up the walls, right? My house was built in the 90's....guess Minnesota was a trend setter at that time.

Anonymous said...

Ohhh, thanks for the tour. The remodel sounds very exciting. It will be fun to see the finished kitchen take shape. (I hope you understand it will be hell till it is done...I've been through it twice now.) Just keep your mind focused on the wonderful kitchen you will have when is finished. You deserve a dream kitchen. Do you think Jim has figured out yet it would have been easier to replace the table and chairs than to remodel a whole new kitchen?... And he looks such an intelligent man too. Curious that. Cheers, Melinda

breadbasketcase said...

Yes, you're right--it crawls up the walls. Maybe there was a travelling formica salesman going around the country giving very good deals on bright blue formica.

Jim probably isn't as dim as I sometimes make him sound. But I'll bet you guessed that.

Jim said...

I did marry Marie, after all.

evil cake lady said...

the whole tone of this post is a perfect set up for the comment about watching the chagrin on people's faces as the broken chair breaks under them. nicely done!

good luck with the remodel!

Karen said...

I'm really enjoying your blog, and savoring the pictures of your bread. I'm the proud owner of a wild yeast starter that I cultivated 9 years ago, when we lived in Minneapolis. I used Nancy Silverton's method from her La Brea bakery cookbook. We moved to St.Louis 3 years ago, and every once in a while I take the starter out and feed it, but I need to become inspired to bake more bread!
I miss the Twin Cities. I thought the Wedge was making really good bread for a while...

Anonymous said...

Kitchen designs are much more modern than in the United Kingdom!