Haewon is a working mom who lives in Forest Hills, New York, with her husband and two daughters. When they bought their very first home, she had a lot of requirements for the kitchen, since she loves to cook with her girls. This kitchen had it all. She did add a little cabinet space so she can squirrel away all her appliances, since she admits that she has nearly every kitchen small appliance you can think of! Come see how well she uses her kitchen, and the sweet details that make this such a great place for her to cook with her little girls.
Haewon says that when they were apartment searching four years ago the first thing she looked at was the kitchen. She is a working mom of two little girls, they all love to cook. She wanted a kitchen with a window, and countertops that wouldn't stain. There needed to be enough space for her and the girls to bake together.
Fortunately they found a place with a great little kitchen, and all they needed to do was to replace the countertop and install a backsplash. She did want extra cabinet space to store all my pots and china her mom gave her, and that she managed to bring back from Korea in two full suitcases.
She also has (or used to have) every possible kitchen appliance you can think of (yogurt maker, bread machine, ice cream maker) and she actually uses each of them often. So she hides them away throughout the apartment, since she likes her city kitchen clean and clutter-free. She added the red cabinet in the kitchen and it is dedicated to storing all the Tupperware.
Haewon says that she needs to put dinner on the table in 30 minutes when she gets home after work so she likes to prep all the veggies and other meal basics on the weekends. Her small refrigerator makes this hard, though. She says, "I love the colors in my kitchen and the layout works for us although we couldn't fit in an island or a breakfast table. We tried so hard to find a larger fridge that fits in the current fridge space but failed. So we're stuck with this average size fridge that's too small for Asian families who love to batch cook soup and side dishes." She also doesn't like the floor tiles, "They are falling apart and you can hear them when you walk on them."
But detractions aside, this kitchen has turned out to be a well-maximized, snug space for her to cook with her family. She says, "My friends comment on the amount of kitchen things (dishes, appliances, gadgets) I have and how I manage to use every inch of the space to tuck them all away."
10 Questions for Haewon (& Her Kitchen)
1. What's your cooking style?
Whip it up. Whipping up dinner in 30 minutes after work is my specialty.
2. What inspires your kitchen?
My kids. This kitchen is too small to be that, but I've always wanted a kitchen with an island where my kids(and husband too!) would do their homework and just hang out and help out while I cook. I'm a bit obsessed with buying things that my girls would also enjoy. I really didn't need another whisk — I thought my oldest daughter would get a kick out of the Silicone Rainbow Whisk.
And I've now decided that I'm a collector of Scandinavian snack trays.
3. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
The red cabinet which holds most of my Tupperware and baking tools. Because of its bright color I regretted not having gone with something more neutral immediately after we brought it home. But it became the key piece in making my kitchen feel welcome.
4. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received?
You eat with your eyes first.
5. Biggest challenge in your kitchen?
Fishing out utensils from the cubby drawers that I can barely reach into — they're so high up. I've now memorized which drawer holds what and I could make out the pieces just by feeling them with my finger tips.
But I can't wait for my baby to graduate from those Dr. Brown bottles so I can get my counter space back.
6. Biggest indulgence?
White iittala Teema dinner plates. My excuse was that I needed plain white dinnerware at some point and I had a promotion code. Well, we use them everyday for breakfast or for entertaining and I absolutely love them.
7. What dream tool or splurge do you hope to add to the kitchen?
All-Clad Slow Cooker with cast aluminum insert. Because the only reason I don't use my $40 crock pot is because you can't brown meat in the porcelain insert. Seriously.
8. What are you cooking this week?
Korean style spicy chicken barbecue.
9. What cookbook has inspired you the most?
Apples for Jam has taught me that food doesn't have to be styled perfectly to look beautiful.
10. What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
My daughter's fourth birthday party. I placed my 4-layer chocolate green tea cake in the sink before showering it with rainbow sprinkles. And I threw out all my leftovers from the fridge to make room for the tall beautiful cake I just made.
• Small Appliances: KitchenAid (stand mixer), Waring (blender), DeLonghi (toaster), Cuisinart (coffee maker), Cuckoo (rice cooker)
• Magnetic Board: bought at CB2 and covered with Amy Butler fabric
• Red Cabinet: IKEA
• Storage Jars: Crate & Barrel
• Paper Towel Holder: Anthropologie
• Other vintage goods: eBay
Thank you so much for letting us peek into your kitchen, Haewon!
(Images: Haewon via email)