My Kitchen Was Designed for Someone Else: What I Would Change, and What I Wouldn't

Kitchen Diary: Anne in South Carolina

Pin it button big

My husband and I know our limits. We have bought two houses together, and they were both move-in ready, because we are afraid of remodeling and what it might do to our relationship. We've lived here for nine years, and this house will probably be our last stop before the nursing home. The kitchen is enormous, but it wasn't designed for a cook. One of these days, I'll get brave enough to do something about it.

Pin it button big

I love all the natural light, the transoms, and the light wood floors. The counter tops are granite, something I never thought I'd have, and they disguise crumbs and minor spills, perfect for our family of five. Also, they look nice and shiny with minimal wiping.

There isn't much cabinet space for such a huge kitchen. See the picture at the top of this post? That's it. I have been in much smaller kitchens with the same amount or more storage than mine. This kitchen was designed for someone who uses a caterer. I am way too happy at the stove — not to mention too broke — to use caterers. Like many of you, I could stay in my kitchen all day, reading, experimenting and making a delicious mess.

Pin it button big

I love having a big table within view of the work area, because I can talk with my children while they do homework and I cook. This arrangement also encourages me to clean as I go, because who wants to look at a huge mess while they eat?

Pin it button big

My kitchen is L-shaped and, opposite the table, there's an area surrounded by windows, where we have a chair perfect for reading. Okay, who am I kidding? Most often, that chair holds a napping dog, a kid playing a video game or someone watching sports on our computer. But I could totally read there! If it wasn't always occupied. Yes, that's a snowman painting. No, we haven't redecorated in a while.

Pin it button big

Our pup loves his sunny corner, and I love having him in the kitchen while I cook. He doesn't get under my feet, because he knows I'm unlikely to drop anything. This dog learned quickly which family members were messiest —and most likely to be eating bacon.

Pin it button big

The kitchen opens into the dining room. When pressed, we can seat ten in each room, and eight to twelve more at card tables in the living room, for a grand total of 32. Which I have done several times, and enjoyed every minute of it. It may be a little cramped, but I love that I can have the whole family and a big group of friends for a holiday meal. (Yes, we have to borrow dishes and chairs. Who on earth has that many dishes and chairs?)

I love our multi-use kitchen and the wide open space. I love the light streaming through the windows on a pretty day, and the great view of our completely unmanicured lush backyard in the rain.

So, what would I change?

  • I crave more cabinet space, enough to arrange dishes, glassware, and serving pieces where they were easier to reach and organize, and enough to get another small appliance or three. I dream of a day when all the storage containers could be organized by size, with their lids. To be fair, this may be more of an issue with the people who put them away than the actual kitchen.
  • Because of those fantastic windows, the kitchen is the hottest room in the summer and the coldest in the winter. When we first moved here, I thought about shades or curtains, but the bare windows are so purrrrty!
  • The fridge is a side by side, too narrow for large dishes. When I get ready for a party, I like to be able to prepare some of the party trays a day or so ahead and store them. I also like trying large cooking projects, which can take up entire shelves. The water dispenser has been broken for years, but I don't miss it. When the time comes to get a new fridge, I want one without a dispenser, because I probably wouldn't get that one fixed if it broke, either. Also, we'll go with a top and bottom model. In my dream kitchen? One fridge, one freezer, both full size.
  • The oven is strange. It looks very fancy and, when I first saw it, I was thrilled. Five gas burners! A full size oven and a smaller one beside it! But...the full size oven is just a hair smaller than a regular one, so I can't put two cookie trays side by side. And that smaller oven? Doesn't hold any normal size dishes or trays, and occasionally lights on fire. We don't use it. The upside: it cooks really evenly, more so than any other oven I've had. My dream oven? La Cornue's Chateau 165, of course, in Summer Blue, or some other color I could design a whole kitchen around. I think I will have to dream a little smaller, but I would love two ovens some day.
  • The chandelier in the windowed area is not my style. This is something I've been meaning to change for years, but I just can't make a decision. Any suggestions? With links, please! I would like something that complements the kitchen as is, but not a major investment, in case I win the lottery and change the whole space.
  • I love the wood floors and white cabinets in our kitchen, but would love black cabinets and white marble countertops even more. Hey, this is a dream kitchen, right?
  • And since we're making a fantasy list here — so much more fun than fantasy sports teams, if you ask me — I'd love a bar sink and some cabinets away from the main work area. And maybe a little writing desk, with a few drawers to store office supplies, enough room for my laptop, and a view of the back yard.

There's nothing really wrong with my kitchen, certainly nothing that would justify spending a pile of money on a new one, even if I had the pile of money. I like that we've lived here for a while, because by the time we need an update, I'll know exactly what I want and we won't make costly mistakes.

What do you love about your kitchen? What do you not love so much? Did you do it, or did someone else?

P.S. We have a housekeeper come to clean on Mondays. I took these pictures on Monday. It doesn't always look like this, but you might've already guessed that. I love Mondays.

(Image credits: Anne Wolfe Postic)