When I first moved into my 1920s rental apartment, I was horrified by the built-in mirrored cabinet above the sink. Wouldn't it be awkward to stare at myself while doing dishes? Yet this little cupboard unexpectedly became the most joyful feature of my kitchen (and it has nothing to do with vanity!).
Such cabinets are not uncommon in Los Angeles kitchens of this era and most people I know use them to store spice jars. However, after years and layers of paint, the door doesn't fully close, and I am reluctant to keep spices near the moisture and heat of the sink. Instead, I fill the shelves with small cups and bowls, measuring and straining tools, and some of my favorite implements, like miniature funnels and salt spoons.
Opening the cabinet never fails to delight me. Previously I had a very colorful kitchen, so in contrast I painted this one white. But I love seeing the hidden splash of aqua each time I reach for a measuring spoon or espresso cup. Sometimes I treat myself to a peek inside for no reason other than to enjoy the color, the rows of yogurt pots, and the array of beloved tools.
As for the mirror, it reflects the sunshine so beautifully that I don't mind it. Plus, I was relieved to find that dishwashing is done with one's eyes on the task rather than staring straight ahead, so I'm rarely caught checking myself out!
(Images: Emily Ho)