Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Kitchen Project - Part 1 (Before)

I love my Chicago style brick bungalow. It is the kind of house I'd always wanted to own: solidly built in 1927, it's old but in excellent condition. It has strength and character, along with a two-car garage (the best thing about having a home of one's own), a separate entrance I use for my teaching studio, and some wonderful stylistic touches that distinguish it from the many similar homes in Chicago's "bungalow belt."

But I hate my kitchen. It has been the bane of my so-called lifestyle since I moved in several years ago. I like to cook and I have children to cook for. But I've been very frustrated by this kitchen, with its one pathetic wall cabinet, total absence of counter space, a falling apart oven, a leaky refrigerator and a horrid white tile floor that seems to magnify every micron of dust. And that's just for starters.

My kitchen also has an architectural quirk that seems to be common in homes built in this era: The stairs leading up to the attic can only be accessed from one corner of my kitchen, thus rendering that area useless in terms of counter space and wall storage.

Here's a couple of shots of that wretched corner:

This is the evil appliance area, which occupies the only corner:

The doorway/hallway that leads to the dining room:

The pantry and door leading to the mudroom and the great outdoors:

Finally, a view from the dining room entrance:

As you can see, this very small room has 4 (count 'em, four) doorways and only 1 (that's one) usable corner. There has been many a time in the midst of trying to prepare a meal that I've gotten stuck holding the cutting board or a full pot with no place to set it down. I bought that butcher block on wheels so I'd have SOME place to chop vegetables and store some pans but that thing is hardly adequate.

This kitchen has had me muttering obscenities on a regular basis. I blame this room for my borderline high blood pressure and my need for several years of primal scream therapy.

So when my mother, bless her soul, offered to help me pay for a kitchen rehab I could hardly contain my passionate desire to buy a sledgehammer and start the demolition immediately.

Next time: The Plan