House Tour: Our small, bright, colorful kitchen

Because I’m a perfectionist and always have something that I want to do to every room in my house before I consider it “done”, I’ve been hesitant to share pictures of our home for awhile now. Like, we’ve owned it for almost a year-awhile, and I still don’t feel like things will ever be done.

But nevertheless! It’s been nearly a year, and I’m feel pretty good about the house. Like, really good. I never thought a “place” could feel so right – so much an extension of myself – before finding and buying this house. And, now that the decorations and projects are seeing some progress, that feeling is only amplified tenfold. J and I agree that we’re not necessarily overly stylish people, but we both have an eye for a certain aesthetic, we like expressing ourselves through our environment, and we’re both a little obsessed with creating and maintaining a certain sense of place in our home. Like our love for modern art, we do like beautiful things, and we’ve sought to create a place where we can enjoy ourselves, be comfortable, and feel happy.

First, a little background on the house itself and what we’ve done to it. Our house is a 1940 Cape Cod located in a suburb of Detroit. We absolutely love our neighborhood; we feel like we’re a part of a community that knows and looks out for each other, there are sidewalks and old trees that create an archway over the street, and kids (and adults) ride their bikes everywhere. We can walk to a community park or a very active (some might say “hip”) downtown area, where there’s shopping and dining, more parks, our library, coffee shops, etc. Once we have kids, we could walk them to their elementary school. It’s very much the friendly neighborhood vibe I grew up with, but in a slightly more urban, built-up environment. J and I essentially grew up in “the country” in a lot of ways (or, at least, a rural suburb), but now, we’re solidly situated in one of the biggest, most diverse suburban areas in the Midwest. Coming from the slightly-homogeneous southwestern Ohio, it’s something I definitely appreciate (and it’s what I reiterate when I tell folks back home that, Yes, I moved to Detroit, and no, it’s not terrible. Actually, it’s awesome.).

Anyways, back to the house. The house is not the biggest, and we’ll have to be creative with space once we have a family. Luckily, neither J nor I wanted a big house, seeing it as a little excessive (and perhaps a little wasteful) when people insist on having a house that’s much too large for them. We wanted a place where we could live comfortably and easily maintain, with perhaps just enough of a space challenge that we would never be tempted to accumulate a lot of stuff.

The house was a foreclosure in the early 2000’s, but since then, has had two owners that have done significant work to restore and bring the house up to date. We’ve discovered (more than) a few problems since moving in (insulation! garage floor! leaking humidifier!), but overall, the place was in good shape, and aesthetically, quite lovely. I’m talking real hardwood floors throughout (!), a fireplace (!!), a Nest thermostat (!!!), and even a gosh-darned gas stove (be still my heart). Plus, the house has a ton of windows, and all times during the day, it’s just about the sunniest, happiest place on the block.

But being as we’re still perfectionists, I plan on showing you guys some of what we’ve done … slowly. Once I feel things are ready. Some rooms are pretty much where they’re going to be for awhile, but I wanted to start with one of my favorites: the kitchen.

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Soon after moving in, we painted almost the entire first floor a soft gray color (when we moved in, every. single. wall. was white), but we wanted the kitchen to be special. Cue, mint green! J and I had entertained the idea of a purple kitchen at one time, but upon seeing how bright and happy our kitchen was, what with the south facing bay window overlooking the backyard, we knew green was the way to go. Plus, along with gray, blue, orange, and purple, the green sets the foundation for the very bright color scheme we’ve carried throughout the house.

PLUS: in the spring and summer, that green just carries you out into the green backyard. And in the early spring, that decorative plum tree right outside the kitchen window blooms a million, tiny purple flowers. It is just about magical.

The cart above came from Wayfair. I spent months searching for a kitchen island that would match the cabinets (white) and countertops (black granite), and I’m so glad I waited, because this piece looks like it was meant to be there. Added bonus: on sunny days, the sun shines directly onto the island surface, meaning it’s a great place to quickly defrost frozen meat, or let bread dough rise.

Did I mention that the kitchen is small? Oh yes, small. It’s more space than we had at our last place, but the counter- and cabinet-space is just as limited. Here’s a look at how we’ve coped.

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This is about all the counter space we have, not counting the addition from the new island. You can see what I mean by small. Still, I’ve tried to keep the countertops as free of “stuff” as possible, and am a little crazy about keeping them neat and clean. Also, I love the white and black color scheme that was already in the kitchen, and so it’s awesome we didn’t have to do anything. Plus, it goes great with green!

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We only recently moved the coffee maker and espresso machine over to this side of the counter, and I don’t know why we didn’t do it before, because what with the coffee mugs in the cabinet above, it’s meant to be. Plus, we keep our coffee in the same cabinet, right next to the mugs, so it’s really a one-stop spot for your caffeine fix. Also, the random metal tree sculpture-thingy I bought from Urban Outfitters on clearance five years ago is still paying decorating dividends.

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The other side of the counter. If you do not own a giant canister to hold your flour, you need to stop what you’re doing and go buy one right now. Well, if you bake a lot, that is, like I do. If you can, place it just so next to your cherry red Kitchenaid that you received as a wedding present, and just get ready to make ALL the cookies. That black thing to the right is a slate cheese board that I “decoratively” lean against the wall to provide a tad more of a back splash. Eventually,  J and I plan on putting in some kind of back splash, but we can’t seem to agree on what tile we like. I know…married life.

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This pantry, on the other side of the kitchen and next to the door, represents all the food storage we have, in addition to what’s in the fridge. FACT: countertop-style fridges are actually smaller inside than they appear. Fitting food inside is not the easiest.

I’m very proud of my pantry organization efforts, as I’ve worked my tail off to cull as much unnecessary packaging as possible, utilize the fancy glass food canisters from Target, and organize everything based on how I cook. Thanks to the former homeowner, the drawers slide out, so that helps save space and makes it so we can pack quite a bit in that one cabinet.

Also, not fully in the picture, but in the quite large cabinet above the fridge, I’m able to store our food processor, spice grinder, blender, and crockpot. When I realized I could fit all those appliances in the kitchen – and not have to store them in the basement, like at our old place – it was the BEST DAY EVER.

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We’re in the kitchen all the time. We make dinner at home nearly every night, I love to bake, and I try to make as many “staple” pantry items that I can from scratch. It was important that the kitchen feel happy and clean, but also organized and efficient. It IS a small space, though there is room for a major renovation if we wanted to. However, just as in other parts of my life, I believe in using what you have, and only having what you need, and I’ve tried to implement that theme throughout the house.

I hope you liked it! 🙂

Oh, and PS: Mr. Bennet wants you to know that he too also matches the black/white color scheme going on in the kitchen. Because obviously, we design our lives around our tuxedo cat.

 

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