Sunday, 27 January 2013

Custom-made or Up-grade. How to make your kitchen work for you.

I have to confess. I had no idea how to cook when I got married. My repertoire consisted of tuna salad and the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Iconic dishes, true, but only sufficient to satisfy one's palette for SO long. Preparing an entire shabbos felt like an insurmountable task. We moved into our apartment in Israel in the middle of Cheshvan and,lucky for me, our oven was completely treif so we had to wait for someone to blowtorch it.  That followed with a few weeks of (self imposed) family obligations. We had been living in Israel almost six weeks when my husband tentatively suggested that we stay home for shabbos. There were no more excuses. The time had come to face my fears. So there I stood, all alone, in my 4 meter kitchen with its bare fluorescent bulb and tiny cracked counter top attempting to decipher Chinese like "parboil" and "caramelize" and "dredge". Let's just say, I'm thankful that I made it through that first experience without too many scars. 
As a person who loves challenges and new experiences, I often wonder what scared me so much about conquering the cooking monster. My designer self likes to believe that the problem wasn't me but, rather, the uninviting disaster of a space that kept me away. 
I'm not saying that a well designed kitchen will magically transform you into a master chef, but simply that a functional and attractive space will encourage you to spend more time there. 

If you are one of those lucky people who is about to "do a kitchen", I humbly offer one piece of advice - hire a designer. That wasn't a plug, seriously. Hire anyone. Kitchen design is complex. Issues included are functional, technical, personal, aesthetic, spatial, logistical, financial, to name a few. It allows you to get the details sorted out on paper, before things are built incorrectly and then have to be altered or torn out or, worse, left as is.

If you are in a rental or you haven't budgeted for a custom kitchen, there are ways to upgrade your standard kitchen to create a functional and inviting experience. 
  • Give the kitchen a restaurant feel by removing the doors of the cupboards and upper cabinets to expose the shelves. This is a quick and easy way to totally change and expand the look of the kitchen but requires a commitment to stay clutter-free. Do this for cabinets that store china, stemware, and service pieces as apposed to food. Store small items in wicker baskets. 
  • Replace just the cabinet doors. A door made of MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard), covered in Formica (including quality hinges), can cost as little as 100nis per door.
  • Replace just the counters. There are quality attractive counters that cost as low as 800nis per meter.
  • Add Moldings: If your old cabinets don't go to the ceiling, adding a crown molding or soffit around the top will make a room look more elegant.
  • Upgrade Interiors. Slide-out shelves, lazy Susans, drawer dividers, and full-extension drawer glides can be retrofitted to your old cabinet interiors.
  • Add an Island. It can be anything- back to back dressers with a butcher's block or a re purposed file cabinet. Your decor doesn't have to be match-matchy, it just has to go.

via Apartment Therapy
And, if you've done a custom kitchen and you love it, I'm coming for dinner!


  1. Abba, no, but you're more than welcome to come visit and we'll feed you lots of yummy food.