Kitchen Convenience

by Carrie Meier

Guess what I did? I cooked a “real” dinner. This may not seem big-time, but for me, it was. I’ll admit (in the food edition!), I lack an affection for cooking. My culinary apathy, paired with four hangry children, turns out meals with less searing and sautéing and more slinging and slopping. I’m hopeless.

But I was inspired. Despite my deficits, I entered my kitchen in a moment of grace, and began to delve. I wish I produced an amazing meal. I didn’t. However, my heart sang as I fell back in love with my kitchen design. While I won’t offer you my burnt leftovers, here are some of my secret ingredients to a great kitchen:

Drawers: Cavernous cabinets don’t make sense. My mother would send me spelunking all the time for everyday odds and ends. It would require me climbing over the Pyrex, past the crock pot, between the breadbaskets, and beyond the hidden garbanzos (which I put there because … yuck), just to retrieve the meatloaf pan! Now older and wiser, I designed our kitchen with deep, sturdy drawers where pots, pans, and even the crock pot wait in an organized fashion. I even have corner drawers! If you’ve pinched your finger in a Lazy Susan or spun that wheel dozens of times just to find one thing, google “kitchen corner drawers”. I recommend pegboard systems; easily customizable to reorganize your space. If you aren’t planning on new cabinets, retrofit your existing lowers with pull-out shelves.

Stainless Steel Work Surfaces: I salvaged a stainless table from an old cheese factory, and it serves dutifully as my kitchen island! Hot pots go directly on it without fear of marking the surface. Spills and science experiments (I’m describing my cooking), proceed without staining. It’s a workhorse I can truly deep clean. Instinctively we opt for finishes that hide dirt, but your kitchen counter SHOULD NOT be one of them.

Open Shelving: Be bold. Open shelving defines professional kitchens for an obvious reason: accessibility! Clients lament about dusty plates. If you have dusty plates, you aren’t eating enough. Eat more and wash your plates. Problem solved. Open shelving comes in many styles, so personalizing is easy! My favorite is the combination of our pot rack over that beloved stainless table, totaling 20 square feet of open shelving. I grab the spaghetti noodles, sauce, pot, and strainer without moving my feet. I love it.

Single Basin Sink: Here’s the deal, we all need to wash oversized stuff.  Whether it’s that amazing wok or, in my case, a squirming toddler, a single basin sink is awesome. If you prefer a double to conserve water, a single basin is transformed quickly by integrating a removable stainless wash bowl. You now have the option of a double or single basin AND you can wash that stainless bowl in your dishwasher on sanitize! If you need more space to dry your dishes, check-out a roll-up over-the-sink drying rack … game changer!

As always, recipes evolve to fit personal taste and utilize available ingredients. Kitchen design is no different. It’ll require ingenuity to retrofit the flavors your palette prefers, but if I can learn to cook something edible, you can conquer a successful design. So, let’s toast to diligence and grace for both of us! Bon Appe-designing!