The Story of a Kitchen


We once had a family home in the Wolseley neighbourhood of Winnipeg. I loved the schools, the shops and the friends we knew and made in the neighbourhood. This was over twenty years ago and the community was not as gentrified as it is now and D was often concerned about our safety and was just as happy when we made the move to River Heights. The Wolseley kitchen was a do-it-yourself job with white cupboards and black hardware, white appliances and pine ceiling and walls. There was a door to the back porch, a door to the dining room, a door to the front landing and a door to the basement. J1 who we called “crash” as a toddler, once hit one of those door jams which forced his recently exposed front teeth, back up into the tooth sockets. Overall, it was an awkward space and poorly laid out and we would not miss it when we moved.


Our River Heights kitchen was smaller but had a more efficient footprint and was relatively new. At that time I was overjoyed. There was no designated dining room in the house but it had a built in kitchen table and it was perfect for our young family. Perfect, that was, until our border collie-cross puppy ate off all the legs to the chairs for the kitchen table! Over the years, things went down hill from there.

When J1 became a young man, he and D backpacked through Europe. Back home, for no apparent reason, the tempered glass on the front of our stove imploded into a million little glass shards. D and J1 redesigned the kitchen footprint on the back of a napkin in some European pub along their route. By this time, we had reworked a little TV room into a dining space so we no longer needed the kitchen table. We did a small redesign to move the stove where the table had been and replace the flooring which was very much the worse for wear.


In more recent years, we had run out cupboard space and the cupboard doors would literally fall off their hinges on a regular basis. We were disgusted by our popcorn ceiling and the grime that had accumulated there from our constant use of the stove. I had suggested a modest face lift to fix the cupboards and ceilings and create some more space. D want to start from scratch and so we waited until we could afford the reno.

In the mean time, my Momma had moved out of our family home and shared the proceeds of the house sale with my siblings and me. The kitchen dream, came back onto the front burner, so to speak! We researched some very grand plans of creating a doorway into the living room and going back to the bare bones with the help of our designated contractors-DAB Building and Renovation.

In the end, our plans had to be scaled back without the access and retaining the flooring and appliances, or we would have to continue to save. We chose the former and moved ahead. The guys from DAB are friends of our offspring and had some appreciation of our casual lifestyle. They suggested a beach-like kitchen decor and I was SOLD! The only thing that we modified was replacing a laminate counter top with a granite one. Otherwise, we accepted every one of their practical and design suggestions.


The majority of the work was scheduled to be completed while D and I were up at the Beach House on our August vacation. We emptied the cupboards and moved the contents of the city fridge to the lake one. Right on schedule, the demo and rebuild began. We got regular up-dates from the guys and I remained up at the beach house for some extra time to stay out of the guys’ hair.

A custom-made window took a bit of time to be completed and installed, but otherwise, the job took about three weeks.

Here’s a tour:


D prepared our first dinner at our dining peninsula. We wanted butcher block surfaces but was cautioned about surrounding the sink with wood, so we mixed it up with the granite top on the cupboards opposite. (This photo also illustrates that we should probably pour less hearty wine portions in the future).


We had never before had a spice drawyer. This one is right next to the stove top and D was thrilled with how easy it was to season everything up before the grilling that he did that evening.


In the drawers directly opposite the stove are all of our utensils. These three drawyers were newly acquired and much needed space. I seem to have accumulated way too many gadgets, given as product samples at blogging events. I itentially placed all of the plastic items in the bottom drawyer so that the Wee One could open it up by herself to help me unload the dishwasher or just play. The granite gives me a place to work with dough and is very “organic” looking in appearance.


The shelf to the left was added so that there would be clearance by the stove which allowed for a bank of open shelving. We had one of the shelves removed so that our tall bottles of various oils could be readily available at the stove top.


The open shelves serve a number of purposes: I never before had the space to place my much-loved cookbooks. Having a place to display a couple of decorative items means that it is less tempting for me to “clutter” up the counter as D likes clear counter tops. I think that we have found a number of good compromises between form (me) and function (him).


In our previous kitchen a double lazy susan (Sister #3 has always wondered why Susans are labelled in this manner), was full of packaged goods. Now one shelf holds all of our stove top cookware and another, all of our small appliances.


In addition to the lazy susan space, the pevious cupboards that occupied this space, right down to the floor, was full of food packages. These days, we find that we depend on hardly any packaged foods and so we were able to incorporate almost all our food stuffs and ingredients into this one space. We retained the wire baskets from our former kitchen so that we could pull out the shelves and see all of the ingredients so that nothing would get lost and forgotten about at the rear of the cupboard. In addition, I categorized each pull out, so if I am baking, I just pull out that entire basket and place it on the counter for easy access.


We do not have a stove hood or vent in the kitchen so it is so lovely that the window now opens to let steam and cooking odors out and the fresh air in.


The plant shelves by the south window are for growing herbs in the winter. The glass fronted cupboard is a great place to display some glass and pretty coloured serving items.


We have tripled the lights with numerous pot lights, strategically located. The pine that serves as our backsplash was white-washed to cover the popcorn ceiling. The double farmer’s sink is great for rinsing on one side and allowing supper to defrost in the other. The floor matt was out on our back deck and I initially brought it in just to have a place to put it over the winter but I love it so much that I will not want to give it up. I think that it ties everything together and really contributes to the beachy decor that we were going for.


Now here is the ironic thing, a detail that I do not think that D has even remembered: the white cupboards with black hardware and the pine on the walls and ceiling are exactly the decor of our first kitchen those many years ago (the one that we couldn’t wait to leave behind)!


Kath’s quote: “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”. –Joni Mitchell

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.








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2 Comments to

“The Story of a Kitchen”

  1. Avatar October 2nd, 2015 at 9:45 am Emma Says:

    Just loved this, Kath! We are in the stage of life where we have a dated, not ideally arranged, but still functional kitchen, BUT, many other renos that take priority. We are content now to wait, knowing that when we finally have the resources to attack the kitchen, it will be very satisfying. Your story reminds me to be patient! I’m sure you’re enjoying your stunning new kitchen all the more for having lived with the previous imperfect ones.

    P.S. loved your tip about arranging items in wire baskets in groups so that you can just pull one out when you’re baking. Brilliant!

  2. Avatar October 2nd, 2015 at 9:52 am Kathryne Says:

    Always a pleasure to have you visit Food Musings. Love to you.

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