Obviously, I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. But when we bought our house, I really didn’t know how to cook, and it didn’t matter to me that the space wasn’t more than 10 feet by 6 feet. A galley kitchen, and small at that. Barely functional, and completely uninspiring.
I tried to spruce it up by painting the walls red and cabinets yellow, but there was no getting around the fact that there was no counter space or storage and that it was very hard to work in.
After I discovered my passion for food, and I started really entertaining, it became more and more difficult to create great food in such cramped quarters. I was so excited when we finally decided to remodel the space into exactly what I needed and dreamed about.
We hired a great contractor and I tackled the interior design – birthing this space was a great way to nourish another aspect of my creativity (interior design), and it forced me to really think about what I needed.
There were 2 things that I absolutely would not compromise on: beauty and non-toxicity. Eco-friendliness was obviously also my concern, so I strove to find products that would meet all 3 labels (beauty, non-toxicity and environmentally-friendly): we insulated our walls with blue jeans (aka denim insulation), used all no-VOC paints and finishes, bamboo cabinetry, and a non-porous counter surface made from natural quartz that, unlike granite, would not off-gas.
The back wall is wood reclaimed from old barns, as are the beams in the living area (yes, the photo was taken before we got our cushions for the sectional, and that’s my husband in the kitchen area checking his phone, as per the usual).
The backsplash tiles are from the reject pile at Heath ceramic (you know, the quirky ones too imperfect to sell for retail, but that are actually more beautiful and interesting and a whole lot cheaper to boot?), and the steel shelves were powder-coated to match.
This is the inside of my fridge today: fruits and veggies, mini burgers, leftover quinoa with onions and herbs, miso paste, pastured eggs, sauerkraut, raw cream (for those last strawberries!), yogurt (for my husband), organic tofu (for my son’s miso soup which he loooves with tofu, so I figure, once in while…), coconut kefir and kombucha (which we make at home and keep on tap), as well as probiotics and fermented cod liver oil supplements. The fridge varies day by day, and caters to the whole family so it gets pretty chaotic in there sometimes, but I do try my best to find healthy versions of what everyone likes.
See the round lamp above the fireplace? It’s a David Trubridge – gorgeous bamboo, very light and affordable. Shipped in a little box, you assemble it yourself. I laboriously painted the interior of it red so it would match the rest of the kitchen (yes, I am that kind of crazy). You can find these lamps (with all kinds of interior colors… now, why didn’t I do that? Because none matched my decor exactly, silly!). There are some really beautiful ones.
Want proof of how obsessive I really am? Check out my tea drawer… I keep loose tea in mason jars, write the name of the tea on top and write all the ingredients on the side (I used these mason jars and these labels, but you can also use painter’s tape and permanent marker).
The only reason there are still boxed tea bags in this drawer is that my husband is attached to his own brands. I’m working on him. Loose tea is not only more affordable, but better for our health, too – tea bags often contain plastics and toxins that leach into every single cup. Not worth it, really! For clean sources of loose tea, check out Starwest Botanicals and Mountain Rose Herbs.
Since we are talking about my OCD tendencies, I suppose I should show you my freezer…
The old galley kitchen has now been turned into a pantry of sorts, and is also home to a large freezer, where I keep all my nuts/flours/bone broth, etc. Believe it or not, I actually find it a little disorganized, and am in the process of making sure all containers match and nothing is out of place. Still, it all seems a little nutty to some people, and I have friends who come over and take photos of it and then plead for me to do the same in their kitchen. I suppose that if I ever find myself with nothing to do in life, I can always organize spaces for a living (which I actually would like). Some neuroses have their useful place, I guess.
A tour of my kitchen would not be complete without a peek at my vegetable garden. My husband built it for me for my birthday a few years ago, and we have experimented with growing all sorts of produce since then. Well, by “we”, I really mean “him”. Sadly, I have a black thumb of sorts, and can’t grow a damn thing, it seems. So he grows it, and I cook it. Seems like a good trade.
This photo is not my proudest, obviously, but since I do honest photography, well, there you have it. Our garden. It does not always look like this, I swear. We have been traveling a lot this summer, so it was very neglected, and it is taking a while to recover from it all.
The fact that it looks so terrible right now does not mean that we haven’t harvested lots of great produce: we still got plenty of tomatoes, kale, collards, lots of lettuces, strawberries, snap peas, and many, many bunches of herbs. However, our carrots went to root, and we lost a couple of other crops, too. I hope to be able to show you a more beautiful version of our garden next summer.
It’s been over a year since we finished remodeling, and I still walk in the kitchen every single morning with a sense of wonder and gratitude. How blessed am I to create nourishing meals in such a gorgeous space that completely reflects who I am. It humbles me to appreciate the many gifts that life has given me.
I warmly welcome you to my kitchen!