Keep Kitchen Basics to Beat the Recession Blues

During these tough econimc times, people are spending more time in the kitchen preparing meals instead of going out and racking up large restaurant bills. Here are some parts of the kitchen that you might want to update to give your cooking space new life.

A tough economy = more cooking at home. Have you found that to be true? We used to eat out practically every night, and it wasn’t uncommon to have bills in excess of $100, particularly with wine added to the cost of the meal. Now we go out to eat only on special occasions, and cook in our kitchen most nights. The kitchen really is the heart of any home, and people are using their kitchens now more than ever.

Here are the elements of our kitchen that we now cherish, but let me make one thing perfectly clear — the photo at top is NOT our apartment kitchen. If we would have had such a great kitchen, we would have taken up cooking long ago!

  • Our Premiere oven. We have a small 20-inch range, which is a real space saver in a small kitchen space. By shrinking the footprint of the oven, we were able to squeeze out more counter space and that’s been helpful for meal prep.
  • An antique corner hutch. Four generous shelves store everything from extra sets of dishes and trivets to a collection of antique tea pots and Victorian punch bowls. The bowls are great for punch, but we serve big salads in them, too.
  • Ceramic tile flooring. The mustard and tan checkerboard pattern is cheery and adds color to the room. We picked up on the floor by painting the walls a tan to match the lighter squares with a barely-there stenciled pattern border on top, just underneath chair rail molding which we added about a third of the way down from the ceiling. A lighter off-white paint above the chair rail covers the top of the walls and ceiling and gives the room a lighter, airier feeling. A lighter paint shade on top adds visual height to the room.
  • White subway tile backsplashes. We added old-fashioned tile behind the sink, counter prep area, and oven and it’s been both a great look and a boon to cleaning. Splatters wipe off easily.
  • Our 1940s white and red metal hutch. Three shelves hold cookbooks, china, and crystal behind glass doors. The base has a slide-out top that’s great for serving meals, and below are four small drawers which hold everything from junk to plastic garbage bags. The bottom features a large storage section for paper products and laundry items.
  • Kitchen cabinets. For everyday dish sets, glassware, utensils, silverware, pots, pantry storage for food, spices, and so on.
  • A pot rack. Hanging pots and a strainer makes the kitchen look homey, and reaching for the right pot or pan is so handy.
  • A table and chairs. Using your kitchen table for multiple uses is great for any home: serve buffet suppers, have a sit-down meal, play board games, do homework, balance the checkbook, type on the computer, enjoy a leisurely cup of tea or coffee.
  • Artwork. Kitchens should be as beautifully decorated as any room in the house or apartment. I count 7 paintings and 16 mounted plates on our kitchen walls. Layers of accessories and art on the walls make the room more pleasant to work and eat in. Strong decor also links the kitchen to the rest of our apartment.
  • Our Bosch dishwasher. It’s quiet and we load it up regularly now that we’re cooking more. We plan to keep it running a lot since we’re using our great kitchen more often these days. And you know what? We’re eating better, feeling healthier, and meal prep and dinnertime conversations are both intimate and priceless.



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Inspired by the popularity of YouTube and videos on the Internet, Irwin Weiner and Jay Johnson created Design2Share in November 2006, an online podcast of advice and inspiration on homes, gardens, and architecture.

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