The Hawk-Mo Hotwire

Micro Entrepreneurism, Simple Living & Art

Making Our Small Spaces Ever More Functional: AKA “Pimp Mom’s Kitchen”

While this crazy place we bought has got close to 1800 sq ft of enclosed living space, its really spread out and fairly dysfunctional. The space we actually live in and use on a regular basis is only about 800 sq feet. The longer we live here, the more we figure out how to best use it. Every time we have a revelation about how to make a space work better we get really really excited. It would be like if this whole time your toilet paper roll wasn’t located in a place where you could reach it while you were sitting on the pot and then suddenly you figured out how you could fix that. You’d be pretty darn excited right?

Mom’s house is our main house and its just over 400 sq feet if you count the sleeping loft. What sucked is that there was this dead space of about 8 feet between the door and the fridge that we just couldn’t seem to put to good use. We tried keeping a rolly rack there but found it awkward to walk over there to get things while we were cooking, so then we tried having a table there to sit and eat at, but we found that we really preferred the comfy chairs in the living room. Thing is, having space you don’t use in a small house is complete sillyness. Which is what put us on a mission. Well, that and not wanting to wash so many damn dishes.

We figured out how we could fit a dishwasher and a whole ‘nother prep space countertop in Mom’s kitchen two weekends ago, which basically means cooking just got a whole lot more fun. We tried it out in Mom and I fashion last Thursday night when we decided to cook up all the veggies we had left from the week before we went to market again on Friday. Post dinner we cooked two additional complete dishes: broccoli & kohlrabi curry burgers and collards & asparagus cream casserole. It twas fabulous. We both cooked, we made a huge mess, and we just loaded it all in the dishwasher and went to bed. Woke up the next morning to go to market and the dishes were clean.

As you can tell, six months of washing lots of dishes can make people a little nutty. A little easily delighted. A little special. A little in love with a dishwasher. Is that really so wrong?

But what’s entirely fabulous, is that we got a dishwasher AND a functional kitchen. The pending dishwasher installation inspired kitchen renovation conversation, which inspired a quick Craigslist search for cabinets, which yielded and all together too good to be true deal on an entire kitchens worth of vintage 1950’s Geneva metal cabinets + appliances! We drove the very next day and picked them up. Filled up the entire 16 x 7 trailer with top and bottom cabinetry. And these babies are gems. Bottoms cabinets are drawers with the exception of the sink unit and one curvy corner unit that has shelves, plus two other corner lazy susan units, there are built in features like slidy silverware trays, bread boxes, and even a super cool lift out mixer counter thing. The upper cabinets all have wire rack adjustable shelves and one came with a glass front for showing off the pottery collection!


And then we scored AGAIN.

We thought we were just going to put these beauties in storage till the kitchen renovation, but then we got all giddy seeing if we could squeeze them into Mom’s kitchen as is – and boy did we. They fit like a glove in every space we tried to put them. It was all so meant to be. Magical things like the skinny 9″ cabinet for cookie trays and such just barely squeezing in between the new dishwasher and the wall!??! Then, the 15″ stand alone drawer unit with a countertop still on it fit perfectly next to the stove. Then, the creme de creme: a lazy susan corner piece and the doublewide drawer piece (that used to hold the countertop stove) fit exactly next to the fridge. And for a temporary countertop, the old bathroom door from the ghetto cabin fit PER.FECT.LY. I can’t make this shit up. Seriously?!?!

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The new cabinets are the white ones.

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Peek-a-boo view of the new super awesome prep/appliance counter where there used to be dysfunctional, never used table.


Behold the masterpiece.

Her kitchen basically doubled in size and functionality in a weekend and all we did was spend $650 on some cabinets – of which we only used a third of them.

I spent this past week having kitchen envy. I would go over to visit it in the mornings just because. Its nice to just admire it. Behold the magic and beauty of a space to cook in that actually really works really well.

So I talked Hank into helping me do a little renovation of our totally defunct ghetto kitchen. I measured and figured out that the remaining 15″ drawer piece would fit where our micro fridge is if he did a little demo work and removed the useless drawer above it and some trim. A sawzall and some prybarring later that was done and the cabinet was in. Then I went to town cleaning up the mess and removing stupid shelves and adding a more functional drying rack and such. For a fridge, we now have the one that used to be in Genie and we added a cabinet above it that has our dishes in it to stay clean and our teas and herbs to stay dark. It would still be hard to really cook a meal from scratch here with Mom’s kitchen being so pimped out and only a short walk away, but its definitely a helluva lot easier to use then it was. And somehow I think I made it bigger too. Money spent on this part of the project: $0.

I’m really amazed at how much we’ve been able to do to create functional space out of what was very not functional space. All of our combined design minds make for a powerful force.


About mudly

Mud is main blog writer extraordinaire, picture guru, and the garden and adventure instigator. She loves to cook, but doesn’t much like following a recipe. She also loves typewriters, the color turquoise, and wearing tie dye with stripes. And she dorks out on while dreaming up and planning her next garden.

3 comments on “Making Our Small Spaces Ever More Functional: AKA “Pimp Mom’s Kitchen”

  1. Jack Bailey
    June 3, 2013

    Please send me several pix of the prep/island so I can eyeball how well the shelf and platform might fit — both are made and finished but can be modified if needed…..include the side opposite the sink especially…..

    • mudly
      June 3, 2013

      We were planning on them so we’re pretty sure they’re still gonna work!

  2. sallyb2
    June 3, 2013

    Wow! Now you’ve got a real cooking kitchen, a social area and a sleeping loft! What are your plans for the refinished chairs? How about a picture of the ghetto cabin kitchen ?

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This entry was posted on June 2, 2013 by in Updates.

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