Since you’ve been gone, I can breathe for the first time…*

*Lyrics from Kelly Clarkson‘s 2004 song Since U Been Gone (yes, she spelled it like that). This song has been looping in my head ever since we landed yesterday from a brief trip to Utah for a family holiday. The air quality was extremely poor (read this article if you like), and it was my first time at altitude. Add that to my recently discovered exercise induced asthma (and the warm weather scent that fills our pied-à-terre air), and you could say that breathing easily is a luxury I won’t soon take for granted.

Original kitchen bits on the left, our addition on the right. IKEA was our friend in here, except for the vintage/antique table we're using as our eat-in spot.

Sausages. I’m not really a huge fan. But it’s all I can smell from out my new window since the new restaurant opened up on the ground level. (Lucky for me, it’s winter, and thusly the windows are mostly shut. Mostly.) Now, there are worse, far, far worse smells that I could have been inundated with. (This IS New York City we’re talking about here.) Worse scents that could rise up and hit me in the face, fill my nostrils and linger there like an unwanted houseguest, or a particularly chatty colleague. No, instead, I am faced with sausages.

A friend on facebook recently wrote about her discomfort at the fishmonger’s counter of her local market. The subsequent ‘clobbering’ (I believe that’s how she put it) and decapitating of three fish made her, as a buddhist, very (and painfully) aware of the fact that not only was a life about to be over, that it was also being taken, by force. Pretty heavy stuff. That’s sort of what that sausage smell does to me. Reminds me of my place in the world, of my own ambivalence about eating animals, of the highs and lows that come with living in a world with so many inhabitants, of so many various ways of living. Makes me think simultaneously of pigs and fat, of warm, delicious sauces, and of blood, and makes me feel hungry and mildly off-put at the same time.

Which brings me to my point: our kitchen! Our teeny kitchen required a bit of an outlay of expenditures to make it workable for us. We cook. And I don’t want to have to eat sausages all the time. And I wanted to be able to feel powerful, grateful, creative, and capable about meals. Being able to self-sustain (sort of) in a city that’s teeming with opportunities to let someone else carry that burden – that burden of taking life, or not; of honoring the beast you require, or not – makes me feel more at home, and more in control of my world. Pretty important, especially since we’re clearly in a limbo-ish, wildly uncomfortable yet totally necessary, temporary-or-is-it? kind of place.

So, we made sure that we budgeted for furniture for the kitchen. Specifically, lower cabinets, and a length of countertop to go over it, for ease of chef’ing it up, and for giving us more than 15″ of counterspace in a row (we ended up with 6′!). We’re not going to bother to paint in the kitchen – it’s kind of a hassle at this point, and I’ve kind of run out of steam in here (more on the painting of the rest of the flat another time). But, for now, the added bonus of clean, non-affixed (and therefore can be taken with us, sold, or otherwise won’t break the rules about making permanent decisions about the layout of the apartment), and modern bit of kitchen space makes the rather hefty investment worth it (hefty for a part-time apartment, totally affordable when compared to what fully custom kitchen cabinets cost).

So, pictures of our progress. Don’t judge too harshly. This is what it is to work with what you have, and make do where you can. We’re trying for a modern, rustic, bohemian, eclectic, glamourous little place that can serve as an oasis from the sausage-strewn, clobbering world. Enjoy! xoxo



    I love everything about it. Love the mirror, love the xmas lights that are festive and add atmosphere, love the island, love the table, chairs and pendant. Would also love to see paint but I understand all about losing steam. Especially in rentals.

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