*Lyrics from Lily Allen‘s Hard Out Here. This video is NSFW (and is controversial, so it would seem), but the message is pretty spot on. Anyway, I wanted to find something to listen to that would compliment this post, but instead I found something that made me want to persevere, challenge the status quo, and fight the good fight, which is just as important. Plus, it’s way catchy, and probably great to add to an exercise playlist. I always like a little ‘tough bitch’ music when I’m feeling less than that, don’t you?
When we moved from the pied-à-terre to the pied-à-deux we brought our kitchen with us, like the good faux Italians we are. Our IKEA cabinets, countertop, and pendant lighting made the trek down one flight to become our new old kitchen. The only real difference between the two spaces is the color of the existing laminate countertops, and the age of the refrigerator (the old place had a brand new one, this one, not so much). We actually had the landlord move our stove down one flight, too, when we discovered (much to our chagrin) that the stove in The Deux was mostly not working (one out of four burners worked, and the oven didn’t heat up at all). Oh, and the other difference is that the upper floor unit had about 18″ more space in the dining area.
Somehow, the placement of the entry door was further out into the landing for the upper unit – probably because the stairwell doesn’t continue for another flight – so in moving downstairs we lost a bit of dining space, as well as our designated pantry space. Because of the mildly different layout, our decor and lighting options had to change.
Previously, we used a mirror, hung horizontally, to help bounce the natural light around the space. It also provided a place to drape christmas tree lights (or fairy lights, if you will) thus creating a bit of ambient task lighting (and a pretty twinkly ambiance). Well, with the new set up (and with the addition of luxurious extra outlets) we decided that this time we’d need to do a bit better than that.
I used some inexpensive pendants and mini drums from IKEA and decided to dress them up with a little DIY silver leafing, as well a coat of fabric paint on the shade itself. I couldn’t find black shades, and the silver leafing, er, imperfections, really showed (in a so not good way) with the pale cream shades I had originally purchased. I’m going to try my hand at this process again on some bedroom lampshades, and if it goes well, I’ll share the results (and the things I learned the first time), but I will say that it is not as easy as it looks.
Another DIY thing we needed to add to this kitchen was a shelf. In the other flat we had an IKEA etagere to act as a food pantry, and had plenty of storage space for our food as well as our dishes, but in this kitchen we had to basically dedicate the entirety of the upper cabinets to pantry storage. (Plus, when we condensed our old big house kitchen into the mini-apartment one, we realized we were pretty much at maximum capacity). We cook, a lot (if you follow me on instagram you’d probably think we don’t do much more than that), and so we needed to have all of our cooking things well-organized. That left us with a choice: install upper cabinets above the temporary lower units (a choice I don’t think the landlord would much approve of), or install a shelf for housing all of our dishes. We chose the latter, and not only saved a bundle, but also got to keep some wallspace for art, retained a feeling of spaciousness, and got to have the ability to quickly and easily access our day to day essentials.
So far, the shelf is just a raw, sanded, and tack-clothed piece of paintable (or stainable) poplar affixed to some inexpensive Lowe’s brackets, but we may add a bit of color on the leading edge at a future date. Because we needed the shelf for functionality, we just started using it, rather than waiting to finish it. We both kind of liked how the raw wood sort of blended into the wall color (Classic Gray by BM), and mostly disappeared (visual space is so important here), so we left it alone. We may never finish it, and that might be just fine. When we do move out of this place, we likely won’t leave it behind (unless the landlord wants us to), so we don’t need to worry that we might stain/ruin a permanent piece of someone else’s property. It’s just for us, and we’re pretty fine with it as is.
Our cute little space is efficient, useful, and pretty. Not bad for temporary, eh?