What Lies Beneath

So we don’t think we’re bragging, per se, when we say our kitchen is quite the looker.


But the beauty of this unicorn kitchen isn’t just skin deep. Of course, when we walked into our designer’s showroom with our wallets open, he got all excited about selling us all the bells and whistles — how about a built-in espresso machine? A foot-pedal operated sink? A pull-out cabinet fitted with garbage/recycling cans? Spice cabinet inserts on an upper cabinet door? Tray dividers? Admittedly, a lot of this stuff is tempting, but the fact is, our nasty extant kitchen had its share of those features, too. And they were proving to be more of a hindrance than a help. There were five lower cabinets on the surround in the old kitchen; one was a wide drawer cabinet that was shoddily built, but held all my pots, one was a difficult-to-reach-into corner cabinet, two were tray dividers, and one was a sticky, grungy built-in garbage can cabinet that no longer had a garbage can in it, and which did not fit our garbage can. In other words, it was wasted space. And as nice as it was to have two tray dividers, it would have been nicer to have some flexibility. With that in mind, we told our designer to keep a lid on his enthusiasm for single-use built-ins. We didn’t even want a designated silverware drawer, because what if we ended up changing our mind about where that should go?

In the end, we got a whole lot of usefulness, with open-ended utility. There are the wide drawers next to the big oven, that fit my pots with room to spare:


And on the other side of the oven are a couple of encabinetted pull-out shelves, for strainers and salad spinners and oversized mixer attachments and other misfit gewgaws:


What of the dreaded corner cabinet, though? After spending two years digging through our tupperwares in the impossible corner cabinet in the old kitchen, we’ve got the mother of all lazy susans (our designer called them “super susans”) to hold our behemoth collection of reusable containers.


One of the really nice features of the cabinetry we’ve got is that the drawers pull all the way out (they also automatically finish closing themselves once you’ve started the job, thereby sparing me my worst kitchen pet peeve, the slightly ajar drawer). This made it possible for us to move our cumbersome store of loose teas into a drawer next to our tea-making station, rather than stacking them in the pantry like we used to.


And in place of an expensive insert to hold spice jars in place, a drawer next to the oven works just fine on its own:


One thing that seemed kind of gimmicky and useless to us was the pull-out shelf for dishsoap that our designer insisted we would love. We seriously doubted him, but he won us over by pointing out that he was putting it in because he needed that width of cabinet to make the layout of everything else along the sink wall work the way we wanted it to. We expected to hate it. We were wrong.


So even though it’s not overly gadgety, the kitchen just feels smart and useful. Even the fridge gets into the act, with our favorite feature of this entire remodel: the icons on the Biofresh doors. Here, the crisper tells you what setting to put its humidity release lever thingy at for, say, elk. Or lobster. Or sausage link:


And here the freezer tells you how long you should keep your fully feathered chicken. Or your pig. Or pretzel:


Our previous kitchen remodel had ended up giving us towering walls of 42-inch tall upper cabinets, and an enveloping expanse of lower ones. We fretted at the start of this project that somehow, despite the size of the kitchen, it wasn’t going to have as much storage space as our last remodeled one did. Well, while we were tidying up for this photo shoot, imagine our surprise when Pookie pulled open a cupboard door next to the sink and exclaimed, “You guys, are we using this cabinet for anything?” Boomer and I were stunned — we’d never even noticed that cabinet was there.


For now, it will be our “hiding things that normally live on the counter that we want out of the way when we take pictures of it” cabinet. But it’s flexible, and that could change.



Filed under Unicorn Kitchen

4 responses to “What Lies Beneath

  1. I know what could go in that cabinet! ME! You would never even notice I was there! Instead of living in the garden at Maple Hoo, I could live in the Unicorn Kitchen! (At least in the winter.)

  2. That’s a great idea, HG!

  3. I love that tea drawer! What are you favorite kinds of tea?

  4. We are big-time black-tea drinkers at Maple Hoo. Boomer is married to all the English tea blends, especially Earl Gray. I am primarily a morning tea drinker, steeping a pot of it at work and nursing it through the early part of the day. I’ve lately taken a shine to Darjeelings and heavy-on-the-Darjeeling English blends, as well as Assams. I also sometimes like a Ceylon to start the day, and sometimes I’ll splurge on some pricier Chinese black teas (some ritzy Panyongs or Keemuns). All in all, though, I stick to black teas (or semi-blacks, in Darjeeling’s case). How about you, kms2?

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