All posts tagged kitchen

Kitchen coffee center: just put it in a drawer!

One of the main goals for my new kitchen was to find a solution for my coffee stuff. In our previous space, it was sort of confined to a corner of the counter, but still took up counter space and still was an eyesore. Since I use a stove top coffee maker and/or a French press, I hand wash the parts and need a place to dry them. Again, that takes up counter space.

So what do we have in total? A coffee grinder, a hot water kettle, a couple of coffee pots that are used regularly, canisters of beans, a milk frother, coffee stirrers, sugar… these really add up!

The solution is using one of my drawers in our new IKEA kitchen as a hidden coffee station. It turns some of the IKEA parts that go with the Bygel rail system seem to fit nicely on the rails for the drawer. As you can see, I’ve got some of the smaller items in the Bygel cups and have used one of the baskets for drying my coffee pot. I’ve put an old cloth underneath so the drawer doesn’t get wet, and have also taken a small cloth bag and put some uncooked rice in it to absorb any leftover humidity (you can’t see it in the photo but it’s there. It’s about the size of a golf ball). So far, so good.

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Friday Linkathon: Construction Edition

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. We failed inspection thanks to a brand new inspector that is having our contractor bend over backwards. While I appreciate his thoroughness, it’s slowing us down to a crawl. Good news: WE HAVE HOT WATER:

Takagi TK-4

Takagi TK-4

This is the Takagi TK-4. It’s been providing us hot water for the last couple of days and so far, so good. It’s about as loud as a bathroom fan, which was our biggest concern.

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Kitchen Renovation: Demolition! And why we decided to not DIY this part

Kitchen Demolition


Finally! We’ve started our kitchen remodel today and our old, nasty kitchen has been demolished. I was dreading this day for a while but it just means we are one step closer to the finished project. I think we’ve chosen a great construction company (TME Construction Inc.) who can get this done in a reasonable amount of time. Barring any unforeseen disasters (which are probably inevitable) this should take about three to four weeks, start to finish.

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Kitchen Renovation: Preparation (and 3 ways to keep your sanity during a renovation)

There are a few things that really grind my gears: hypocrites, formal shorts and moving. I absolutely loathe moving. I’d rather do a strangers laundry for a month than pack up my stuff into boxes and move. Perhaps it’s the disorganization that bothers me:

Kitchen Renovation chaos

Kitchen Renovation chaos

This is my office right now. It’s usually a nice little room big enough to be an office, a place for my plants, and a place to do a little post-ballet class yoga. Right now it’s storing everything that was in our kitchen cupboards, plus our home theater stuff since the living room is the staging area for the kitchen. See the knife block just hanging out in the middle of the room? ISN’T IT FABULOUS I THINK IT TIES THE WHOLE ROOM TOGETHER!!!

Add to this the fact that we are without hot water until the renovation starts, the whole situation makes me a little on edge. It would be awesome to be able to stay in a hotel for a month, but that could get a wee bit expensive, no? And I wouldn’t impose upon a friend to house me during our renovation, so we’re staying put. I’ve come up with a few ways to cope with the stress and keep some semblance of order during this process:

1. Carve out a niche that’s your personal, organized space. Even if it’s just a closet or your desk, keep that space absolutely spotless and in order. Right now, that’s about one sixth of the office that includes the desk and the space next to the window where I can take care of my plants. That brings me to…

2. Maintain a relaxing hobby. Maybe it’s meditation, but I’ve taken to indoor gardening as something to focus on. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that’s NOT involved with the renovation.

Keeping my plants nurtured during the kitchen renovation might just keep me sane

Keeping my plants nurtured during the kitchen renovation might just keep me sane

3. Plan some “going out” activities. There really should be a line item in a renovation budget for mental health. Plan an outing to a park or dinner and a movie. And then vow to not talk about the renovation. That’s easier said than done since it’s consuming your whole life. Renovations can be hard on relationships, especially if you and your partner have a hard time agreeing on decisions and are constantly making compromises. That way when your contractor calls and says something like, “structural issues,” you’re ready to handle it.

The economics of a kitchen remodel: how to budget for a kitchen and not lose money

Much has been made of the value a kitchen contributes to a home. This wasn’t always the case and I have a few theories as to why. Anyone who has a home that predates the 1970’s probably has a very small kitchen in a very compartmentalized home. Back then, the Little Woman did all the cooking and she didn’t need a big, open chef’s kitchen, did she? It’s true that many older homes built en masse are also small, but if you look at pre-1970’s kitchen-to-rest of the home ratio and current kitchen-to-rest of the home ratios, the difference is clear. Cooking has become more of a group activity (or, depending on your perspective, men have become more involved in cooking) and therefore kitchens have become a place to cook and socialize, which warrants a bigger space. Now, the kitchen is the most expensive room in an average home. Although if Mr. Los Angeles got his hands on a home with a dedicated theater, this would be a a different story.

After installing our new floors and giving our condo a coat of paint and a good scrub, the kitchen was the room that needed the most work. The condo came with appliances that appeared Soviet in era and design and they had to go. So right after having to buy a home, we had to buy appliances (ick!). Instead of hunting Craigslist or getting ding-and-scrapes from the big box stores, we went to our local appliance store and just got what we really wanted for the long run. Mr. Los Angeles scored a top of the line fridge due to an advertising misprint. So that’s a big chunk of our kitchen remodel budget that was removed from the equation (about $5,000 worth).

Buying the condo was a touch-and-go process so for months I browsed Houzz and all of my favorite design and kitchen blogs and had quite the wishlist! Stone countertops! Instant hot water for my tea! A sink big enough to bathe a Labrador! ALL THE THINGS!!! But my ever-logical better half is wise in most things and we agreed that installing a kitchen that was appropriate to the home’s value is the way to go. We live in a decent neighborhood but we’re certainly not in Brentwood, and the median home price in our condo complex is about $180,000. So is a $50,000 kitchen really going to give us a return on our investment? In these uncertain times with a real estate market that has been described as schizophrenic, counting on a big kitchen remodel to carry the value of a home through the reselling process isn’t very wise. And when I hear phrases like, “a kitchen can’t be done for less than…” I have to laugh. Of course you can do a kitchen remodel for less! But there’s a lot of noodling that needs to be done to the budget and a lot of tough choices to be made. Here’s what I recommend:

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Making an IKEA kitchen look custom made

The LA Lady's IKEA Adel DIY Kitchen

When you talk to contractors, you keep hearing the same thing over and over again when you mention an IKEA kitchen:

  • We don’t do those
  • My cabinet guy can match their prices per linear foot
  • They look cheap
  • They are poor quality

I disagree with all of that.

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Kitchen Renovation: Buying an IKEA kitchen

Well low and behold, we have purchased the IKEA kitchen! I’ve been mentally preparing myself for a while, knowing that many people have experienced some frustrations during the purchase process (not to mention the assembly) so I came armed and ready. You can find plenty of posts on the subject, and one was even posted on one of my favorite blogs The Kitchn the very day I went to go buy the kitchen. If that isn’t a sign…

Here’s my take on buying an IKEA kitchen:

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Kitchen Renovation: Phase One Planning (part 2)

So we’re getting closer to deciding on a contractor. Our salesman at the counter top company (which I’ll be reviewing when this process is done) is actually a reputable contractor and we’re getting a quote from him. It’s amazing how difficult it is to find someone who is licensed and insured (per the HOA’s and just a smart thing to do) and who will take a job under $15k-ish.

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Kitchen Renovation: Phase One: Planning (part one)

If there’s anything my DH and I will ace in this whole project, it will be the planning. We’re both meticulous when it comes to design and between the two of us we’re a small design firm. Mr. Los Angeles can model in 3D like he’s scratching off a lottery ticket. I can visualize and mock up and can find ANYTHING on the internet. In addition, we both have very similar tastes. Deciding on furniture, paint colors, decor, etc. has been the easiest part of our new home.

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