There are definitely people in the world who have smaller stove options...

There are definitely people in the world who have smaller stove options…

So, it is our plan, sometime in the next year or so,  to remodel the kitchen of my little thirty-year old tract house, and do so on a D-I-Y and scrounge-based budget, utilizing finds, inherited items,  severely marked-down elements, and the services of the detail-oriented local handyman-carpenter to gain a more efficient and attractive kitchen, with at least 35% more storage space,  because … I cook, preserve and store, and have the equivalent of two floor-to-ceiling bookshelves of cookbooks. I’ve been in libraries which didn’t have as many cookbooks! But anyway – the existing kitchen is small – one of those U-shaped numbers, about 8 x 10, and adjacent to a dining area of similar dimensions, and all originally fitted out with extremely cheap base and wall cabinets, which among their myriad failings in quality and installation do not make use of the corners. Nope, the original contractor whanged in cabinets at right angles, and sealed in the corner void spaces, which wasted considerable storage capacity right from the very beginning.

Everything installed was cheap, construction-grade and likely supplied by the boxcar-load. It has always amused me that the cheapest possible light fittings from Lowe’s or Home Depot that I bought to replace the original stuff are still a hundred times better than the original. And the neighborhood was built by a reputable builder; the stuff put into the places build by the disreputable must be made from tinfoil, cardboard and soda straws.

The new kitchen in Chez Hayes will, of course, be built around the gargantuan side-by-side refrigerator-freezer, which we bought a little more than a year ago, and the vintage and practically mind-condition 1941-Model B Chambers stove which my daughter inherited from our dearly beloved business partner and founder of the Tiny Publishing Bidness. But … and this is a epic but several times the size of Kim Kardashian’s … the stove is gas, and for safety’s sake, must be gone over carefully by a qualified technician and installed by same, since it has doubtless been jostled, rattled, bounced and had connections loosened since being moved from the little house where it had originally been installed. And also – we need to have a gas line extended to the kitchen of the house. All this will cost: exactly how much, we do not know at this stage of the game.

In the mean time, the current electric stove – which was bought from the Scratch’n’Dent outlet in 2003 when the originally-installed electric stove gave up the ghost – has likewise given up and joined the electronic appliance choir eternal, instead of staggering on for a year or two until the Chambers was ready to be installed. And no – I just didn’t want to go and get a new electric stove just to use for only a year or so. We settled on a sort of temporary and sort of long-term fix: a good two-burner hotplate, and a small toaster/convection/rotisserie oven, resting on lengths of wire shelving installed in the empty space where the stove was. We’d considered some kind of stand or kitchen cart, at first – but nothing was quite the right size, and even 1/4th of an inch larger than the space for a 30” stove would not have fit at all. We still had a bag of end-brackets left over from fitting out the pantry with wire shelves, so it was the space of twenty minutes at Lowe’s and another hour at home with a drill and hammer.  So far, it looks good; and offers a little extra shelf space for pots and pans, and the vacuum-sealer. I’m not using more than two burners at a time, and the little oven is just about the right size for the stuff that I’m usually baking, broiling or rotissering anyway.

And that was how we spent the week between Christmas and New Years…

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    If there are any Habitat for Humanity Restores in your area, you might find some decent cabinets & other materials you can use. My cousin told me about them after finding odds & ends she used to make her own bookcase. I found some trim pieces over Christmas week that I used to turn the remains of a kitchen desk into an island on casters. If you can find a Restore near an affluent area you might find some better quality items that aren’t trendy anymore but could be fixed up & re-purposed.

  2. Celia

    Hi, M – yes, there is an Habitat for Humanity outlet quite close to us — we check them out regularly, and this will be a part of our rehab plan. It’s kind of hit and miss though — of what you can find and use.