Tak­ing care of kitchen de­tails

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Front Page -

Long week­ends are the per­fect time to catch up on mis­cel­la­neous house­hold chores. Even when the win­ter weather is not co­op­er­a­tive, many in­door tasks can be tack­led. Some­times the small­est home im­prove­ment breeds the big­gest joy.

I fi­nally be­came com­pletely sick of the bro­ken pullout trash can in our kitchen and sat down to re­search re­place­ments on the In­ter­net. Within days, a sturdy box ar­rived. Af­ter in­stalling it, my hus­band com­pli­mented me on our new dual smooth-run­ning stain­less steel trash cans. “It’s like hav­ing a new car!” he cooed. Had I known that’s all it would take to thrill him, I’d have done it much sooner.

I’m no whiz kid with tools, but all I needed to in­stall our new trash cans was a bat­tery-op­er­ated drill and the pa­tience to get in­side the cup­board. While it was awk­ward, I man­aged to in­stall the cans my­self. The ex­pe­ri­ence got me think­ing about the power that con­stant ir­ri­ta­tions in your kitchen have over your sense of calm. I re­al­ized that in­stead of putting off a re­model en­tirely, fix­ing one is­sue in­di­vid­u­ally can be enor­mously sat­is­fy­ing, es­pe­cially when you have a small kitchen and can­not af­ford to be with­out one square foot of func­tion­ing space.

Any old cab­i­net can be im­proved by in­stalling a pullout shelf. I was at a client’s house work­ing on her guest room when she ca­su­ally men­tioned that her pot drawer was mak­ing her crazy.

We placed a phone call to our friendly cab­i­net shop and a week later she had a de­vice sim­i­lar to the one pho­tographed here. It’s al­most shock­ing how much re­lief you feel by mak­ing a sim­ple im­prove­ment like this. In many ways, th­ese small ir­ri­ta­tions are like hav­ing a hang nail.

You don’t have as many aes­thet­ics to change in a small kitchen, so you can gen­er­ally af­ford to in­vest in bet­ter-qual­ity items. Per­haps your cab­i­nets need knobs or han­dles. Or­der th­ese eas­ily on­line. Maybe you want un­der-counter lights or an ad­di­tional re­cessed light over your sink? Get on it! Or maybe — like me — your mi­crowave broke and you still haven’t re­placed it. Yes, even in­te­rior de­sign­ers be­come par­a­lyzed with in­de­ci­sion at times. I couldn’t find the right size, so I just dropped the is­sue en­tirely and my mi­crowave space is now filled with a panini maker, a blender and a small food pro­ces­sor. I should be ashamed, but I’m not.

In­de­ci­sion and lethargy af­flict many home­own­ers in the dead of win­ter, but that’s pre­cisely why this time of year is es­pe­cially good to fig­ure out what needs your at­ten­tion. Look at each room as if it’s the first time. Make lists. Do re­search on your spe­cific needs and make a wish list — it never hurts to col­lect price bids and ideas. If you can’t af­ford to change ev­ery­thing, at the very least give your cab­i­nets a good clean­ing for cheap. Or, force your­self to go through ev­ery drawer and toss out bro­ken, mis­matched or ob­so­lete items. I went through my draw­ers and threw away old plas­tic con­tain­ers to buy an en­tire new set of mi­crowave-safe ones. Th­ese are tiny fixes, but you can still get a thrill.

Chris­tine Brun

Small Spa­ces

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