RenoTransformation Week 5: The Devil is in the Details

I’m not the most detail-oriented person. I’m more of a big picture, creative thinker than an industrious and meticulous doer. So while it has been super easy and super fun to work on the overall design, look and feel of my kitchen, completing the detailed design is driving me to tears.

I express my creativity through my cooking – trying new ingredients or creating my own recipes. It’s a sacred space for me. It is also the heart centre of the family. Often times, I find all of us are gathered in the kitchen – cooking, cleaning, eating, or just chatting. A typical morning finds my husband making coffee, while I assemble the kids’ lunch, and the kids eat breakfast. There’s commotion and banter. There’s life. 

After years of making-do with sloppy kitchen design I have the opportunity to create something that meets my needs. My goal is an efficient kitchen that is lovely to behold and a pleasure to work in. The space is planned and organised; there is a place for everything so that everything can stay in place, avoiding clutter and waste.

I’m spatially challenged and can’t think in inches or centimetres or the preferred unit of measurement – millimetres! So I’ve taken to carrying a measuring tape everywhere I go. If my interior designer says, “The drawer is 500”, I immediately whip out the tape and show myself what 500mm looks like before I make a decision. For the longest time I thought drawer of 13cm height was super narrow, but actually it’s quite a lovely height for a kitchen or bathroom drawer. To get a better idea of kitchen drawers and cool features, I spent almost an entire day in IKEA, armed with clipboard, draft kitchen layouts, and my tape. I went from kitchen to kitchen, opening and closing drawers, measuring width and height and depth, getting a feel for dimensions and drawer design, and checking drawer inserts, soft closing mechanism, hinges, accessories (some pictures shown below). Waste bins are a particular interest of mine since I separate wet and dry garbage, and separate recycling items. My interior designer probably thinks I’m crazy for the number of waste bins I’m planning. My husband definitely thinks so. I don’t really care, I believe we must reduce, reuse, and recycle.  

I spent a lot of time online looking at bins, spice racks, and other products that would help me organise my kitchen. I have learnt that decanting and storing food products in labelled containers helps to keep them fresh, to plan shopping, and to reduce waste. All the while looking amazing for Instagram.

After the IKEA study tour, the countless articles on kitchen design, review from Wirecutter, inspiration from Pinterest and Kitchens of Instagram, it was time to make some design decisions and have some points of view on how the design would be accomplished given the constraints – space, original structural elements, sizes of appliances.

Next came a 5-hour work session with the interior designer to plan each and every aspect of the kitchen thinking foremost about function, efficiency, and ease of maintenance. It was a very important session and I remember coming home feeling elated that we had nailed down every detail including the colour of wood, laminates, handles and knobs, drawer mechanisms and hinges.

Then I get a message…

Oops! Mistakes happen.

So it’s back to the drawing board to go over every piece of the kitchen design to review and confirm, and most likely, make changes/compromises. This is not what I planned to do on a Friday evening. But at least there are beers chilling in the fridge. 

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