Solving Kitchen Puzzles.

Do you like Puzzles?

I like puzzles. I’m not always good at them but I like trying to figure them out.

Every house is like a gigantic puzzle and the furniture, finishes and the decor that a person chooses, are the piece that you need to solve the puzzle of turning the house into a home.

I have been working on our 2008-build puzzle since we moved in 2 years ago. I have come up with a few solutions to make the house more functional and add character because the house itself is just cookie-cutter, and has builder grade everything. Unfortunately, all of my solutions are still stuck in my head because we’re on a budget.

Which, in hindsight, is a good thing because if we would have done some of the things that I wanted to do when we first moved in it would have hindered doing some things that were better solutions for the space that I worked out in my head later on.

One of the areas that I have been struggling with is kitchen/dinning space.

When you walking into our house you are immediately in the living room and just past that is the kitchen/eating area. There isn’t a wall or other structure to define the difference between the spaces and its been a struggle to set furniture.

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We’ve tried a round table in the kitchen area but It felt cramped around the wall and that is where we keep the dog’s food and water bowls, so refilling them was a pain.

I don’t have a ton of counter space so I was keeping my ironstone bowl collection on a vintage, store rack by the door that leads to the garage and had added a rolling cart with a butcher-block top to use when cooking but had to push it up against the stove when not using so there was room to walk easily to sink.

I never loved this layout and Kyle hated the rolling cart but I need the counter space.

It always felt like I was just dealing with the space but it wasn’t really working.

I had thought about moving out the table and chairs, rolling out the cart and just adding an island piece that I could use as storage, counter space, and a table.

A triple threat in the furniture world.

I would just have to convince Kyle that doing something non-traditional in our awkward kitchen would be a better solution to the puzzle. A tough sell to a good ol’ boy but when the right piece came a long I knew that he would appreciate the space that it would open up.

The test finally came on Saturday.

I have a antique store right down the road from me (it’s a blessing and a curse) and I have to pass it everyday to get into town and I swear it is like the owners of the shop know this. They put stuff amazing junk out on the porch and around the sides ALL THE TIME. So I am always slowing down and scanning whenever I drive by.

This particular time, Kyle and I were driving past to go to brunch. I pointed out a work bench/table thing on the porch of the antique store and made the mental note to ask about the price on the way back home and get a closer look.

On the way home I had Kyle stopped so I could poke around and on closer inspection I noticed that it had a stone top and was perfect counter height.

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Me:Dang, I wonder if this would work for the kitchen.

Kyle:The Kitchen?! There’s no room in there for this!

Me:I’ll explain later, I need to get a measuring tape.

I got the measurements and asked about the price which made it an even more attractive option.

According to the shop owners it came out of Crozet, Virginia and was once used in a printing shop as a work table.

I decided to go for it, explaining to Kyle that we would just try it out for a week or two and if it didn’t work things could go back to how they were and I could just re-sell it in my antique booth at The Factory. Low risk, High reward.

We got a friend to help move it home because that slate top and solid wood gave it a very healthy weight. Kyle and I moved the table, chairs and rolling cart to the garage, gave the floor a good cleaning and beat off dust and dog hair from the antique rug I had under the table. Moving stuff around gives me a good excuse to get some cleaning done.

All that need to get done to the piece itself was wiping it down and giving the wood a coat of Water Base Polycrylic Protective Finish in Matte.

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Kyle is researching about sealing in slate top to protect it and make it safe to eat off of but for now I’m calling this project done.

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Eliminating 2 pieces of so-so furniture and adding one really cool multi-purpose piece is making me really happy. It’s only been a day but so far the daily flow in the kitchen has improved and feels much more natural.

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If it was used in a printing shop, I’d like to think that this section held printing trays. Now it will hold cutting boards.

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I was even able to move our silverware over to this drawer where the wire silverware holder fits perfectly.

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Kyle is liking the change as well. He has more room to move around the kitchen and he likes that its has a more masculine feel to balance out all of my “fancy” stuff.

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Like I said, we are still in the early days of living with this puzzle solution but for now its a winner. It might get rotated or turn around but I like how it’s laid out currently. I was able to simplify but at the same time maximize the space we have.

What puzzles are you working on in your home?

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