Monday, September 20, 2010

Yes, I am still talking about my kitchen

So we are back in the city, and boy do I have a lot to tell you. Ok, so nothing super exciting, I shouldn't get your hopes up, but we've been keeping pretty busy. Which is good. Busy is good, because that means we are not couped up in our rather tiny apartment all the time. Speaking of our "rather tiny apartment", I thought you might like to see how we do it. Live in a 500 square foot apartment with 3 kids, that is. It's funny, because here in NY, our apartment is not out of the ordinary, so the way we live is nothing special, but it's fun to show it to those who don't live in the city. I thought it might be fun to start where I started 2 years ago... with the kitchenette! I was browsing through Smitten Kitchen the other night, and came across a post she did about her tiny NYC kitchen, and how she cooked in it. I just had to laugh, because her kitchen is about 3 (maybe 4?) times bigger than mine. I mean, the fridge is in the kitchen, and she has room for a portable island. I dream. So anyway, here is how we make our tiny kitchen work for us:

Old kitchen, in case you forgot...
New one
It's actually a little more spacious in there, but there is less cupboard space, and so far, it is less functional. But that might just be because I was so used to the other one, and haven't quite figured out how to maneuver around in this one. But the sink is way bigger, which is nice. As far as how we make it work for us... you will notice, our drying rack is mounted on the wall under that little cupboard. Genius, if I do say so myself. Probably my best space saver tip. I did that in our last kitchen as well. You can see in this picture, over the little cupboard are some stairs. Yeah, those would belong to the 3 bedroom apt that is right next door to us. They walk up and down those stairs all day long... mocking us. They only have 2 kids. The 'extra' bedroom is a sitting room. A SITTING ROOM!! Imagine that. Makes me a little sick actually. Don't worry that the room upstairs is as big as the entire bottom floor of their apartment. They basically have 2 of our apartments. Oh, and their fridge is IN their kitchen! Ok, sorry, enough about that. Back to our kitchen... which I actually think is pretty cute. Also notice that little red basket on top of the small cupboards. That is filled with things like a can opener, cheese grater, candy thermometer, peeler, sifter, etc. Things that normally go in a drawer, but we only have one, so up they go.
Having the pots and pans hanging on the wall is quite excellent. And I simply love having my spices right there on the wall. Also notice the placement of the garbage can in the first picture. There is not enough room to open the oven with it there, so I have to move it every time I use it. It's pretty awesome. You will also notice in the picture above (you may have to enlarge it to see), my favorite recent purchase is a little glass soap dispenser. $5.99 at the neighborhood housewares store. It makes me happy every time I see it. It's important to have little touches like that, I think.
I finally had to break down and buy this little cupboard because I seriously have no food storage space. I think it looks pretty nice. I do hate having all that crap on top of our little fridge, but we don't really have any other options. I have been able to come to terms with the fridge being in the family room by trying to separate the 'kitchen' stuff (fridge, shelf and table) from the rest of the room. It's all against the wall when you first walk into the room, then once the carpet starts, it's the family room.
Ok, so basically when you cook in a kitchen this size, everything becomes counter space. The stove, the drying rack, the top of the bosch, that little lip between the sink and the edge of the counter. It's all useful. Every little inch. It's all a huge balancing act. You also have to clean as you go. So things take a little bit longer, but it's really the only way to do it, if you want to have any space to put things. The only appliance I have out is my bosch. I use it enough to make it worth taking up the space. Plus, there is really no where else to put it. Besides the bosch, we have a toaster and hand mixer (both kept under the sink), rice cooker and popcorn popper (both of which do get used almost everyday) and a crockpot (crockpot and popcorn popper on the fridge behind the microwave). That's it as far as appliances. The main difference is that we don't have all the casserole dishes, corning ware, pyrex dishes & bowls, big pots, griddles, fancy gadgets and appliances, and no serving platters or bowls. We have a small selection of those kinds of things. The bare minimum. I miss a lot of the frilly stuff, to be honest, but I get along just fine without most of it. It does make it harder to entertain, because I have to serve stuff on ugly plates and in plastic mixing bowls. Blah. I don't even have a cake stand, and I haven't been able to use the Christmas dishes that I got a few years ago. Sad, I know. If we were to move here long term, I would of course get all those things out of storage and bring them out. Who knows where I would put them. Under my bed probably.

The other thing about the really small space, is that things are placed rather precariously in the cupboards. I can't move or grab things too quickly, or else it creates a domino affect, and I get mad. So I have learned to move carefully. It's a little annoying, but you get used to it. Believe it or not, it doesn't bug me so much anymore. I have really been loving living in the city, so you take the few bad things that come with the many wonderful things, and you deal.

So there you go, episode 1 of how the Olsons live in a 500 square foot space. Stay tuned for more! :) Any questions or requests?


And per my sister Hailey's request, my adorable children...

Asher on his first day of preschool

Sayer at the New York City Aquarium in Brooklyn

Barty at the beach on Coney Island

12 comments:

David said...

You've organized your kitchen quite nicely! I need to learn a few tips from you. I've been meaning to take pictures of my apartment and post it on my blog but it's always too messy to do that.

Louise

mj said...

i love this. it's fun to read about it after having seen it in person. ryan is applying to columbia...we'll see how that goes. :)

p.s. love the apron and hot pad! cute, cute.

JM said...

Holy cow, I don't think I truly appreciated how small your kitchen really is until this post. It looks cute, though! You did a good job of organizing everything. :)

Jan Marie

DaNae said...

Your kitchen is adorable! I am envious every time you post about the city. I just want to live there it for a few years and you make it look doable with kids!

Alys said...

Morgan, I feel your pain. I have actually been meaning to post about our living conditions, and you have reminded me I need to do so. We live in a less than 350 square foot 5th wheel. My kitchen is probably about the same size as yours. It is amazing how you learn to live with only the essentials. I am looking forward to my new house and big kitchen. Good job though, making it work. It is nice to know it is only temporary.

Schmath said...

Holy cow. That's amazing. It's making me closterphobic just reading about it. My kitchen feels so luxurious all of a sudden.

whitney said...

ahhh the kitchenette! yes it definitely look like you have less cupboard space. bummer... that's pretty lame that the family next to you with 3 bedrooms only has 2 kids. they should make a rule for the 3 bedroom apartments that you have to have 3 or more kids to get them.

Anne said...

this is amazing! your kitchen is really cute though. we need to have you guys over.

Angie said...

Your kitchen is so cute. You did a great job making it work for you. I thought our kitchen was small now that we live in California, but we do have our fridge in the kitchen so I guess I can't complain.

Heidi said...

Totally unrelated to your kitchen, but I also use that swaddle that you did a little video of. I swear by the swaddle when these babes are tiny but then it gets a little trickier!

BTW, congrats on your little Bart! I don't know if I have said that yet or not.

Bethanne said...

It looks fabulous, although I'd get seriously claustrophobic in NY! We lived in a 400 sq. ft. basement apartment in Orem when we were expecting Leah (and when she was just born) and at the time we just did what we had to do...but now we look back on it and wonder HOW we lived there. Our house now is feeling too small and it is WAY bigger. :)

Hannah said...

Hi, I hope you don't mind but I've been reading through your blog to get a perspective from a mormon mom living in NYC. Hailey Smith (we were in the BYU acting program together) referred your blog to me. My husband is thinking about interviewing with jobs in NYC and I wanted to see what it was like to live there with kids. Thanks for sharing your experiences! I also thought, that after seeing your picture that you were my friend from BYU Whitney. You looked so a like. But her name was different. Then I saw her bday post and realized you are sisters! small world. Anyway, I may check in to your blog from time to time esp as we get closer to the actual idea of moving there. Thanks for sharing!