Towards a New Kitchen

The other day when Alex and I got home – he from the gym, I from work – we discovered a mysteriously large box waiting for us outside the front door. Could it be? Our first official wedding gift, from the registry, delivered to our house?

We lugged it inside, stared at it for about 20 seconds, and then decided to open it. I mean…it just wouldn’t do to have a huge cardboard box sitting around taking up space in our modest house, would it? Surely I could use my savvy organizing skills to find some place to store it less obtrusively.

And so, with bated breath, we I ripped off the tape and tried not to knock ourselves over as we maneuvered around the box to open it. (Alex knows that unwrapping presents and mail is a special delight of mine, and he graciously let me direct this show).

Fade in: angelic choral music

We are now the proud owners of a set of All-Clad copper core cookware. I am in love. Again. Not that Alex admitted his jealousy or anything, but I did display each piece on the counter like this for a full 24 hours and stole loving glances at them every chance I got. (I refrained from hugging them though. Maybe you’re surprised, given my silly tryst with other kitchen items?)

Have you ever used All-Clad? It’s fantastic. Heats quickly and evenly, responds to heat quickly, cooks beautifully (I’m serious – I can tell the difference), goes from stove to oven without blinking (or melting). (Read more advantageous characteristics here). Do you need All-Clad to be a successful cook? Definitely not. Will I enjoy this set for my lifetime? Definitely so.

Now look, the purpose of this post is not to gloat over our newest kitchen acquisition. Indeed, we are supremely grateful to the senders of this gift, and further delighted at the reason behind the gift–namely, our forthcoming marriage. But I had definitely been holding out on buying any new cookware, purely in anticipation of this set. (There was a fair amount of finger-crossing, to be sure). My old stuff was in relatively good shape. I mean, it functioned. But there’s a difference between being well-equipped versus “creatively” using a too-small lid to simmer the foods in an awkwardly sized non-stick-ish skillet. Not that I’m a complainer – I’m really not – but boiling 3 medium-small potatoes in a huge soup pot or attempting to smoosh strands of half stiff, half rehydrated spaghetti in a small stockpot gets old after a while.

And just in case you were wondering, I’ve definitely hung onto a lot of my old stuff – they’ll be useful for things like making jam or other things where the quality of the pan won’t come into play. And of course my cast iron is still an essential piece of cookware – I won’t be getting rid of that anytime soon ever.

So okay, what is the point of this post, then?

Maybe it was the reflection of my entire kitchen in these shiny new pots and pans, but suddenly something inside me clicked: the kitchen has got to change. It somehow seemed woefully cluttered, old-fashioned, clunky, heavy, and decidedly in need of an update.

Which is a sort of bittersweet feeling, actually, because the red kitchen was one of the first things we fell in love with about this house when we bought it. Now, one year later, we’re ready to say goodbye.

(And, you know, not just so we can make our new classy cookware feel like they belong here. We legit wanna do this.)

So we’ve got quite a few changes in store. Things will be a bit busy around here while we work on the overhaul, but I will check in to show you our progress. In the meantime, take another look at the soon-to-be-formerly-red kitchen, won’t you? (And check out the kitchen tour for a more detailed view).

And just so you get an idea of where we’re headed, here’s our tentative project list:
– remove hanging cabinets to the left of the sink and replace with open shelving
– paint remaining cabinets and replace hardware
– paint walls
– obtain chairs for island (finally)
– apply pinboard/beadboard paneling to the island
– replace pendant light in dining area with flexible track lighting (i.e., something that Alex won’t bump his head on when he stands up to get seconds)
– decide what to do with wall color/design in dining area
– inevitably gather or create some artistic decor to make the space feel homier
(You can check out my Pinterest board here to see some of my inspiration photos).

And look, don’t worry, I’m not shifting the focus of my blog to home improvement (indeed, I’ll leave that to the home improvement wizards my idols at Young House Love). We’re still all about the yum here, one hundred percent. I just like to think of this project as making the kitchen yummier. So. Good things to come. Stay tuned.

What about you? Have you undertaken any major kitchen renos? What inspired it? Or maybe you operate on a smaller scale, updating your space by swapping out the art or the plates or the cookware you have on display? What color do you think we’re gonna switch to? Do tell.


6 thoughts on “Towards a New Kitchen

  1. We painted our cabinets following YHL’s instructions and they turned out great… except we forgot to fill in the old cabinet hinge holes and now I have to go back and fill them. We also just built our own kitchen island and did bead board around the whole perimeter and it looks really classy. It was more work than I was thinking (though still not a huge amount of work total). I didn’t think we’d have to paint it since it came white, but it’s just primed white and still has little scuff marks, and then doing quarter round at the bottom, buying special corner pieces for the corners of the island, filling in the nail holes, and trying to cut the bead board sheets correctly… wound up buying a big table saw for that since no one we knew had one we could borrow. BUT it looks awesome. I have a few pictures during the process (none of it finished) in my FB album home improvements.

    • Jessalyn says:

      Thanks for the advice, danielle! I have already perused your Facebook album and love all that you did. You are so talented and your house transformation is awesome! I may have some questions for you as we get started 🙂

  2. Harris says:

    oooo. So fancy!
    1) I love the Delicious Magazine layout. As an avid RSS reader, I only discovered this recently.
    2) What is/was the first thing you will make/made with them?
    3) I predict crisp blue.

    • Jessalyn says:

      Thanks for the feedback Harris! The first meals I made included marinara sauce for spaghetti and meatballs and a sausage-mushroom-pecan stuffed chicken breast. It was quite enjoyable!

  3. Christina says:

    So exciting! We moved in and overhauled our kitchen – new cabinet doors and hardware, countertops, crown molding, lighting, floors, knocked down a wall and added a breakfast bar. I promise it is really possible to do it on a budget, too! I think the kitchen is the most important place to update (especially if you spend a lot of time in there). I love the open shelving idea!

  4. […] plan out the entire week’s menu so I won’t get caught in these types of situations. But a mini kitchen remodel tends to throw you off track. Yes, yes, I promise a progress photo at the end of this […]

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