A "Lived In" kitchen

jillies01July 27, 2013

It seems like most the kitchen on the Finished Kitchen Board are taken before a family has lived in the space for a while. So - once the newness has worn off and you have been living in the space - do you keep the "ordinary" out on the counters ==== such as a fruit basket/stand, toaster, canisters, etc? I don't like the visual clutter of these things - but the reality is I just don't have the space to "hide" my coffee pot and toaster - and if I don't have a fruit stand out my kids automatically reach for the crackers and not fruit!

ETA - Can you post a picture of your lived in kitchen counters?

This post was edited by jillies01 on Sat, Jul 27, 13 at 13:53

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jellytoast

I don't like the visual clutter, either, but I do keep the coffee maker, paper towel holder, and a fruit basket on the counter top. Everything else gets put away.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 1:09PM
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rosie

Well, DH's toaster was supposed to go in the coffee niche by the fridge, which can't be seen when glancing into the kitchen from any doorway. Unfortunately, all the crumbs would have gone there too, so it ended up on the counter in full view of all three doorways. I like to think the nearby stove hood does its attention-focusing job.

For some reason, any piece of junk DH comes across with a magnet on it turns up on the fridge. I "respect" his newest accent for a few days, and then it quietly continues on its journey to the local landfill.

Fruit and veggies? A large light-green bowl of whatever needs ripening IS the central decorative accent on my island. A kitchen version of flowers. That and a cream-and-green ceramic pumpkin that can hold a whole box-ful of kosher salt that never clumps up in our Georgia summer soup.

Recently a large white ceramic pig named Violet and her three children took up residence on our window sills, definitely adding to the "lived in" feeling, joining the old Royal Albert tea bag holder from our daughter and some African violets blooming on a north sill. There are a bunch of cookbooks on their shelves, a cookie jar, but that's about it.

In spite of these incursions over time, most things stay in drawers and behind doors. I'm basically a lazy person, and if I have to move it to clean, it'd better be the refrigerator or it's gone.

I also don't have space for every cooking item I own; but, if it's seldom used it may go on a shelf in the basement, freeing up kitchen space for more important stuff. Such a personal choice, now that I think of it. My preference is obviously for galloping up and down stairs over cleaning grease off a juicer, but others feel very differently. :)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 1:52PM
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taggie

Not a fan of clutter either, but I have never considered fruit to be clutter. I'm happiest when I have two bowls of multicolored fruit on my island, e,g. some bananas and some bright red delicious apples just for starters. When mandarins and pears are on hand the palette get even better. Fruit is a great way to add color to the room -- think of it as natural artwork!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 1:59PM
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Linelle

Paper towels, knife block, toaster, utensil jug, coffee maker, coffee grinder, microwave, food processor, fruit bowl, olive oil, S&P. It's not clutter, it's stuff I use, and I don't care who sees it. Plus it's a kitchen. Anyway, it's how I know it's my kitchen and not someone else's.

Okay, there's also a butter dish and a sugar bowl.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 2:25PM
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jellytoast

My sister's keep their kitchens like linelle's ... lots of often-used things are kept on the counter tops. When I visit their homes, I never think they looked cluttered, and I actually quite like the look. I don't know if it is because they just have more counter space than I do, or if they just have a knack for setting things out so that they look more like decorative items. But in my own small space, things on the counter just seem to look like a bunch of things that need to be put away.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 3:16PM
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Linelle

jellytoast: :)

My kitchen is small, 10x10, but it's got good counter space for its size. Here's the thing, I don't consider these items unsightly and, maybe more importantly, they're not taking up space that could be used for anything else. I know people wring their hands over a MW on the counter. Where mine is, next to the fridge, but sort of outside the work triangle, there's nothing I'd use that space for, other than things that just sit on the counter. My MW gets used a lot, so its occupation of counter real estate seems warranted.

I didn't list what's on my peninsula: phone, radio, cup o' pens, notepad, charging station. It does look somewhat clutter-y and I admit to stashing some of it away when people come over. Or not. Kinda depends on the people. :)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 9:19PM
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pps7

Our list is similar to everyone else's. These items are usually out on the counter:

Mixer
Coffee machine
Knife block
Salt & pepper
Utensil jug
Tea kettle
Roll of paper towels
End grain cutting board
Fruit bowl

I don't think it looks too cluttered:

Toaster oven is in an appliance garage which is open 90% of the time since we use it daily.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 9:34PM
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motherof3sons

Often used items on the counter:

Toaster
Salt/Pepper Mills
Spoon Rest
Knife Block
Cuisinart Blender/Processor
Set of Canisters
Paper Towel Holder
Vase with Curly Willow
Decorative Plate and Lantern
Alligator Cookie Jar - for grandbabies :-)

The island usually has bananas and apples in a large bowl.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 9:58PM
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Linelle

Oh yeah, cutting board and on the stove a kettle and spoon rest.

pps7, I love the look of your kitchen, esp. your open shelves.

Without the stuff I leave out, it would be too stark to be my kitchen. All the stuff I currently have out would have to be housed somewhere else. I keep it all clean. No dirty dishes laying around.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 10:14PM
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jillies01

Thank you - this is making me feel better :) I think my main issue is that all my prep / cleanup / everyday activity takes place in one small countertop area - which is where everything lives! Across from the island is a huge countertop that runs the length of the wall that just collects "stuff" since there is no water or prep going on there. When I put my fruit stand there the family always finds a way to add their special trinkets (legos, hairclips, etc)!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 10:31PM
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fouramblues

Ha ha jillies! You probably wouldn't be amazed at what I find in my fruit bowl, but others might! (Eg: marbles, business cards, hair elastics, etc.)

My kitchen isn't yet finished, but is very well used and loved, and there's plenty of visual clutter:

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 10:49PM
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motherof3sons

PPS kitchen is always a favorite. Fouramblues - gorgeous space! Love the blend of colors. I also forgot my two favorite cutting boards sit out all the time. If they are not out, I rarely use them. It's all about convenience at this stage of my life.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 10:59PM
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eleena

PPS7 and Fouramblues,

Love-love-love your kitchens!!!

Pps7,

Are those floating shelves? I think I am seeing very discreet brackets underneath but I might be wrong.

How are they installed?

Fouramblues,

Are your faucets Grohe Minta or something else?

How do you like them?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 1:19AM
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a2gemini

My kitchen counters look about the same as day one, except I added a vitamix, which is out most of the time. I re-arranged my drawers to hold the accessories and the base unit if I want more space in my baking area.

Other items that live out on the counter - Fruit basket that is a re-use item and just barely fits under the cabinets (I think it came from Crate and Barrel). DH coffee maker and grinder, my Craigslist KA mixer.

The other things that are out on occasion - plastic items from DW - the DW dries everything nicely except the nooks in plastic - so I put them on a towel until they dry.

No matter how hard I try, my DH bicycle water bottles tend to live on the counter. I relegated them to the left of the cooktop and periodically drop them into his cave. (At least he puts his helmet in the cave instead of the counters after the remodel)

He also puts his work coffee mug and water bottle on the counter as well - but only 27 more work days until he retires and then the coffee mug is moving!!!

He doesn't understand a working kitchen - he puts things in the middle of my zones and doesn't understand why it is a problem.....

Maybe when he retires, I can teach him how to cook a few items. His friends bake bread and grill the meats...

I keep my cutting boards in a the small cabinet next to the sink. I have way too many of them but use most of them. I think I want to add to my collection - one that goes over the sink.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 7:09AM
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swfr

Sorry to hijack, but fouramblues, what are those counters? I totally love them!!!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 8:16AM
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fouramblues

Yes, pps's kitchen is also a favorite for me! Thanks for the kind words about my kitchen, motherof3!

eleena, thank you! The faucets are Kohler Purist. I love the way they look, and they function very well.

Thanks, swfr! The island top is Cambria quartz, Buckingham (same as a2's!), and the perimeter is PaperStone, chocolate brown.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the plastic that we, like a2, often have drying on the counter. ;)

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 9:03AM
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allison0704

Our coffeemaker is on the hutch we refer to as the coffee station, so it's out all the time - but the hutch is located in the hallway between kitchen and laundry room, so it's not see from the kitchen or great room. Paper towel jar is on island, always. The pine hutch shows a small lamp, but DH got a knife block, so it was replaced with knives. Toaster and microwave are in the pantry on a large built-in table/counter, so they stay available but hidden/out of the way. Mine is pretty much always as it is on the FKB and AM.

Here is a link that might be useful: More pictures of my kitchen

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 9:56AM
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pps7

Thanks al! After 3 years, I still smile when I look at my kitchen.

Eleena, we installed the shelves with heavy duty L brackets into the studs and dry walled over them. When I first told my GC that I wanted floating shelves, he said it couldn't be done, but then I pushed and we came up with this solution. It's not completely invisible but I'm pretty happy with it.

I also often have a towel down next to the clean up sink with items drying.

Oh and water bottles end up everywhere too. This is what the kitchen looks like after I clean up which is usually after breakfast and dinner.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:05AM
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Linelle

Okay, one more. My not-so-secret shame: a small dishrack. A place for pots to dry and those pesky plastic things. I've just never learned not to use one.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:14AM
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rosie

DH will wash, but he won't dry. If only I'd known decades ago, in the days where he didn't know where I stored the plates, that he had this latent preference for hand washing stuff that really could go in the dishwasher. I could have put it to use somehow much sooner. But in any case, he occasionally spreads a hand towel over the counter and stacks stuff there to dry--and be put away by me.

Kinda forgot that little detail in describing "lived in." For me, fighting creep out of cabinets is fighting additional clean-up. I also like the look of working kitchens, the more the better if you're going to go that way. Pantry storage on display behind glass doors charming, cleaning greasy dust off stuff that could be behind glass? Well, been there, done that. I'll always love this kitchen, though.

This post was edited by rosie on Sun, Jul 28, 13 at 15:12

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:41AM
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zoey75

So many pretty kitchens!!!

a2gemini - Do you mind me asking what are your counters? And if you have any more pics? Thanks!!

This post was edited by zoey75 on Sun, Jul 28, 13 at 12:35

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 12:34PM
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ellendi

One main difference for me is a bit more counter space. I know not popular, but putting the microwave above the range, I gained a place for my Kuerig. Because it took so long to do this kitchen, I really do appreciate it and I try to keep it neat.
DH no longer throws all the mail on the counter. The mail has moved to the kitchen table, but since it is always right in front of him, it doesn't pile up as it did on the counter.
I have a fruit bowl, Magic bullet, small dish drain, Kuerig, and a toaster.
My one decorative item is a set of ceramic canisters.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 12:41PM
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willtv

Our counters look the same as they did when we reno-ed the kitchen.
Here's a shot.

On the counter to the left of the range is;
A calendar
The phone
A knife block
and salt & Pepper shakers.
To the right of the range is;
A cutting board
Pepper grinder
Salt shaker
Oil cruet
Cast Iron dutch oven
Garlic keeper
Coffee maker
Another knife block
And paper towel holder.

In the pantry,

Countertop Microwave
KA Stand mixer
Yet another knife block (do you think I have a problem?)
And a blender.

Everything I need most, all conveniently located.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 2:36PM
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a2gemini

Zoey - both Four's island and my counters are the same - Cambria Buckingham.

Here is a link to our final reveal - Since not my original thread, didn't want to hijack too far....
http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg121427088941.html
I will also bump it to bring it to up to the front for easier viewing.

Four - so funny about your plastic- someday, we will meet :-)

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 5:31PM
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ginny20

Yeah, rosie, I love that kitchen too, but mainly because I love its owner/designer. Save the liver!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 6:16PM
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jillies01

fouramblues - your kitchen is BEAUTIFUL! I can't believe you said it isn't finished! My layout is similar to yours. With your utensils on the counter next to the range do you also have others stashed away somewhere?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 7:24PM
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rosie

LOL, Ginny, and "every woman should have a blow torch." This in the days of those cinched-waist, high-heeled little ladies in appliance ads.

Such wonderful kitchens. The juxtaposition of these beautiful kitchens against Julia's oil cloth powerfully illustrates the evolution. I wonder what her kitchen would look like if she started from scratch today?

Willtv's is an interesting illustration all by itself--not at all large, LOTS of stuff out, and yet somehow it doesn't look like it. A real argument for choosing a counter to blend with the blender and vice versa. Shouldn't be hard to find a black blow torch.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 8:25PM
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bookworm4321

My s/o calls himself "the dishwasher". I cannot imagine what it will be like not having dishes dying on counter. As I contemplate the new SS frige, I wonder what I will do with the 100 frige magnets currently on display. These magnets represent all the states, places, foods, etc., that we experienced. What does one do with their history?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 8:29PM
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fouramblues

Aww, thanks, jillies! I have many things still in boxes awaiting installation (undercab light rail, over range shelf, island cabinet door), but my kitchen is fully functional, if not fully finished. ;)

The utensils I use most (Jonathan's Spoons) are in the crock on the counter, but I have lots in a drawer adjacent to the range, more than are shown in this old pic:

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:09PM
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fouramblues

P.S. bookworm, some SS refrigerators are magnetic, so you don't have to move your history!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:12PM
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justmakeit

Also, bookworm, I had two of my upper cabinet doors lined on the inside with magnetic stainless steel, so I'd still have a place for all those magnets, not to mention all the little pieces of paper pinned under them. Works a treat!

This post was edited by justmakeit on Mon, Jul 29, 13 at 8:56

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 10:21PM
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willtv

Rosie,
Like this?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 9:05AM
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annkh_nd

I'm still waiting for cabinets, but one of the goals of my kitchen remodel was to get crap off the counters. To that end, my new kitchen will have a knife drawer (instead of two knife blocks); no canisters; a charging station inside a cabinet (no more cell phones or rechargeable batteries on the counter). I have even planned a spot in a cabinet for my cookie jar (which hardly ever contains cookies).

The new kitchen will have the following on the counters: a paper towel holder, a little corner microwave, and salt and pepper shakers (usually sit on the stove). Hopefully I can teach DH to put things away!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 10:43AM
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rosie

Just like that, WillTV. Not a surprise for anyone, I'm sure. :)

Good luck on that last, Annkh. I absolutely could never have guessed our first truly great kitchen would inspire DH to hand wash. Life is strange.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 12:16PM
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RoRo67

My brother, the cook of his house, has a very small kitchen, U-shaped 8 x 10. My sister-in-law who does NOT cook, has decorated it. It looks pretty in a very cluttered way, but what little available work space is covered with trinkets that have nothing to do with cooking! Then there is the usual coffee pot, knife holder, bowl for breads, cutting board that belongs in a kitchen three times as big. It won't even fit in the left side of the sink to dry off! Anyhow, my point is that kitchens are lived in. The tools of the trade can make a pretty statement especially when paired with real fruits and veggies for color. Then make sure your works spaces are not crowded which will in turn make the kitchen lived in and functional.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 12:33PM
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Linelle

RoRo, I totally agree about the trinkets, which often look more like staging than real life. A cookbook open on a stand, little paintings/pictures, etc. I do have trinkets in my kitchen, but they are off the counters, either on the wall or (horrors!) sitting on top of my stove riser (not where it vents).

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 12:55PM
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ginny20

re: black blowtorches
I want one of those!

Permanent functional stuff on my counters: coffee maker, toaster oven, MW, Bose CD/radio,knife block, two salt cellars,pepper grinder, mezzaluna cutting board, fruit bowl, wine coaster - for current open bottle. There's pretty much always an open bottle.

Temporary functional stuff: dog antibiotics, so we don't forget to give them; goalie gloves, so we don't forget to bring them to tonight's game; water bottle, drying out since the last game

Decorative stuff: small vase of fresh flowers or live plant such as amaryllis in season; bronze sculpture of a squirrel; large antique wooden bowl used for Caesar salads and too big to put away anywhere. Also 5 African violets on a window sill.

Sounds like a lot, but it's about half of what we used to have out, so it looks relatively uncluttered to me. No more dish drainer, cutting board is now built in, paper towels in cubby, bread in bread drawer, important papers on cork board inside upper cab, dish soap under sink, sponge in tip out, keys and reading glasses in assigned places in drawers. So nice to put things away so I can see my pretty counters.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 1:01PM
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eleena

fouramblues and pps7,

Thanks for the replies!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 3:31PM
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granjan

THIS is a lived in kitchen! Sorry, couldn't resist this pic of my nieces and I doing our annual Thanksgiving pie bake off. We started this when they were 3 and 5 and they can now do almost the whole process alone. I USE my kitchen and yes we have appliances, hand washed dishes drying in a rack and pretty things sitting around, including Belgian beer glasses on the window sills!

Unfortunately I just sold the house and have to remodel a kitchen in the condo with only half that space.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 9:33PM
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granjan

THIS is a lived in kitchen! Sorry, couldn't resist this pic of my nieces and I doing our annual Thanksgiving pie bake off. We started this when they were 3 and 5 and they can now do almost the whole process alone. I USE my kitchen and yes we have appliances, hand washed dishes drying in a rack and pretty things sitting around, including Belgian beer glasses on the window sills!

Unfortunately I just sold the house and have to remodel a kitchen in the condo with only half that space.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 9:34PM
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