Sophisticated Utility - Exploring purposeful living with appreciation and intention.

Kitchen Refresh - Organizing, Demo, and Primer-Primer-Primer!!


With the Kitchen Refresh fully underway, two of my main goals are the elimination of clutter and clear clean countertops.  As mentioned in my previous post, Mike and I combined households about 5 years ago and as middle-aged adults, we both had years of kitchen accumulation.

The first step was to completely empty each cupboard, drawer, and counter area.  Scrub them clean, top to bottom.  Items were then sorted, duplicates removed, and only those we needed (and USED) were kept.  Once the inventory was fully accounted for and deemed keep worthy, the process of finding a proper home for each collection began.

I wanted to restock the kitchen into "zones".  My zones would contain all things baking and his zones, all things cooking.  Knowing the cupboards and areas in the kitchen that he and I visit regularly for our respective kitchen tasks, I discovered more cabinet and drawer space than I thought existed with this reorganizing process!

His spice cupboard in a previous life was a mass quantity of various sized jars and little containers.  We originally put these containers on two small lazy susan holders and this did not end up working very well.  Spices were lost in the back, tipped over in the middle, and just a headache.

It was during the cupboard cleaning that I found these metal adjustable risers built for this specific purpose.  I removed the lazy susans, sorted and purged the spices, and adjusted the risers for the full width of the cupboard.

Much much much BETTER!.....

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All of the spices are in plain sight, easy to grab, and have a nice organized home!

I plan to do something similar the cabinet next to this one for all of my baking supplies and will show you how that comes together in future post.

The next issue of countertop real estate hogging came from two knife blocks.  Both had sat side by side on the counter and it was really crazy how much room they both took up.  The solution was found on a recent trip to Target.....knife block for the drawers!!

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This is the main collection of knives that we both use most often, they are now easily accessible, and I love that they are hidden away.  Having the extra drawer space is being efficiently utilized!

Next up was the large white wicker basket on top of the fridge that held the massive volume of ziploc containers and lids.  Visit Here for the details on the start of this project and to see where we began and the infamous white fridge basket......

At first, this idea worked OK but then it became an eyesore as the quantity increased.  Lids fell to the bottom, the random "lidless" containers added to the mess, and it was becoming ridiculous.....

With my newly found empty base cabinet areas, I choose to sort these by size (with their respective lid) and placed them in white baskets that fit nicely in the pizza oven cabinet.  The baskets are a great size for this purpose and easily slide out to grab what we need.  They are also a terrific way to prevent him (ahem) from accumulating an over abundance of these containers.  If they don't fit, they are not allowed in....if they do not have a lid....they are not allowed in.


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This is just a sampling of the many organizing ideas that happened in this kitchen and as move are discovered and developed, I will be sure to share them!


I used the term "demo" loosely as there were only two areas that required a little muscle and creative thinking.  You may recall this end area of the kitchen and how that hutch cupboard and thick heavy spindle became the bane of my existence?  Here is a before shot in case you forgot.....

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The first order of business was to remove the hutch top.  This is relatively easy as it was just screwed on to the base cabinet.  Once it was taken down, the room already felt more open.  This shot was taken just a few minutes after it was removed (before the drawer knife blocks) and with the microwave was moved into the space to keep it out of the way.

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You might also notice that the spindle is gone!!  Halla-freakin-yullah!  I sawed it in half with a bow saw as I do not like power tools, gave each separated chunk a whack with the sledge hammer to loosen, and rocked them back forth until they came free.  Since the spindle was not supporting anything, it came out very easily and made a HUGE difference!

This area is where I intend to take a majority of my culinary and baking pictures.  The huge window to the right of this space allows a very unusual light that I am anxious to play with.  The base cabinet that held the hutch top will be my main photoshoot surface and I am quite excited to have this new set up in the kitchen as I bake!


I am not going to go into a ton of detail about the primer process suffice to say that the thirsty dark wood trim and soffits took three coats.  While I was at it, I gave the walls three coats.  The walls were a very unusual paneling that had a "feather duster" blue and mauve painted technique.  Below is a sampling of the primer result...

I love how the beams, trim, and soffit look so much more significant and important in this room now that the dark is gone.  It is hard to see in these images but the overall brightness gives the oak cabinets a new look and feel. 

From the start of this project, I knew WHITE was going to be the paint theme.  I wanted this room to feel brighter and more open not only for our cooking/baking needs and ease of cleaning, but also for kitchen photography. 

As I prepare to paint, I am going out on a limb and am choosing Benjamin Moore paint.  Having always been a Dutch Boy brand girl, I am excited to try something fresh and new.  At this time, I am leaning towards Benjamin Moore Super White in a pearl finish.....I will share more on that soon!

On a final note for this update, Mike and I took the plunge and ordered a new range and hood vent.  Below is the corner where the current almond colored model and hood vent are being removed, a weird trim piece was removed and patched, and the whole area ready for primer.  The last two pictures in this group give you an idea of the 80's blue and mauve paneling paint technique BEFORE being assaulted with my primer mission.  And all of this to prep the area for the new appliance arrivals and install!  

For the new range, we choose the larger oven capacity and five burner smooth top with both Bake and Convection options, the finish is black and stainless with an industrial feel, and combined with a stainless fully sealed hood vent this corner will be wonderful!

As you can see this project is moving along slowly but surely and the results will be worth the time and elbow grease.

Next Up.....Installing the new range and hood vent along with my decision on paint and a few sneak peeks of the final outcome.

Thank you for following along and see you soon!