Adventures in Fitting a Big Family into a Small Kitchen

FeaturedAdventures in Fitting a Big Family into a Small Kitchen

I really love our modest abode. It serves us well. So I am willing to forgive that our eat-in kitchen lacks the necessary space to accomodate all 7 of us, let alone meal guests (which I like to have).

It looked nice and crisp in the listing photo when we were considering buying the house so I felt it was a good functional kitchen. And I loved that the original shiplap wasnt covered in paper and panelling like much of the rest of the house. It also had a cute country cottage thing going so I didnt expect to feel a need to make many changes

People; fitting the necessary food and dishes a family of seven requires into this kitchen is impossible. I’m still working out the kinks. That french door leads to a porch that drops to -40°c in the winter otherwise itd be a great pantry. 

Here’s a photo on the second day of moving in; trying to determine how it would all work out

After a while I had made some changes and found the cutest retro stove in beautiful condition which I loved. I named her Magda. I was quite content with this for a while

Magda gave me two good years before she finally burned out and I had to replace her. 
Then we got a fancy new steel stove! I had to redecorate EVERYTHING! Lol. I really did; it just stood out too much. So I started thinking ‘industrial’

I dug up an old panel of roof tin to use as a backsplash 

Got some new lights,

 And tried out a few storage ‘solutions’ on the far side under the window

It all worked out pretty good for me but everytime the kitchen was even slightly messy, all the clutter just made it look chaotic. Too many things in sight all around. 

So I got woodworkin! And made an island outta some scrap banister rails and panelling from the stash. The top is made from wood that used to frame out the opening to the kitchen that I distressed and stained

I also built the cool “vent” above the stove while I was at it using the same wood as I used for the island top

And the little side-shelf for cans and such. I still want to fab up a cute curtain for it too. See the neat vintage ceiling tin I scored from a friend for the new backsplash? Crazy cute.

And while I was on the whole woodworking kick I also put together a plate rack for the open shelving cupboards. This is a project I bought new for: $12 in dowels. The rest is wood pieces from the stash

Still havent had the right idea for the space above the sink fixture. And I havent put the mismatch knobs back on yet either because I cant decide whether I want to do that or replace them.

I was happy with how these chairs turned out after I recovered them in old sheets with vinyl to protect from spills! I love them

I’ve simplified the other side of the kitchen until I can come up with a way to give it balance without making it busy. With the island now in place this wall leaves no space for floor pieces.

We can actually sit all 7 of us AT the table! Even the baby! And we have two vintage tv trays tucked behind the tv stand in the adjoining living room to accomodate guests during meals. 

Many changes made! I’m happy with the evolution of this space so far

The Ever-Evolving Kitchen

The Ever-Evolving Kitchen

One day the entire kitchen is getting a proper renovation. Until that time comes I am constantly reconfiguring it trying to keep it functional for a family of seven. 

I built a new island to replace the last one. This one is sturdier and offers more storage space. I reused the top from the old one.

As it was before:

Cute, but wobbly and limited for storage. 

I took off the legs and used two of them to beef up my standard chalkboard. A fence board across the top and bottom and some paint and voila! (try that recipe btw-it’s DELISH):

I fabbed up a new island using some scrap pieces from the stash and put the old top on the new island:

Here she is in the kitchen!

My new bakin’ station is looking pretty nice! Thanks for looking Xx

Advertisements

DIY Playhouse 

DIY Playhouse 

It all started with a wooden kitchen set being listed for free on the local classifieds. I expressed to my neighbor how I wanted to build a playhouse for the kids and she mentioned that as part of the process of preparing her house to sell she would be getting rid of the structure in her backyard. 

That was enough of a catalyst for me to begin putting together a plan and before long we had built a pretty awesome little minihouse that the kids now enjoy for sleepovers and mud-pie-making. 

Here’s what we started with:

This is us moving it up the road from our neighbors house on pvc pipes. Proud small-town moment:

All positioned in the backyard: 

I had to temporarily brace the upper half while I removed the supports and constructed a back wall. I extended the bottom floor out to add a ‘kitchen addition’:

You can see the opening to the top floor where I removed the existing staircase. I wanted to incorporate a small spiral staircase to create more space inside and I took cues from a tiny-home photo found on Pinterest (not my photo):

My rendition in-progress:

Bear in mind this entire project was constructed using salvaged materials; the staircase was once a large cabinet that was tossed from a local school.

Daughter testing out the stairs:

Some walls going up:

Fitting in the cupboards and appliances:

A friend gave me safety glass which I installed as a kitchen window:

Some paint and wallpaper:

I ended up utilizing some dead space between one of the stair-risers as I had a random wooden drawer that fit perfectly into the space so it was an easy upgrade! I Just screwed a new face onto the drawer so it tucked snugly into place:

I had originally sealed the floor with poly but decided to also paint it to make it look more finished. I also added a small ‘kitchen table’ (coffee table) and built a tiny bench with additional storage:

The upstairs before wasn’t a very welcoming place:

I boarded up all the walls to make it less spider-friendly and used up a sheet of scrap greenhouse material to let a bit of light in:

Next was construction of the deck. I repurposed the original staircase and got slides and wood from an old playset:

It just so happened that an old door front from a built-in tear-down fit perfectly on the playhouse so that went up too:

Added a front porch and a little faux-portico:

Built a small entry to the top floor and painted the exterior:

I used chalkboard paint for the faux-windows so the kids can draw on them. 

Here’s the end result! 

All in all I managed to do most of the work for free. The only things I paid for were the treated deck framing wood and the screws!

The kids get lots of use out of it making mudpies and hosting sleepovers. 

Thanks for looking!! Xx

Apothecary

Apothecary

I’ve been storing my random dried herbs and tinctures etc in various paper bags around the house because I didn’t have a proper place for them all. 

When I saw these boxes at the local Dollarama for 3 bucks each I had a light bulb moment! 

But it took 6 months of annoying the employees by phone and in person about their stock before I had enough of them to start the project (which incidentally gave me just enough time to receive chinese-order card cabinet pulls)

Theres a really awesome tutorial (and project) at debisdesigndiary.com on how to achieve a chippy weathered boat paint finish so I took some hints from her hilarious how-to and made up some chunky paint to ‘paint’ my boxes. I used playing cards to spread the paint. It took a few boxes to get the hang of the effect but I love how letting the paint thicken creates this awesome old finish effect where the paint edges are thick and defined like they were chipped off. You just can’t achieve that effect with normal quality paint. She says to use acrylic but I only had latex acrylic on hand and it did the job well-enough.
My strategy involved globbing the paint randomly on the surface and then dragging the face of the card across at just the right pressure to ALMOST but NOT COMPLETELY spread the paint.

Originally I really wanted a mashup of all kinds of layers of chippy color showing through but in the end I decided to go with a really muted green. I was SO tempted to Paint it White lol!

Another layer of even lighter green and then some scraping and sanding, followed by gluing all the boxes together and finally adding the hardware and:

Done!

It’s just resting on a shelf for now because I literally JUST finished it and havent decided where to put it yet. 

Looks old right? 

The cost of the boxes was about 40 bucks and the hardware totalled around 20 so it did end up being a costly project when you factor in time spent on it. 

But I am so excited to be able to actually properly keep my dried citrus peels, mints, echinacea heads, rose hips, oils, salves, waxes and butters, tinctures and whatever other garden treasures need saving!! All I need now is labels 🤗

 Happy New Year ♡ -Destiny

Frugal Tree Flocking with Dollarstore Supplies

Frugal Tree Flocking with Dollarstore Supplies

My mom in law told me that flocking your Christmas Tree is something they did back in the 80s but evidently it’s back in style again! Shopping around town I saw price tags as high as $300 for a flocked tree and that’s way out of the price range for a lady who already has a perfectly good fake tree at home.

I started drybrushing white paint on my old tree branches at home which looked ok but didn’t give it much texture or dimension.

BUT while in the craft section at my local Dollarama, I came across a bag of ‘paper mache fibre’ for 3 bucks. It looked well-enough like snow so I set out to do some flocking with it!

I watered down elmers glue and applied it everywhere I wanted the flocking to stick and then just sprinkled the mache fibre on top. 

Yes, it was a messy process!

Here’s some progress pics as I added finished branches to the tree:

You can see that it did flake and leave a mess as I put the branches back on the tree. The mache fibre came smelling kinda gluey so I assumed that wetting it would harden it. So I spritzed the finished tree with water. It worked! It set the remaining flocking perfectly and reduced the actual snowing-down of remaining fibre. 

Not bad for $3 and some glue and paint I already had on hand! 

Here it is all set up after the kids and I put all of our decorations up and topped it with the star I made out of old chair spindles and my granny’s crocheted tablecloth as the tree skirt

And a letter A for the Ashdown Family ♡

Merry Christmas Xx