We live in a rental in North West Sydney and we’ve been in this house for 6 years now. We bumped around from house to house for awhile, the renters market was terrible so we took what we could get. I was recovering from my laproscopic surgery for Endometriosis when we received a letter saying that the bank had claimed the owners house and we had 14 days to get out.
From the letterbox I saw an estate agent hammering a “For Lease” sign into the ground just down the street. I walked in, saw that it was cheap, liveable, in an area we liked, had a big fence for the dogs and signed the paperwork. Everything else could wait until we got ourselves sorted enough to move on elsewhere… we’ve never left.
One of the things I despise most about this little house is that it has no front door. To enter the house you have to go through big gates then come up the side of the building and come through the laundry and kitchen.
The laundry and kitchen.
For those that witnessed my “before” photo on instagram you can understand my hatred. It confuses the couriers let alone my guests. My laundry doesn’t usually look like this either. When I sent a photo to my Mum she asked who’s house I was in. Usually it’s piled up with shoes, with goods to donate, things that need to be washed and other random bits like tools and light bulbs.
After seeing my efforts in the kitchen Steve took the time to gut it and sort it all out, then I was able to come in swiftly and clean it. He earned his brownie points that’s for sure! Walking into the house is so much nicer and getting rid of so many things we no longer needed to hang on to freed up so much space. I know you’re sitting at home going “derr”, trust me I was kicking myself for taking so long to do it.
When you walk through the laundry into the kitchen you’re greeted with bins, seriously walking into my house is fit for a queen. Ugh, I hate it. If you walked through the “true” front door (which opens into the backyard *headdesk*) you wouldn’t see any of this but that’s the unique beauty of this house. I bought two large stainless steel bins from Bunnings to sort trash and recycling. Whilst they take up a bit more room than the last bin it’s made life in the kitchen so much better.
The giant cork board from Aldi (currently in store again) has been a key organisational tool for Aidan’s artwork. He brings so much home from Preschool so instead of going on the fridge it goes on the board then I pull it all down at the end of each month and put the key pieces in his scrapbook and toss the rest. I know, I’m a hard bitch but I just can’t keep it all. For the construction pieces that don’t fit in the book I take a photo of them and paste them in, less bulk and glitter that way.
This is what you see when you first look around. It’s a simple kitchen, our house is really the size of an apartment on a large block but we deal. I can’t make any real changes to it at all. All I can do is reevaluate how I use the space, add fresh accessories and be vigilant with my cleaning routine. I hate the off cream colour which is also the same colour as all the walls of this house inside and out. The owners bought it in bulk obviously. The laminate floors need replacing, in fact all the floors need replacing. The laminate counter is ugly. The tiles are left over from the bathroom and the window doesn’t open. Ugh.
It’s not a terrible kitchen, I’m being too harsh as I’ve lived with some shockers before but living in a space for over 6 years with things that irk you and you have no power to change things, well it’s frustrating. Steve and I kept thinking we’d move for years, not just out of this house but interstate so I never really truly invested in really making this place our home.
That thinking has now changed. With the rent in our area currently a third more than what we’re paying now we’re staying put. We’re saving up for a house deposit so to waste it on something prettier or with more space than we really need for a family of three just seems counter productive. I’m slowly but ever so surely growing up making the most of what I have and changing what I can.
I have a love hate relationship with cooking. I love to do it I just don’t love to when I have to, you know what I mean. I like simple fresh meals that take no longer than 15 minutes to prep and I like to think I’m pretty good at it. I’ve been asked by many people why I don’t share my food ideas or recipes on my blog and the simple fact is I don’t like my expensive camera in the kitchen. I’m messy, I get sticky fingers and I like my kitchen to be an area for that and it’s also a place for me to disconnect. There is nothing more grounding than cooking.
Believe it or not but my kitchen is usually pretty dark, I took these pics at midday on a sunny day and let a little more light on the image. To combat this I try to only have light and reflective appliances on the counter. I always have the blind open and I try to keep the benches and sink clear. There are downlights for the evening but they cast ugly shadows and blow out the colour tone. I’m fussy.
I threw out the old bulky 4-slice stainless steel toaster that was close to 10 years old and bought a lovely white one from Aldi over the weekend for $20. It’s smaller, metal, cheap and pretty darn cute. You wouldn’t think a new toaster would make a difference but it does. I added splashes of colour with large vintage coloured glass jars that I thrifted a few years ago, a faux plant from ikea and everyday use accessories.
It wasn’t until I reorganised all my kitchen stuff that I realised how many lime green kitchen things I had. Chopping boards, tupperware etc, a lot of it was a colour that was never at the top of my list of favourites. I found that weird as I’m not a green type of girl but I liked it so I bought some new lime tea towels from Target (2 for $7) and suddenly BOOM it all worked.
I also bought new hot pink dish brushes for $1.50 each from Aldi over the weekend. I really wanted to reflect the brightness and colour of the living/dining room. My pretty glassware is kept at the top of the cabinet which isn’t ideal as they’re a pain to clean but they’re safe, out of the way, accessible when I need them and I can still gaze at them. Speaking of grime I scrubbed all the cabinets and surfaces in the kitchen, inside and out so much so they shone. My arms were killer.
In the last year I’ve been using supplements. I took them daily when I was trying to fall pregnant but after Aidan every time I looked at them they reminded me of a hard place in my life so I avoided them. I had a full body check last year and got the all clear except for having low vitamin D levels. So I started taking my “sunshine pill” everyday and slowly I started to add more back into my diet.
I now take Swisse Ultivite for women, Swisse Hair, Skin + Nails (which is amazing!), Inner Health Plus Probiotic and once my current Vitamin D is done I’ll be switching to Swisse Calcium + Vitamin D. I never really had a preferred brand of vitamins until I tried Swisse HS+N when it went on sale and saw almost immediate results, consider me converted. I stocked up over Christmas/New Year as they had big sales on so I should be set for the next 6-12 months.
Steve and Aidan take vitamins and supplements too so I utilised the small shelves in the kitchen to sort them all out. It made sense to keep them within sight not only to remind myself to take them but to see when we’re running low. They don’t get direct sunlight so it’s the perfect spot.
This might look like an ordinary cupboard but it’s an emotional minefield. This is where all Aidan’s baby things were. His baby bowls, his baby bottles, basically anything kitchen related pertaining to babies was shoved into the dark deep recesses of this cupboard. I wasn’t ready until now. It’s been a tough week and emotionally, I’ve been on a bit of a wire. I had stuff to work through. This kitchen revamp is much more than it seems. It’s a cleansing process in more ways than one.
Along with all the plastic baby stuff that’s been turfed I’ve also been rather brutal with our appliances. We were gifted an All in One last year and it’s done the job of at least four machines, highly recommend. It all sits neatly in a little console and I can easily pull it out from the cabinet below and pop it back when I’m done. All the novelty appliances that were never really used are gone too.
One area that hasn’t changed much is the coffee prep area. We used to have a large coffee machine with all the bells and whistles but it took up all the counter space. We were gifted a Nespresso machine last year and it blew our minds and changed the way we drank coffee and used our kitchen. I love my little U, it’s compact, easy to use and makes the only coffee I’ve ever liked. If anything ever happened to it I’d buy another in a heartbeat.
I bought the pod storage from Kmart just before Christmas for $15. I like that it’s tall and slim and I can separate Steve’s heavy robust coffees from my sweet and light ones. We also have decaf on hand for guests. Also couldn’t live without our “fluffy milk maker” as Aidan calls it.
One of the ways I cut back the counter clutter was to get rid of the food. You know, the potatoes and onions in the cupboard (out of sight and out of mind) the tomatoes and fruit in multiple bowls on the counter. I bought a steel trolley from Ikea to house it all and the best part, it’s not in the kitchen.
When I’m prepping for a big meal or unloading from the car I can just wheel it in. I can also tell with a quick glance what we actually need to replace and Aidan can grab bananas and apples when he likes. It also looks damn pretty.
My pantry is slim and relatively organised, there are deep draws for baking pans and crockery and a big cupboard above the fridge for tupperware. My fridge is simple, spacious and does the job. Above the cabinets I store bulky yet regularly used items and that lime green esky is still one of my favourite purchases, I use it so much.
It’s at this point right here that I realise I can’t talk about this anymore. I’m done. This is my little kitchen which finally functions as it should thanks to my emotionally fuelled clean up. I’m literally cleaning out my closets like Eminem and working through some stuff. Changes needed to be made in my life but they don’t come easy. Thanks for coming along for the ride you big stickybeak!