I am constantly in the kitchen. It is my domain. My personal space in some way. So when we moved into our new home, I completely embraced how much bigger our kitchen was! Besides newer appliances, more counter space, I actually had plenty of cabinet space, too…if that’s even possible. And because I’ve moved so many times in my life, I’ve become quite creative with very little space and making it more functional.
Our last place was…well…small. Anyone living in the Washington D.C. area understands my sentiments. You have to measure the box of cereal you’re buying (I wish I was kidding), in order to make sure it fits into your kitchen cabinet (pantry’s are unforeseen).
But here’s the deal, all my apartments (since college) always had kitchen cabinets reach the ceiling. I never had to deal with the empty space above. I don’t see a point to the empty space…why even have it?
Our new kitchen has this empty space and I couldn’t stand it. Immediately I looked on Pinterest for ideas aaaaannndddd came up short. I saw the typical plates (of various colors), fake plants (really?), and this odd collection of pitchers (hellooo….dust) over cabinets.
Thanks but no thanks Pinterest. Soooo I started thinking of inexpensive ways to decorate up there that didn’t require much dusting. Yes, this my thought process…bare with me for a moment.
What if I placed black and white pictures of family memories that somehow involved food? This idea came to me when I was going through some old photographs of my grandparents in Cuba. I realized I wanted to have inspiration around me while I cooked so I set out to find the ones that jumped out at me.
First, I found inexpensive frames at Target ($6), these were 11 x 14 with the option to have an 8 x 10 photo. It worked perfectly with my countertop already being black.
Then, I went rummaging through my computer to find some great foodie memories and made them into black and white. I wanted all the pictures to be of neutral color so none would stand out more than the other.
Here are the ones I chose:
This was a snapshot from our wedding, eating our wedding cake. The focus is on my handsome husband and the sheer happiness on his face is what caught my attention. The food in our wedding was so important to us…this was a no brainer.
Isabella’s first time eating spaghetti…her expression is priceless. Those cheeks…she was only 8 months old here.
This is a really cool photograph to me. First, it’s a picture of my father’s family. Probably the only one I have of all of them. He’s one of the identical twins (guess which one). Second, look at the menu…and lastly, check out those prices! What?!
Danny and I have so many memories of our dating years and this one makes me laugh every time. We went to Epcot, in Disney World, with my cousin Melissa and her then boyfriend (but now husband) Nick for St. Patricks Day. This was in China and we were being silly…which shouldn’t be surprising to those that know us. HA!
It was a hot summer day and I made strawberry coconut popsicles on a whim, hoping to get Isabella to eat some dairy. It was the first time she held the popsicle without my help, but it was her eyes in this picture that makes my heart melt each time.
This is me! It’s probably the only picture I have of me as a young child with food all over my face. I don’t think I was eating puré (say that in Spanish)…you wouldn’t see me smiling if it was. I think I was a little over 2.
This is my beloved Ito (my mother’s father). I think he was in his very early 20’s. I always thought my brother has his eyes…which are also my moms. To me, my brother is a split image of both of our grandfathers. Ito worked in bodegas (little grocery stores kinda like 7-11) in Cuba and besides how young he looks, it’s the cash register that caught my attention. Now that’s a serious piece of history.
Last but not least, my fuzzy haired little one trying to casually sneak Autumn some food. Her expression says it all and our dog doesn’t miss a beat. She was 10 months old. This hasn’t changed a bit.
The photographs can be switched whenever or in the future so it gives me more flexibility without spending more money.
This is how our kitchen looked before my brave hubby climbed the countertops to hang the frames. Actually, this is how our kitchen looked before we did ANYTHING to it.
Now remember, we rent so whatever we do is technically temporary, much like these picture frames. But I didn’t want to stop there, much to my husbands joy (HA!)…
This is how it looked when we first placed the frames up top, but I wasn’t completely convinced.
I spend about 60% (if not more) of my time in the kitchen and I wanted it to feel more cozy but practical since we are only renting.
Despite having more counter space than our Arlington apartment, this kitchen still felt cluttered to me. I decided to place my knives in the drawer using this. It’s actually better for cleaning, too. The block I had was so incredibly dusty on top, it was kinda gross. Lastly, this bread box is one of my favorite purchases because we’ve gotten so much use out of it and it looks great on the counter! It holds a TON and we use it for tortillas, raisin bread, bagels, sandwich bread, etc.
As for the cookbooks, well if you follow my Instagram, you’ll see the occasional small projects I have my husband do and this was one of them! It’s actually opposite the pantry door on the small wall corner space under the kitchen counter.
If you recall the Magnetic Chalkboard post we made for our daughters, it’s on the front side of the counter space. Waste not, people!
Our Date Night Jar always has a place on the counter, usually next to the coffee since it’s the first thing we do in the morning. If you don’t see the paper towels, it’s because it’s on the side of the fridge held by a magnetic holder, thanks to the container store!
I read that bead board can be temporary if you cut the sizes according to your “backsplash” area, (and use small nails to reinforce, not glue) soooo guess what we did? For $20, we were able to cover the ugly wall beneath the cabinet, place a trim and used leftover paint from our bedroom to paint above the cabinets.
And it can all be reversed before we move out!
Voilá! A new temporary kitchen that fits our style more.
Aaaand not that expensive either 🙂
Have any questions or need some advice? Comment below and I’d be happy to help!