My friend recently asked me to share photos of the stuff I own in the kitchen so I thought I’d do a kitchen tour. My kitchen, I am very proud to say, is the most favourite space in the apartment for me. I’ve always wanted a kitchen like this for years and spent a lot of time visualizing how I’d design its layout. This space is my pride and joy, as I enjoy cooking and hosting. I also love having ample countertop space + storage space to house all my kitchen stuff in an organized manner. This is one very important aspect in my daily life. I must’ve spent weeks poring over images of dream kitchens online; I noticed that in many of those images, I never see the fridge. What’s up with that?
Anyhoo, the kitchen has always been one of my fave spaces in an apartment and I spend a lot of time in mine. When I moved to Singapore, I pared down most of my belongings and shipped about 11 boxes over; 4 of the largest ones contained kitchen stuff – serveware, appliances, tools. I don’t actually own a lot of kitchen appliances, but there are basics that I must have: KitchenAid mixer, food processor and deepfryer. Okay, I also have a small ice-shaving machine and a comprehensive set of Wilton cake decorating tools, but I don’t count those as basic. :x
Mind you, when I first got the apartment the kitchen looked completely different. In fact, when I was apartment hunting, one of the key areas I looked for was a layout that was conducive for an open-style kitchen. I know that generally in Asia, most kitchens are enclosed in a separate room – some older (and larger) houses even have wet and dry kitchens; the former is for all the “dirty” functional work while the latter is… erm I dunno, for assembly/less messy functions (?). Either way, most Asian kitchens are behind doors but I was determined to have mine open. Before I remodeled my kitchen, the contractor even asked me if I was sure because the fumes from cooking etc. would permeate throughout the entire apartment but my mind was set on this and nothing could change my mind.
What was once a dark kitchen behind a wall with doors became completely open and filled with light. Now that’s what I’m talking about.
I keep my kitchen clean and clutter-free as best I can, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get to see a lot of activity. In fact, the opposite is true and you can almost say it’s being used and abused often. You can’t see that because the way I have set out designing it includes having plenty of storage areas. But before I get into that, I want to mention that having adequate countertop space is a very good thing to have although the downside of that is the natural inclination to place all sorts of things on it. Phone charger, sunglasses, junk mail, shopping receipts, keys, snacks, magazines… I am guilty of that, so I clear stuff as often as I can.
I must say that my kitchen configuration is pretty basic and modest. I could’ve gone all out and fancy like having a stovetop grill or a deepfryer built into the countertop. I decided that having more countertop space was priority and more convenient for me in the long run. I’d rather clean a flat surface than having to scrub grooves and replace old used frying oil, cleaning the wire basket, etc.
The most common misconception people have about me is how OCD I am; it’s partially true but the real reason behind why I need to obsessively organize and keep things orderly is to AVOID cleaning up. See, let’s establish that I can’t stand the sight of mess and I do not like cleaning. Therefore, to save myself the trouble of cleaning up when I’d rather not, I preempt by having everything set up properly, neatly, tidily and spotlessly beforehand. Makes sense, right? Efficient, no?
Because my kitchen (heck, my entire apartment actually) is all white, it requires extra effort to keep it clean and maintain its pristineness. So yes, I am constantly buying a lot of household cleaning products. Wiping my countertops has pretty much become a ritual for me every night. I used to use Clorox but in recent months I’ve switched to bio-home kitchen cleaner and I like it a lot. It contains 100% biodegradable plant-based active ingredients and removes grime and grease effectively without leaving behind harmful chemical residues. As for my sink, I use good ole’ Cif as it does a good job keeping it shiny and clean instead of investing in expensive stainless steel cleaners.
By the way, I majorly dislike buying household cleaning products because they are damn bulky and heavy to carry. Since I don’t own a car, I walk or take the bus whenever I go grocery shopping, ugh. I recently started shopping online on Redmart.com and I am super psyched my days of lugging heavy household cleaning products under the hot sun are finally over.
I knew from very early on what types of cooking I will be doing and the appliances needed, so the cabinets and drawers were laid out purposefully to achieve maximum efficiency. For example, below the stove top is obviously where the pots and pans are stored. The nearest top drawer is where all the spatulas, tongs, etc. live. Moving across to the sink, below it is where I store all my cutting boards, plastic food containers and grocery bags. Top drawer closest to the sink is where I keep all the silverware. Opposite the fridge is a cabinet where I store all the plates and glasses. Below the oven is where all my baking sheets, cake pans, rolling pins etc. are housed. My point is, if you are going to remodel your kitchen and thinking about cabinetry, think beforehand of what items are associated to what functions and then assign spaces accordingly to maximize efficiency in a sensible way.
A sneak peek into what’s behind those cabinet doors and inside some of the drawers:
Uhm… yeah, I have A LOT of stuff. :x This floor-to-ceiling cabinet was custom created for me with adjustable shelving because I have a crapload of serveware and what-have-yous. The plates that you see here aren’t even the ones that I normally use as I have a different set (two or three other sets actually) in another cabinet. You see, I like to eat off a square plate sometimes, and a circular plate another time.. depending on the food. Variety! :P And I also try to have 6-12 pieces per set, for when I invite people over. I can’t stand mismatched plates.
Here’s the other cabinet, again with adjustable shelving and this has the perfect depth that fits 10″ diameter dinner plates perfectly. These plates, bowls and glasses are used daily so they are positioned chest-level for natural reach. Lesser-used items like teaware are placed higher. I put basic pantry items (ie. teas and other dry goods) on the lower shelves.
As you can see, I keep mostly white serveware. I have, however, begun adding some color to my serveware collection by picking up some colored plates and bowls to break the monotony. Even I get sick of an all-white palette and need to spice things up from time to time. This can only mean one thing: I AM RUNNING OUT OF STORAGE SPACE! *gulp*
Hm, now that I’m looking at this photo above I realize I actually have a lot of bento stuff. Those things are evil. They are so cute and affordable, and before I knew it I was buying and collecting, but never quite got around to assembling all those fancy bentos that I thought I’d do. I probably should, although I hate the washing afterwards because there are too many things to wash. Cutters, tiny plastic picks, moulds, blablabla.
If there’s one thing I could do over in the remodeling of my kitchen, I would get a dishwasher. This was something that I didn’t think I need and now I sorta regret not getting a small one that could be tucked nicely under the sink. I happen to dislike doing dishes, especially after a dinner party when the sink’s filled with stacks of plates. Tsk, oh well. Maybe in my next apartment, heh.
Yeah, so that’s my kitchen tour. Whenever I’m back States-side, I am constantly buying kitchenware. Friends are baffled how the hell do I always go nuts shopping at Target, well… I buy stuff for my kitchen (partly, but mostly)! I also like shopping at Anthropologie, Bed Bath and Beyond, Crate & Barrel. Shopping for kitchen stuff in the US is unbeatable. Compared to Singapore, the designs are trendier, the variety is way broader and the prices are SO CHEAP!
Come on. These bowls cost just US$3.50 each at Target. I simply had to buy!
Till next time,