Friday, August 27, 2010

The Pieces Coming Together

My new kitchen is so unlike the old one. The old one had no counter space to speak of but had lots of storage space since it had a pantry right in the kitchen. A big walk in pantry with shelves on three sides and pegboard for the pots on the fourth. I so loved my pantry.

Fast forward to today. My new kitchen has more counter space than both my last two kitchens combined. It is a fabulous place to entertain as there is a huge granite counter to put a buffet or snacks on. But sadly it lacks storage space. I didn't want the cabinets hung from the ceiling which would close in the space. The whole bottom floor is open and I wanted to keep the open feeling. But where oh where to put all my jars?

On Wednesday I finally got my storage space. The kitchen area is very close to the basement stairs. So we had shelves built going down the stairs. They work out perfectly for food storage. Many of them are made to be just the height for pint canning jars and they fit two jars deep.

Bottom five shelves

Top four shelves

All shelves

On the other side we put in some hooks for whatever. Whatever right now happens to be some of my garlic, some of my onions, some store bought onions, and my grocery bags. You see the store bought onions? Have you ever picked out your vegetables based on what container they come in? I saw this nice mesh bag and thought how nice it would be to reuse if I ever got onions of my own big enough to go into it.

It is so nice to have all my canning jars off the floor of the dining room. Well most of them. The empty ones are still there. But that wasn't all that happened that day. We also got our office furniture delivered. It was a really happy day for me. It let me unpack all those office boxes which were also sitting on the dining room floor.

The furniture was custom made locally by Cherrystones. They did a wonderful job. And if you notice out the window, you can see my garden from here. I love looking out everyday and seeing the tomatoes and marigolds.

But the excitement never stops. Yesterday the landscapers came. Whoohoo! We are finally going to have a yard. You know with real dirt and not just subsoil and weeds. I'll have paths. The townhouse mates will have a hot tub on their side and I'll have a vegetable garden on mine. Well at some point we will have all this. They say it will take four weeks to finish. I'll have a future post on this as I got permission from our landscape designer to put the plans up. I was wondering if I would ever get my house together, but slowly but surely the pieces are falling into place.


  1. That's a very handy place to store your canned goods. I should re-do my shelves going down the stairs to our basement. I store my canned goods in an old cupboard in the basement. Needless to say, it is getting full.

    It takes a long time to get unpacked and organized when you move. I think that you're making great progess!

  2. I cannot believe you live in a townhome! I always pictured you on sprawling acres - you live large, gal. A true hero to all suburban gardeners. I love your shelves BTW. Very clever! And I too have purchased something based on its container. :) Hey, containers are expensive.

  3. Nice shelving! I feel that with the shelves open and only 2 jars deep, you will be able to readily see everything. I'd love to see photos of your kitchen!

    The office looks great, too. My office is an antique lap desk with a living room chair -- I have office envy!

  4. Wow! Those shelves will be really useful and give you lots of storage room. And that office is just wowza! Really beautiful! Your new home is coming together beautifully.

  5. That looks great. I sure wish I had a basement, I remember my grandparents', full of interesting stuff and shelves for my grandmother's preserves. I wonder what happened to that Victrola and the mangle washing machine...

  6. Robin, I have shelves in the basement too. Metal shelves. I have a whole kitchen area down there which holds my unused canning jars, my china (which I have no space for upstairs right now), the dehydrator and tomato strainer, and the like. I even have some food down there too. I tend to buy in bulk so I store the excess in the basement.

    Carol, lol no we have a 9000sqft lot for the new house, which includes the land for the two townhouses. I'm thinking I'm going to have about 600+ sqft of raised bed area in the side year when it is all done. Plus room for two dwarf apple trees and raspberry bushes in the back, and a peach tree and blueberries in the front. I'm thinking the rock wall garden that I'm using for produce this year (which has about 200sqft of bed) will be half asperagus and the rest I'm thinking perennials of some kind. I'd love an espaliered plum and fig there. Maybe some strawberries underneath. But it will grow and change over the years I'm sure. I'm sure it will produce most of what two families need in fruit and produce for the year (but not enough for storage for both). It depends upon what I do. Technically the raised bed part of the garden is all mine. Though I'm supposed to share extras. And the hot tub is all theirs, though I'm allowed to use it.

    Ali, yes I can see everything. My last pantry was pretty deep and I could never tell what was in the back unless I moved thing around. It made for lots of storage but was hard to use.

    Laura, We are totally in love with the new office. It is really weird to be buying new things. I'm more of a person that makes do with what I have. Not because I can't afford it, but because it isn't in my mindset. But this time we decided to splurge with the new house. We are hoping to live here for 20 years or more. So figured would deck it out in the main living area, mostly with things made locally. We have been finding good homes for all our old things. One old desk will go into the attic room (which is huge) where the kids sleep when they come home, but the rest will go to a friend that wanted it. I have one old piece left in the main living area that isn't getting replaced. I have a cherry drop leaf table made by my great grandfather. That is the table we use for our mail when we come into the house. It is right by the stairs and across from the office.

    Karen Anne, I love my big basement. My last basement was tiny. This house doesn't have a garage though. No garage storage at all. Which means not good place to dry my onions and garlic.

  7. Love your new pantry. Everything is so visible. Reminded me that my grandparents stored their jars in the stairwell to the basement too.

    I can't wait to see how your landscaping progresses. Thanks for sharing with us :)

  8. Thanks for posting the pics of your stairway shelving. I'd considered doing this, but worried that the shelves might impede traffic on the stairs. But it looks like your two jar depth would be just fine- and we have no kitchen storage space either. Looks like your new place is really starting to come together! (I wish my old place would...)

  9. I love the idea for the shelves down the basement stairs! I'm officially stealing it. The office is beautiful and has such a pretty view. That will be gorgeous any time of year.

  10. Wow! You are doing such an awesome job ... and your pantry shelves are a fabulous addition!

  11. Hmmm, I wonder.........would people think I was weird if I built shelves along one bedroom wall to hold my jars of tomatoes? Nah, I guess I'll pass. I do have an unused 8' closet though, if I could just manage to get rid of the 20 years of genealogy research I've stashed in there ;-) Man, I sure do miss my previous house, where I had an entire basement room with floor to ceiling shelves.

  12. Love the new shelves! Ain't customization grand? Wish I had a spot like that :)

  13. Love your shelving system! Looks great! You must be so happy with all that storage space for your canned jars. So easy to browse ttoo...

  14. How fantastic, an I just love, love, love the shelves!!!!! I just wish my narrow basement staircase wasn't so, well, narrow.

    Did you budget in for that space or think about it after the fact?

    It's always so nostalgic leaving an old house, but boy is it exciting setting up a new one.

  15. It looks like a very clever solution. I think you're going to both be surprised at how long it all takes and how nice it is once done. You deserve to really enjoy it.

  16. The new office is beautiful especially you can see the garden from inside.

    I like the stairway shelving it's very clever use of space.

  17. GrafixMuse, It is such a nice place to store if you have a wide enough staircase.

    maggie, if you had a narrow staircase you could do just one jar wide. Three wide would have impeded the traffic flow for us, but two wide was perfect.

    The Mom, lol I stole it from someone else too. Who stole it from another house they lived in.

    kiwi, thanks.

    Granny, I considered putting up pretty wooden shelves along the dining room wall. But then I thought that it is better to store them in the dark so didn't. I love the look of home canned jars.

    Stevie, thanks.

    Jackie, It is fun customizing the house for just what we want.

    RandomGardener, I am very happy with it. I'm just wondering where I'm going to put all the applesauce. I put a large shelf on the bottom, but obviously should have put in two more short shelves for jars instead.

    Ribbit, we knew we were going to do it, but we don't really do much budgeting in our house anymore. My father in law used to say you were rich if you didn't spend as much money as you make. I laughed at him because at the time my husband and I had just been married (age 22 and 23) and he was putting me through art school. We had our first mortgage. We were on a tight budget. We still made more than we spent. It is all in the way you live. So according to his way of thinking we were rich even if we didn't have much. We have always been savers. We had a 15 year mortgage on our last house (which we lived in for 19 years so it is paid off). We have never bought a car on credit. So it is pretty easy to splurge when we want to. We just don't choose to most of the time. I'd rather wear a favorite dress to death than buy a new one. When I'm at the store, my mind always tells me that I don't really need it and I listen.

    Stefaneener, it does take a long time to put a house together that you expect to live in for decades. But I expect after the first year it will be mostly done.

    mac, thanks.

  18. We have storage like this as well although the basement stairs are in another locations so the selves go right across. The office furniture looks really nice! Looks like you have lots of space. I've always lived in old houses or new condo's, lots of box rooms...

  19. Aren't pantries wonderful? We designed our house with a large pantry!

    Love the office space! And how fun to see the garden! We are in the process of building our small computer office using a slab of mango wood. Can't wait for it to be done!


  20. Those pantry shelves are such a good idea!

    I buy oranges in big mesh sacks in order to keep the sack fortunately most orange farmers around here use them so I can also choose the quality of the oranges that come inside it.

    Nice office!

  21. That's a very clever storage idea! Congratulations. It must feel good to see things coming together.

  22. The furniture you had made for the office is gorgeous!