Nooks and Crannies

The other day while perusing the internet I saw the most amazing breakfast nook over at Willow Décor.  How DELICIOUS is this amazing space?!  The light, the space, the airiness, the in-your-face French Country-ness with a hint of traditional.  I just want to sit down with a cup of coffee and a muffin and live there…with a puppy.

It got me thinking about my own kitchen and the lack of eat-in area.  You hear a lot these days about people not using their dining rooms because they use the kitchen…well, I am here to tell you that in my house where space is tighter than the lid of the peanut butter jar after my husband’s had it, we use our dining room.  But that means I don’t have a nook.

But a girl can dream, right?  Check out this gorgeous eat-in kitchen.  The space is pretty open and non-nookish…but those dark custom shelves filled with beautiful serving pieces really help cozy up the place.

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Everything but the Kitchen Sink – Fruit Bowls

Ah dear readers…I have a confession to make.  I can not for the life of me figure out how to store my veggies.  We belong to a CSA during the summer which means that once a week, we get a bounty of produce that I quickly 'process' and for the most part store in the refrigerator until time for consumption…but there are still a few items that boggle my mind.

You see, way back when in the great-counter-clearing-experiment-of-'09 I banished our system of counter-ripening fruit to the pantry cabinet in an ill guided attempt to be one of "those people" who have nothing on their counters.  But while the cool, dry, dark storage was great for my onions and garlic, my apples, bananas* and any other veggies that had shown up for the week did NOT like being hidden in the dark.  No, instead, the cramped quarters caused the ethylene from the apples and bananas to build up even faster over-ripening every piece of produce in a matter of just a day.  I needed to find a better solution.

Until this time, I thought the only option was a hanging basket; which would be the perfect solution if we had someplace to actually hang it where it wouldn't bonk us on the head:
 

Thankfully, there are lots of options out there for counter-top fruit storage.  The key to keep in mind is that every fruit gives off a certain amount of ethylene gasses so it doesn't hurt to separate your produce.  What better way to do that than some pretty bowls?

 

A dessert platter is a great way to get some height on your display and allow you to store more than one fruit in the same footprint:

 

A little more space consuming, but pretty none-the-less; storing your veggies in one layer on a platter is a great statement:

 

Here's a fun, smaller scale basket with great lines that would look pretty in any manner of kitchens.  All this time I thought the all-one-fruit in the basket thing was for aesthetics…but now I know…yup…now I know the truth about ethylene:

 

A small collection of matching wood baskets is a great way to keep 'em separated yet still maintain a coordinated look on your counter…although don't be fooled by this photo…I'm sure those bananas and the apple were ripening that avocado just as fast as the shutter could click:

 

Speaking of coordinated looks…how about these G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S china baskets!!  LOVE LOVE LOVE…but, they're small…good for berries…but not good for the amount of veggies I need to store:

 

Lastly, I found this interesting, fun display idea over at ETSY…I can only imagine what fun the cat would have if I went and displayed every piece of fruit on its own individual stand on the counter…and she doesn't even get up on the counters.

 

The jury is still out on this one for me.  I just don't have that much space on my counter to give up so in my indecision I usually just lay everything out on the counter.  Which takes up just as much space, if not more, on the counter and doesn't look pretty.  It's a vicious circle.

Any one have any magic solutions I haven't thought of yet?

 

* no…our bananas do not come from the CSA; but we have a toddler who loves him a banana so even though they are from a different continent, I still need to purchase and store them

{sources: 1-Organize It; 2, 3, 4-Devine Kitchens; 5-Black and Blum; 6-Peg and Awl; 7-Jayson Home and Garden; 8-A Mischievous Marriage}

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Counter Space: Design And The Modern Kitchen

"Meal machine, experimental laboratory, status symbol, domestic prison, or the creative and spiritual heart of the home"? www.moma.org

This weekend, an exciting exhibition opened at MOMA in NYC, titled Counter Space:  Design And The Modern Kitchen. The exhibit runs from September 15, 2010 to March 14, 2011. Organized in conjunction with their newest publication Modern Women:  Women Artists at The Museum of Modern Art,  the exhibit presents a fully assembled Frankfurt Kitchen from the Hohenblick Housing Estate, Ginnheim, Frankfurt, Germany from 1926-1927.

Designed by architect Margarete Schutte-Lihotzky (1897-2000), "The Frankfurt Kitchen was designed like a laboratory or factory and based on contemporary theories about efficiency, hygiene, and workflow". "Over the course of the past century no other room has been the focus of such intensive aesthetic and technological innovation, or as loaded with cultural significance. Kitchen design has been both a central concern of modernism and fundamental to our concept of modern life. Drawn entirely from MoMA’s collection, this exhibition explores the twentieth-century transformation of the kitchen as a barometer of changing technologies, aesthetics, and ideologies".

"The Frankfurt Kitchen in MoMA’s collection, on view in the exhibition,  was salvaged in 1993 from the second floor of the corner house in this photograph (124 Kurhessenstrasse). Flat roofs and standardized forms were characteristic of the estates built for the New Frankfurt. In 1930 Ernst May stated: “The exterior form of the Frankfurt housing estates developed out of the given facts of the interiors and rejects the pretentious gestures and decorative embellishments of old or new origin."

Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky. Frankfurt Kitchen from the Höhenblick Housing Estate, Frankfurt, Germany (reconstruction). 1926–27.  The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Joan R. Brewster in memory of her Husband George W.W. Brewster, by exchange and the Architecture & Design Purchase Fund.

Plan of the Frankfurt Kitchen indicating its labor saving features 1927
 

Grete Schütte-Lihotzky (seated) with colleagues from the Frankfurt Municipal Building Department c. 1928 "Schütte-Lihotzky was the only woman in the team of architects assembled by Ernst May, director of Frankfurt’s Municipal Building Department. The white lab coats worn by the architects emphasize the team’s rational, scientific approach" .

 

It is a rare and wonderful opportunity to experience modular kitchen design of this era, up close and personal.  This kitchen is an excellent example of early prefab design. What I appreciate most about the Frankfurt Kitchen is the timelessness, which is due to purposeful planning, based on function rather than trend. Efficiency and organization is evident in the design of the space.  Every element and detail, such as these built in canisters for food storage, were beautiful custom solutions to everyday design problems. I believe this kitchen would function beautifully in a modern day home. I'd love to move in! Enjoy the show!

 

Get more information about the Counter Space:  Design And The Modern Kitchen exhibit.

 
 
 
Exhibition Detail
Counter Space: Design and the Modern Kitchen
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019
September 15, 2010 to March 14, 2011
All quotations and photography courtesy of the exhibition website at :  www.moma.org

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Everything but the Kitchen Sink – Canisters

Recently, I moved my canisters for flour and sugar out from the pantry to our kitchen counters.

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