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Friday, July 2, 2021

My Montana kitchen, at Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household.

I LOVE kitchens, love, love, love them! The bigger the better, with as many kitchen gadgets as is possible. So why then do I have a kitchen with no running water and only a single burner hot plate? A kitchen with less convenience than our little 5thwheel?


Update: I made good on my comment that I was thinking about a closed cabinet in our little kitchen. And I took it upon myself to make a few changes! Because yes, I found an old Entertainment Center that was perfect to re-use as a kitchen hutch! Take a look...


We have been pretty busy here since the arrival of our grandson, but the truth is, we were just as busy before his arrival as well. Just a little over two years ago we, by committee, purchased a ranch-style home sitting on a little over an acre in Montana. Our committee includes me, my husband, my daughter, and my son-in-law. 

We had looked and looked for the just perfect house or property that met all our needs. And that folks can be really, really hard to do, especially when you live nine hours away. Oh, and you also have a house that you are selling in order to be able to purchase the next one...we made (if memory serves me well...) four trips to tour different properties in about 45 days. Whew! That alone was a big job.

One trip, was over and back home, on the same day. We did not do that again!


Purchasing by committee is a challenge on good days, and possibly, relationship damaging on days that do not go as well. I decided from the start that my daughter (and son-in-law) would have the final say on which house we would actually purchase as it will be theirs when the time comes that my husband and I have sailed on to cloudy pastures elsewhere. And of course, wouldn't you just know it...

The last house, on the last trip over, was the one we made the offer on! None of the other homes we toured prior, were even given a second look because they would not have worked out for our needs. Four folks can be hard to please. I ask you, how many times have you gone out with folks and you all ordered the same thing? I think you get the idea...

This house had been the home of a family that loved it for their whole married lives together. They had it built while living in a smaller house on the same property. But both had passed, and not only did it need repair and maintenance from their final years in the home, but it had stood empty for three years before the sale. 

The deer had even reclaimed the yard...


We knew going in, that the garage would need to be remodeled into an "efficiency" apartment for the two of us, with the main house becoming a home for the two of them and their future family.  Which meant that a shop would have to be built to replace the garage space for woodworking, vehicle repairs, and all the other things one uses a garage for. 

But first, the apartment, because we knew going in that the house was never meant to be home for all of us. Four adults, four animals and then the happiest news, a baby on the way! We are close, as well as being quite happy when sharing a meal, for sightseeing trips, and the various chores around the place. But each couple needs privacy and a place to call their own. 


We also knew that we did not want to spend a fortune to make a full-fledged kitchen in the apartment, it really seemed a financial waste, as anything I cannot cook in the apartment can be cooked in the main house. But I will say this, never cook fish in an apartment, because small spaces sure do hold cooking smells!

This brings us to my actual kitchen, a kitchen that I love to work in by the way! It is a bit modest, and as far as convenience goes, I really do have a more complete kitchen in our little 5thwheel trailer. My only real complaint about our little apartment and it is a small one, I wish I had better lighting, as all my pictures are dark even after editing. 

Let's take a tour, entering the kitchen area and starting on the right, the changes made with the new cabinet are noted:

From this...


You can see the single hot plate in the lower right-hand corner of this photo. The refrigerator is snuggled into a corner, saving space. On the appliance shelf, we have a coffee maker, a toaster, and a Ninja combination food processor/blender. And because this is a real picture and not staged, if you look closely you will see that I have a jar of pineapple vinegar started and my basil plant died yesterday in the heatwave that took over our community. 

To this...

The wicker baskets were beginning to break down. So I changed them out for these plastic, open handled baskets, from the large black "cubbie" shelf. I also changed up what I keep on the shelf, adding a stacked shelf for the salt & pepper, sugar and butter. Under the shelf is jars of snack crackers. The open baskets now hold food, instead of kitchen ware. My thought was, the food will be replaced and with the empty packages, so goes the dust...



At the end of the appliance counter, you will find this small cabinet that holds storage containers along with small dishware. The breadbox fits nicely on the small shelf between the upper and lower sections. Next to this cabinet, you will find my spice shelf. I think the spice shelf is the next thing to update...



Everything pretty much happens here! Our private meals, proofing bread dough after it is shaped, cleaning and processing the CSA box each week. The groceries are unloaded here, clothes are mended here, and we even use this table for game night. We have also been known to have a meeting or two around this table!

Turning the corner we find...

From this...


This big shelf! I love this shelf. It holds a ton of stuff and acts as a room divider between the kitchen area and the living room. The one drawback? Yep, a thin but ever-present layer of dust. Recently I have decided that I will look for a cupboard or hutch for the dishes...



To this...


Montana is a dry climate. Dust is everywhere. And while it does not bother me as much on our books, it does in my kitchen! The large black "cubbie" shelf was convenient but dust filled, even the day after a good cleaning! So I knew a closed cabinet was needed. 


The TV cabinet portion was perfect for turning into a coffee cabinet. Plus the doors keep everything out of sight after morning coffee. 

I love all the cabinet doors, and spaces. Everything is behind a cabinet door and dust free! From food to mixing bowls. 


Next to the Oak Kitchen Cabinet is a chopping block and my Berkey water filter system. We have been Berkey fans for a number of years, and this Berkey fits nicely in our little 5thwheel when we do hit the road for a bit of travel. The chopping block table was left behind in the house when we took possession and I didn't have the heart to toss it out...the bottom shelf holds my cast iron cookware.

I have an additional workspace just outside of the kitchen area (basically the hallway to the apartment). 




Update, the small Instant Pot has been moved into the main kitchen area.

My two Instant Pots have a separate workstation only because the appliance counter could not possibly hold everything! On bread baking day, I use this area as well. The brown cabinet holds baking pans and accessories for the Instant Pots. And you will notice that I have begun purchasing puzzles for our grandson, there is a little cow puzzle propped up on the shelf next to a storage jar of wire ties for bread bags. 
 

Our apartment and the main house are divided by the laundry room, which we share. It includes a small counter, with a large stainless steel sink. We carry our breakfast and lunch dishes to this area, and when the little blue tub is full, they get washed. I use an over-the-sink drainer instead of having absolutely no counter space. Dinners are our shared meal of the day, fortunately, there is a dishwasher (yes!) in the main house! 

What you see shared here at Scratch Made Food! & DIY Homemade Household is made in this kitchen. With no stove, I do use the main kitchen oven for baking. When we travel I cook with the same recipes and the by the seat of my pants style. Because if I can make it here, I know I can make it while traveling! 


Thanks for stopping by! 


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Would you like to comment?

  1. As fellow RV'ers, we know cooking in a small space is very doable. We have to be organized, though! I admire your spirit, using this apartment to make up new dishes and recipes, and enjoy what you're doing!

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  2. Have you spent a winter in Montana? I've heard that there is a lot of snow and you can get snowbound, so I hope the main kitchen or somewhere in the house has lots of space for storing supplies.

    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae, yes, we have been here two years now. The first year we tried to make due with a space heater as we did not have time to install our wood stove before winter set in. We are southern Montana and in somewhat of a banana belt for warm weather trends, but we definitely have snow, wind and cold rain in the winter.

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  3. I have loved this glimpse into your kitchen! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. The room divider/shelf unit is a great life hack! Glad you found the right property and I hope it's smooth sailing from here on.

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    1. Thank you, it is very convenient for all my jarred staples to be right there!

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  5. Your home is really lovely and cozy! I like how you have the cubby set up - the baskets are great in there! I hear ya on the dust though. We have open shelves for everything but our dishies.

    Alexandra
    OnRockwoodLane.com
    EyeLoveKnots.com

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  6. Love your "new" kitchen -- we don't have a dishwasher -- we use a drying mat on the counter for dinner dishes (to dry over night), and wash & the daytime dishes as we go. Sometimes I wish I had a dishwasher, but I don't want to give up any cupboard space.

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    1. I don't miss a dishwasher, except during canning season, so I am grateful for the one in the main house! It is funny, having to give up cupboard space in a small kitchen helps you realize that washing dishes is not that bad...

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  7. I'm a fan of that style dish drainer. Ours is in a cabinet over the sink and it has a tray to catch the drips. Like yours, there's little counter or cabinet space in our kitchen. However, a dish drain would occupy too much counter space.

    When we return to the US, I'm hoping to find a drain similar to yours to free up the corner that currently houses the dish drain.

    Thanks for sharing with us with Creatively Crafty #ccbg :)

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    1. I really hesitated before offering this post, but it has been fun to see that many have a different kitchen than what might be expected of a blogger! Thanks so much for stopping by, I appreciate it.

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  8. Looks like you've got it all figured out! I have two Instant Pots (6 and 10 quart) and use them quite often. Thanks so much for linking up with me at the Unlimited Link Party 30. Pinned!

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    1. I would have never thought I would be a 2 pot cook, but I agree, I use them often! Thanks for hosting, I appreciate it!

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  9. Thanks for the tour. A lot of cooking can be done in a simple kitchen without all the gadgets. We've had our Berkey since 1999.

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    1. Yes, it doesn't take a big kitchen to cook well! Thanks so for stopping by, I appreciate it. Have a great week ahead.

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  10. What a great little kitchen! It looks so warm and homey. But I agree that open shelves (especially near floor level) are not a great way to store dishes, so I'm glad you found such an attractive alternative.

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  11. Visiting again to say thanks so much for linking up at the Unlimited Link Party 67. Pinned!

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  12. It looks like you made a lot of updates and changes to make your kitchen more efficient and usable. Also, it looks homey and inviting. I can almost smell the delicious odors of baking and cooking just by looking at the pictures. I agree with you about open shelving. It's been popular in kitchen decor for the past few years. But open shelving is not a good way to store the dishes that you plan to use for meals.
    Carol
    www.scribblingboomer.com

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    1. Hi Carol, it was fun putting this entertainment center together as an efficient kitchen cabinet in our little apartment. Also is hides the coffee maker and coffee supplies when not in use!

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  13. The entertainment center wood cabinet is beautiful! Such a great idea to make it the coffee bar, dish holder, food pantry!

    FYI, for more lighting, you might consider the little desk lighting strips. You can place them right side up on top of cabinets to give lighting to the overall room, and you can put them below cabinets to give counter space lighting. And if you use the plug-ins with a remote, you can turn them on/off with the click of a button. We have a remote that handles 5 lights and can easily turn the lamps & light strips on/off with the click of a button. I hope this helps!

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    1. Hi Lisa, thanks so much for the lighting ideas, they will come in handy. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it!

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  14. wow very brave to go into such a huge purchase with other people (family or not). Thanks for the look into your kitchen.
    cheers
    sherry

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  15. Hope you all get along well. Love your kitchen, very compact and workable for you

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    1. We do pretty good in that area, for 4 adults, one grandbaby and a multitude of pets!

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Comments always appreciated, at Scratch Made Food! Thank you for stopping by!