Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Kitchen time

I can tell I hit the wall with my years-long regimen of minimal sleep and maximum multitasking, because between rounds of garter stitch glove cuff all I could think about this weekend was baking.  And when I say 'baking', I mean that just a few months short of having to pack up everything and move to a new kitchen, I was out buying more cooking gear because I didn't have exactly the right pan for a recipe I wanted to try.

Incredible luck that the discount housewares store across the street had exactly the right pan for $17, huh?  And it's made in France and marketed by Le Cordon Bleu so I feel very fancy about having it in my kitchen.

It looked a little less fancy after I served the first few bowls of Poor Man's Pudding, but I still love it and I think I'll use it a lot.

Poor Man's Pudding came to my attention when I considered going to a Sugar Shack event walking distance from the condo (I thought better of it - knitting commitments, you know) and read that Redpath Sugar would be demonstrating how to make it.  Basically, this is a very inexpensive dessert that French-Canadian moms have been preparing for their families for many a long moon.  It consists of white cake batter you flood with a brown sugar syrup and shove into the oven; as it cooks, the syrup infiltrates the batter and forms a sauce on the bottom of the pan, and when you serve it, it looks like bread pudding and tastes like pancakes.

(and yes, I'd make it again, but I'd use WAY less sugar and sub in some maple syrup for the sauce too.  remember, this recipe and the others I lifted and pinned to my new Pinterest food board are from a sugar company, so they have a slightly different take on how much is too much.)

Even though there is still some pudding in the fridge, I decided to make cookies today.  I was supposed to make some of these at Christmas so - only 2.5 months late, right?  Better than never.

What all this nesting boils down to, I guess, is that I'm ready to stop planning a space and start enjoying it.  Sadly: the space I get to enjoy is the condo's kitchen, which leaves a lot to be desired.  I'm not talking about the finishes, which are regrettable - a busy brown faux granite laminate counter over a busy faux stone vinyl tile floor, plus a faceted super shiny white subway tile set off with a brown and blue accent line - but the layout.

I think originally, the kitchens in this building were set up with a side entrance near one end, and counters running on all four walls.  The fridge faced the quite generous doorway, and there was heaps of storage instead of any seating, since there is a generous dining area with chandelier facing the entry door.  At some point before we bought our unit, the previous owner renovated to remove some of the cabinetry in favour of an eat-in kitchen with less, but still adequate, storage. This required moving the refrigerator down to the far end of a narrow galley kitchen - past the stove, and across from the sink and garbage cans.  Pete and I fall over each other constantly even if only one of us is trying to do meal prep, because the other can't pour beverages or clear counter space without squeezing past the person at the stove for fridge and garbage access.  

Now of course everybody wants open concept and luxury finishes, and in this part of the city, a condo has to have those qualities to compete in the marketplace, so it's a no brainer that we need to put those in before we offer it for sale or lease.  We also have to move the fridge, obviously.  Actually I'd like to put a door where the fridge is, because a galley kitchen really needs an entrance at either end to manage traffic flow, but hello: budget?

Yeah, budget.  We planned for our house renovation for so long, we haven't had to be frugal with our decision making until now.  But infloor heat costs what infloor heat costs, so bye-bye easy solutions to the condo kitchen, floors (omigosh, about 1400 square feet's worth) and window treatments.

One of my many cousins is a great real estate agent with an investment property of her own in the same neighbourhood as our condo, and Andy has spent his whole career on high-end kitchens in a huge range of physical settings, and I think Ray and Al will still be speaking to me by the time the house is done such that they will agree to come back to the condo for final tweaks, but man.  All that baking time I'm doing is really about me thinking how to make that space sing loud enough for somebody else to want to live here even more than I do.

Meanwhile, Andy has sent over the almost-final CAD drawings of our house-kitchen, and I am dying to show them to you.  Soon!

Question of the day

If you had old battered parquet floors covering a daunting 1400 square feet in a market that demands shiny new hardwood, and you wanted to rent or sell your place quickly, would you:

a/ rip up the parquet and put down shiny new hardwood (most expensive), or

b/ refinish the parquet and stain it in some modern-looking colour like dark grey, or even bleach it white (least expensive), or

c/ put down affordable hardwood-look porcelain tile (somewhere in between)?

This is what I'm going to ask Alana, but I'm curious to know what you guys think too.

Okay - that's it for me for today.  I have a baking explosion to tidy up and another home renovation show to watch!  Take care and I'll see you tomorrow.


Marianne said...

Ouch that is going to be a tough decision! I personally don't like the parquet floors but knowing the cost to totally replacing it would make sense to redo than to replace. I'm a lover of hardwood floors,but with dogs as our companions I believe the best thing for us are laminate flooring. It doesn't scratch as easily as hardwood or so I have been told. Have a wonderful day!!

Mary Keenan said...

I am so envious of people with 1930s chevron parquet right now Marianne ;^) At least that looks special! 1980s honey-tone checkerboard parquet? not so much. I've seen pictures of it stained ebony or whitewashed, and they're both okay - but you can still tell it's 1980s checkerboard parquet.

Laminate holds up well if you get a better grade - sometimes with less expensive versions the top layer is super thin. We had it in our kitchen and apart from a dent from a tool the installer dropped (seriously!) it looked great for about ten years, in spite of two floods from me filling the sink to wash dishes and then getting distracted for a critical few minutes. We're putting engineered hardwood into the new kitchen so I am not going to be trusted to wash dishes too often, heh.