Our priority last year, with making the cottage more comfortable, was sorting out the end room and the ceiling. However, we did manage to make some other improvements too. As time went on we found ourselves making little changes, that when we look back on made quite a difference in just one season.
As I mentioned before, we ended up having to dump most of the furniture in the cottage. I felt we really needed something to replace the old cabinet for storing china and found someone selling an old oak cabinet that was perfect for our needs.
I loved feeling more orderly, but it highlighted how we needed to do something about the kitchen area. They say a messy kitchen is a happy kitchen, but this kitchen was not making me happy! The old stove was grungy and was the first thing I decided we needed to replace. Our intention is to move the kitchen to the other end of the cottage, but we don’t want to do that until we put down a floor. We also need to move the propane that end, so for now we decided to keep it where it is until we get to the point we are laying floor. As we did the priority shuffle dance we discovered that having a more functional kitchen was more pressing than flooring and we wanted it sooner rather than later, so waiting to lay a floor was not what we wanted. We didn’t want to install and have to move things to do the flooring, so keeping it where it was and moving it when we came to flooring seemed like the best option for us.
We bought a used stovetop, used countertop with sink and new Ikea kitchen cabinets and initially installed them, extending the kitchen area we already had until we were able to disconnect the old stove and dispose of it. We couldn’t use the new stove in that location because there was no propane, but it didn’t stay there long and we had to move it before we could use the wood burning stove towards the end of the season.
Once all the old stuff was disposed of, we spent ages mocking up different designs and trying to decide how to the kitchen should be laid out. We were restricted in size because of the used countertop we bought, but we don’t want to buy a new one until we move the kitchen to the other end. We decided to leave a small gap between the window and the units, so that we have access to the window. It has given us a little nook to store kindling and other things that don’t look great on display, so it has worked out well.
The other big improvement was the sink. Emptying a washing up bowl is awkward and sometimes messy. It wasn’t a good solution, especially if you need to rinse things. We are so pleased with how our hand washing station is working in the “inhouse”, so we adapted the idea for the kitchen. We put in a water container for drinking water to rinse things or add cold water to the boiling water from the kettle when washing up and two large buckets to collect the wastewater from the sinks.
The other end of the cottage still needs some work. There is the door waiting to be hung for our new “in-house”, the box that the sofa bed came in to be disposed of, but it is functional and somewhat organized. It was sorting out the kitchen area that made such a difference. We are no longer cramped and awkward. Things are accessible and everything has a place, so we can find it. Preparing meals is much easier than it was and having a certain amount of “running” water is so helpful. The thing that is most helpful is probably the collection for wastewater. Carrying out a bucket rather than a washing up bowl and also not having to carry it out so often is a great help. We somewhat recycle the wastewater and use it for rinsing the toilet bucket when we empty that, so the whole improvement has been a great success in many ways. The kitchen is such a focal point and I feel so much happier about inviting people to spend time with us there now. We didn’t issue many invitations to visit last year because we just were not set up for entertaining. We still have many limitations, but at least we have passed a threshold and I feel more relaxed about things now. Sure, it isn’t to everybody’s taste and basic doesn’t even begin to describe it, but for me it is no longer cringe worthy and the relaxation zone now includes the kitchen too!