Last Gasp of the Renovation Budget

Last Gasp of the Renovation Budget

When we bought this broken down, abandoned, very small house 10 years ago, it was a “tear down”. We have been renovating for this whole time, mostly addressing structural issues.

Covid-19 means our income, which was just a few dollars above the poverty line, has dropped way below the poverty line. We are managing to buy our food, and garden supplies, keep up with the mortgage and monthly bills. But long-term, I think our remaining, larger renovation plans are cancelled, probably forever.

One of my long-term wishes was to update the original kitchen cabinets. They were hand built, and sturdy, but the cupboard doors don’t close and the drawers drop down when you open them, and they don’t provide a lot of storage. We make them work.

Accepting that we are probably never going to get around to updating the kitchen cabinetry, and knowing that we need more storage and counter space, I decided to put function over form, budget over aesthetics, and ordered two new cabinets that were on sale, to complete the kitchen. These babies make a HUGE difference for day-to-day food preparation and preservation!!

They look beautiful to me, as I see them through the lens of making our time in the kitchen so much more enjoyable. We now have room for food in the kitchen, that was previously stored in the basement, which will reduce my time conveying items up and down a narrow, tricky stair. We now have drawers that don’t flop down when you open them, and fall out when opened too far. We now have cabinet doors that close. I guess none of those things are a very big deal in the larger picture of human life on earth, they are just a very big deal to me right now. My kitchen is completed, bring on the summer and fall harvests for preservation!

Here it is, my big kitchen renovation! We know our renovation budget is shot, so this is a last gasp purchase, on sale, to give us some decent storage space, and counter space, in our tiny kitchen. We used to have a table in this space, but no more, it is now dedicated to storage and work space. These cabinets were easy to install, built to last, and the price was right!
To the left you see my six gallon bucket of wheat berries for milling flour. Above the cabinets is the shelf Attila build to store my herbs and spices. To the right is a cabinet that holds our one gallon jars of dried goods. On the counter top is a dish with washed egg shells, drying so that I can use the mortar and pestle to turn them into a powder, for soil amendment in the garden. On the right of the window sill is my attempt to grow ginger, from a small chunk of fresh ginger from the grocery store, and it is growing!
Everything is now where I can reach it without having to move anything out of the way, or needing two hands to open a drawer to prevent it from flopping down!!
And we have a butcher block counter top!



Date: 11:00 AM EDT Saturday 23 May 2020
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 22.7°C
Dew point: 10.1°C
Humidity: 44%
Wind: NNE 15 km/h
Humidex: 24
Visibility: 24 km


“If we attend continually and promptly to the little that we can do, we shall ere long be surprised to find how little remains that we cannot do.”
Samuel Butler
1835 – 1902


  1. Thanks Eileen! I love some of the things about a small kitchen, there isn’t much distance to travel to do things like empty the dishwasher, everything is within a step or two. And I know that people do amazing things in tiny spaces, The photo a gentleman shared once on a facebook group showed a stove, no counter top space at all, and he was canning all kinds of things, working from I assume his kitchen table and the range, I was impressed. Where there is a will there is a way! So I feel these cabinets are downright luxurious!

  2. Sandy

    Maggie that’s a beautiful kitchen set-up. It looks like you’ll have a lot more storage space now. Can you use the cabinet tops as a food prep area?

  3. Sandy, thanks! They provide a great storage space, the doors and drawers work flawlessly, and although they aren’t as deep as a regular counter top, they hold a lot of items. The butcher block top will be a working food prep area, which is a such a welcome addition to the kitchen! It is higher than a regular countertop, so I imagine over time I’ll learn what tasks are better performed there, and which ones are easier on the lower counter top.

  4. Teri

    Woohoo! New cabinets! Considering we have those problems at the cottage, plus spicy smelly cabinets that contaminate our foods, I can definitely appreciate what a difference this makes for you. Congratulations!

  5. Thanks Teri! Some older cabinets are really hard to live with! Your mention of the cottage brings to mind another feature of these cabinets, they are all metal, but for the countertop, so they can be made totally mouse proof! I hadn’t thought of that, as our mouse issues were resolved (so far anyway), but it would be a real feature for some dwellings!

  6. Bex, I love them! I think if I were building a new home, this is what I would install, along with a stainless stell work table and a large walk in pantry… and if I were being thorough a storage cupboard for appliances, and an outdoor kitchen with a door directly from the indoor kitchen. Well, that isn’t going to happen, but I feel that my current kitchen is pretty cool, so there we are 🙂

  7. Margarett

    Oh, Maggie…I kind of fell off the face of the earth the past few weeks. For some reason, I have been focused on my memories. Of family, and really about Jason. The twins birthday is June 7th….I am certain that has caused my depressed, awful mood. Anyway, I just haven’t been on the WWW, have been doing a lot of reading, and trying like heck to be ok. It is hot, humid, stormy…30 miles NW of us had hail the size of melons the other night. That is even excessive for Texas. My personal pity party…I want to be able to do things like I used to. And, since I can’t, it just pisses me off. I like the cabinets and the butcher top. The people in Texas are nuts…everything is back open, but less than half are wearing masks or keeping distance. We are continuing to stay home with Mike only going to buy groceries q 2 weeks. Drive thru at pharmacy and we are still disinfecting everything before it is brought into the house. I think we are in for a few months until we truly know what we are dealing with. My heart breaks for so many deaths. Stay safe.
    Xxoo Margarett

  8. Margarett, sorry to hear you’ve been in a rough patch, family occasions can be so challenging to inner balance! For me, doing something to acknowledge my grief is my only way forward. When my Granny died I was younger and I cried off and on for years. When my Auntie died I lit a candle and sat and thought about her for an evening, that helped a bit. When my brother died I gathered soil from his favourite spot on earth, and water from the lake where he loved to fish, to bring to his grave, that helped a bit. But the anniversay dates of loss are rough for me, But the actual anniversary dates of birthdays, anniversaries, they are rough, and I guess that can be the nature of grief.
    Here no one wears masks, well that is an exaggeration, we saw two people wearing masks when we did a no-contact pickup at the local nursery, but the rest of the customers were acting as if nothing at all was going on in the world. The deaths are heartbreaking.
    Stay safe dear friend!

  9. Sandy, I’ve not had a walk in pantry in any of my homes, lucky you! My Great Aunt had a wonderful pantry off her kitchen, which I remember because it was in her pantry that she kept her delicious homemade Chelsea Buns, always worth a wee visit to my Great Auntie’s house.

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