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Fruit/Veggie storage in small home: Hack my kitchen layout please . . .

I live in a one bedroom condo in the city. Below are the pictures of my kitchen and dining room table.

I recently went on the Paleo diet and am now eating lots of veggies, fruits, meat & fish (most of my food cooked at home).

Consequently, the little fruit bowl on my dining room table no longer fits my needs.

Obviously, I could clear off the top of the fridge and store fruits & veggies there, but that doesn't seem ideal from a viewing & reaching perspective.

Since eating healthy is now a big part of my life, I'm open to making that the center-piece of my dining room table.

Can anyone suggest a good way to store/display my fruits and veggies on my dining room table? Though I'm open to 2 "fruit bowls", I'd love to get something cool that is one piece, bigger/longer.

Alternatively, if anyone has a clever idea or tips on storing veggies/fruits on top of the fridge, please share that as well.

Thanks for any tips,
Mike

 
 
 
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  1. Oh, I forgot the last photo which is the wall to the left of the fridge:

    I'm considering a big investment and building a custom piece of furniture on this wall for additional prep area and cooking gear storage.

    I'd love to have more counter space and prep area with a dedicated spot for my vitamix. Last year, I would have wanted a dedicated spot for my bread machine but that's now gathering dust in my closet.

    Thanks for any thoughts,
    Mike

    PS: I just realized that today is the last day for the Philadelphia home show. I'm going to walk down there later this morning and try and get inspired.

     
    7 Replies
    1. re: mike2401

      I'd move the hutch to the dining room wall and put 2 stainless work tables where the hutch is now. You'd gain counter space and storage from the lower shelf. Unless you want to bring in a construction crew and build a wing of upper and lower cabinets with counter.

      1. re: rasputina

        no real room for anything else in the living room. I'm resigned to giving away the existing piece.

        Per the picture I just posted, I do want to fully utilize the space (floor to ceiling)

        Thx
        Mike

      2. re: mike2401

        Considering your interest in modifying your kitchen and possibly new cabinets to replace the hutch I would suggest taking your questions to GardenWebs kitchen forum.

        http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/kitch...

        The people there can work within any budget and provide lots of guidance.

          1. re: ksbikecommuter

            I'm signing up for an account as we speak!
            Thanks for the tip!

            1. re: ksbikecommuter

              OMG: I'm in kitchen remodeling heaven!

              I received lots of help and great suggestions for cabinet configurations, color choice, and if the quote I got for $200/square foot for Cabria quartz counters was a total rip-off.

              I'm letting the wisdom of the crowd help me pick the counter color, etc:

              http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/...

              Thanks again!
              Mike

              1. re: mike2401

                Thanks for sharing that. I've intended to visit that site so this was a good reminder. BTW, I think the advice to get rid of the stuff on your fridge is ridiculous. You're not doing a designer showhouse. You LIVE there. I like having all sorts of pix on my fridge.

          2. I'm not sure if it will do what you want, but what about a tiered basket for the produce. I have seen some nice ones at various spots, including Costco. I am thinking of this style, although they come plain and fancy.

            Also, just wondering why the inside of the fridge isn't part of the equation?

             
            4 Replies
            1. re: CanadaGirl

              The basket is the first thing I thought of too.
              I think the heat on top of the fridge would make for poor produce storage.

              1. re: calliope_nh

                Great point about heat on top of fridge; that never would have occurred to me.

                Thanks!

              2. re: CanadaGirl

                Though I can't hang one of theses anywhere, a multi-level fruit/veggie thing on the table might work.

                If anyone saw a cool one, please let me know.

                Thanks!

                1. re: CanadaGirl

                  "...inside the fridge..."

                  Indeed. And also a facsimile of a stillroom or unheated butler's pantry.

                2. If it's within your budget and the space is wide enough (not clear from the pictures), I'd place a "microwave" cart on the open wall, adjacent to the free-standing cupboard. Place one bowl of fruit there and the other on your dining room table.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: masha

                    I like your idea of storing some of the veggies on that wall, and some on the dining room table.

                    Actually, the more I'm thinking about it, I'm going to do a major kitchen improvement project and do either custom cabinets if I can't find exactly what I'm looking for.

                    I'd like to fully utilize the wall: 20"-24" deep by 6'-7' wide, floor to ceiling: 8' high.

                    Mike

                    1. re: mike2401

                      It looks like you have a free wall to put cabinets with a counter. You don`t seem to have much workspace on your present counter.

                      1. re: Ruthie789

                        Though adding a counter and upper & lower cabinets will make my already narrow kitchen even more narrow, I'm totally convinced I want more counter space.

                        I tend to do heavy paleo cooking in the morning. A few days ago, I was making pressure cooker chicken & chicken soup, making scrambled eggs, boiling water and trying to assemble lunch, etc. It was madness!!!!

                    2. If you like the industrial look you might consider NSF certified chrome shelving, and wood crates. I have them in my kitchen, and pantry to store my cookware, small appliances, and "collection" of serve wear.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: letsindulge

                        Is that like the big, shelving unit that Costco sells? I have one of those and LOVE it. It IS my pantry and I like the idea of crates for certain things. I have a huge wooden bowl on it with produce that doesn't require refrigeration. BTW, once bananas are ripe, they can go in the fridge. The peels turn dark but the fruit is fine.

                        1. re: letsindulge

                          Those are nice too, I have 3 of them in a spare room with cookware on them.

                          1. re: letsindulge

                            because the other half of my kitchen is white/wood cabinets, I'm leaning more towards something similar (though I love funky modern). If I come across a picture of that, it might sway me.

                            Mike

                            1. re: letsindulge

                              can you share a picture of your setup?

                            2. For an easy quick fix you can just install a stainless work table with lower shelf, they sell them at Sam's Club for 100 dollars. I have 2 of them in my eat in kitchen that basically extend the counter. You get counter and storage in one. And it's cheap, easy and quick to set up. They are pretty versatile too, great in the kitchen, garage, on the patio by the BBQs.

                              http://www.samsclub.com/sams/work-tab...

                              For fruits and veggies that should be stored at room temp I use a dessert stand similar to this

                              http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Home-W...

                              They come in lots of styles.

                              1. I spent 5 hours at the home show today. I got lots of business cards of kitchen contractors.

                                I think I want something like this.

                                Any guess what it might cost?

                                Thx
                                Mike

                                 
                                19 Replies
                                1. re: mike2401

                                  Where do you live? If there's an Ikea near you, I'd recommend that you check it out. We've built two of their kitchens and love them. It's all 'components' so you can build what you want. For a few hundred rather than thousands. Just a suggestion.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    I live in philadelphia, only 15 minutes from ikea.

                                    That's a great suggestion!

                                    Thx

                                    1. re: mike2401

                                      Be careful :) It's a very dangerous store!!!!! But, honestly, theire products are so well made. I look forward to reading what you think.

                                    2. re: c oliver

                                      I had Kitchen Magic come onsite to give me an estimate for new lower & upper cabinets (7 feet wide), with quartz counters.

                                      The cabinets were $8,000 and the 7 foot quartz counter was about $3,000 and a corian back splash (full height) was about $1,500.

                                      I might not be able to afford the quartz & corian. I might just do the low & high cabinets (7 foot wide) and the 7 foot counter in Formica.

                                      I will stop by ikea to see what options exist.

                                      I see that they sell 6' or 8' counters. I don't know if they cut or do custom sizes, or exactly how that works. I will investigate.

                                      1. re: mike2401

                                        IIRC, they do custom countertops but we didn't get ours from them. We're a two hour drive from the nearest IKEA so it was easier to have someone local come in, measure and install.

                                        1. re: mike2401

                                          You can always do Formica (or some other brand of laminate) now and upgrade later to quartz, corian or stone. When we put in a whole new kitchen to our house, we stayed within budget by initially installing laminate. About 10 years later we replaced the laminate with granite. Not clear to me that you plan to stay in this apt. that long, but it's a thought.

                                          1. re: masha

                                            I'm planning to stay in this condo for forever (god willing).

                                            If quartz was $6,000 for 15 feet of counter, how much might 7 feet of a formica counter top cost?

                                            If it's thousands, I'd hate to but it twice, but if it's like $500, I might be forced to.

                                            Mike

                                            1. re: mike2401

                                              Mike - It's been a while since I've put in counters but I bet you can get 7' of laminate for under $1,000, and maybe even $500. In fact, if you really wanted to save money, rather than custom laminate counter tops, you can purchase pre-fabricated laminate counters from Home Depot (and undoubtedly their competitors) at a very reasonable price if the depth you want is standard (they'll cut it to any length). I only know this because it's what we installed in our laundry room. There are a limited number of patterns available but it is an option that you might consider.

                                              1. re: mike2401

                                                We actually did a Formica brand of countertop in this latest kitchen. They take photos of things like granite, marble, etc and make the laminate from it. The repeat in only eight feet or so. It even has a texture to it. Everyone thinks it's granite. Let's see if I can load a pic that shows it. BTW, we have laminate in another kitchen which is seven years old and looks/feels brand new.

                                                We have 20ish linear feet of countertop and it was $1500 for them to come out and measure, fabricate and install.

                                                 
                                                 
                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  Looks great, and that would put the 7 feet of custom countertop at under $750 (about right). Thanks!

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    Your kitchen really looks great! Times like this, I wish I didn't live in the city. My kitchen is really small by comparison.

                                                    Mike

                                                    1. re: mike2401

                                                      Before the whole house remodel, I've attached a pic of the original a la 1960s kitchen. Oh, and the new kitchen also has a real pantry. I'm in heaven :)

                                                       
                                                        1. re: mike2401

                                                          We had a dining room (behind the kitchen in the pic), that teensy kitchen and a breakfast room. Now we have the kitchen and a dining room. Love it.

                                                      1. re: mike2401

                                                        And thanks for the kind words. I'm 65 y.o. and this is the best kitchen I've ever had. I actually have more counterspace than I need...and two almost empty drawers :)

                                                1. re: Sarah

                                                  Their 'click and drag' design software is super easy and fun. And with both kitchens, we've found them so great to work with.

                                                  1. re: Sarah

                                                    I guess I'll find out on Saturday when I go over to Ikea, but I'm really curious if they cut counters to my desired size, or are you limited to 6' or 8' and a combination of their cabinets which fit 6' or 8'.

                                                    Sadly, my desired width for the new cabinets is 7'

                                                    Mike

                                                    1. re: mike2401

                                                      Ah, I thought you were talking about custom counter TOPS. I'm close to 100% positive that the cabinet size is arbitrary. But think about it. The difference between 7' and 8 or 6 is quite small. But if you plan to stay there forever (which you probably won't but....) then you may want to pay for exactly what you want.

                                              2. Most fruit looks fine on the table, but potatoes, squash, kale etc. less so IMO.

                                                How about something like this to the left of your sehelving unit:

                                                http://www.aplaceforeverything.co.uk/...

                                                Or this:

                                                http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl...

                                                Actually just google vegetable storage baskets and select images.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Robin Joy

                                                  If I had a house-house with lots of room, they would be great. Not so much for my small space, but thanks!

                                                2. http://www.thefind.com/search?query=f...

                                                  This site has tons of pieces, something for everyone's style.

                                                  Also the recent Crate & Barrel catalog has this marble-topped island. I'd add industrial looking casters to it and move it around. Very handsome.

                                                  http://www.crateandbarrel.com/french-...

                                                  1. In addition to the suggestions for your kitchen, here are two for the dining room: First, what about a triangular tiered open pot storage unit in the corner; they come in a vaiety of styles and heights. Second, a wall mounted shelf, about 10 to 12" deep and a decent length, or even a multiple of 24 to 36 inch shelves.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Ms.M

                                                      Interesting. I might pursue that after the kitchen project. Hopefully the kitchen will yield much more usable storage and space.

                                                      thx

                                                      mike

                                                    2. I've always thought using those wall-mounted, half-circle planters to store fruits and veggies was clever. You can even use several to sort different things. They obviously take up some space on the wall (usually positioned above the counter, under the cabinets), but the shape means it doesn't prevent you from using the counter underneath it for prep. I couldn't find a picture of them being used for produce, but here's a photo of the product I am referring to, being used in another "alternative" way:

                                                       
                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: HungryHoya

                                                        Well, I wouldn't put it on the living room wall, but I guess in the kitchen would be an option.

                                                        1. re: mike2401

                                                          These might make it easier to picture:

                                                           
                                                           
                                                          1. re: HungryHoya

                                                            I have very limited space in my kitchen, that picture inspires me. I find French inspired.

                                                      2. You could get a bistro styled double basket, French inspired. Saw one at Costco. You don't seem to have much counterspace to work with, a small moveable counter for extra storage could be of interest to you? Someone has mentioned a stainless counter, which often comes on rollers, you might find this at a restaurant supplier. We have one in my area in Montreal which only does stainless counters and cupboards. Some inspiration below
                                                        http://www.astorstainlesssteel.com/en...