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

m
mike2401 Feb 10, 2013 03:37 AM

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

 
 
 
  1. Ruthie789 Feb 21, 2013 03:50 PM

    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...

    1. h
      HungryHoya Feb 21, 2013 03:36 PM

      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
        m
        mike2401 Feb 21, 2013 07:35 PM

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

        1. re: mike2401
          h
          HungryHoya Feb 21, 2013 07:49 PM

          These might make it easier to picture:

           
           
          1. re: HungryHoya
            Ruthie789 Feb 21, 2013 07:53 PM

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

      2. m
        Ms.M Feb 21, 2013 10:34 AM

        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
          m
          mike2401 Feb 21, 2013 10:37 AM

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

          thx

          mike

        2. c oliver Feb 11, 2013 03:59 PM

          http://www.thefind.com/search?query=french+kitchen+island

          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. Robin Joy Feb 10, 2013 11:35 PM

            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/home-storage/wicker-basket-storage-tower?cr=fgl&gclid=COSL9pXerbUCFQtb3godvT0Aig

            Or this:

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

            Actually just google vegetable storage baskets and select images.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Robin Joy
              m
              mike2401 Feb 11, 2013 06:16 AM

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

            2. m
              mike2401 Feb 10, 2013 07:18 PM

              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
                c oliver Feb 10, 2013 07:30 PM

                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
                  m
                  mike2401 Feb 10, 2013 07:36 PM

                  I live in philadelphia, only 15 minutes from ikea.

                  That's a great suggestion!

                  Thx

                  1. re: mike2401
                    c oliver Feb 10, 2013 07:43 PM

                    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
                    m
                    mike2401 Feb 21, 2013 09:30 AM

                    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
                      c oliver Feb 21, 2013 09:57 AM

                      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
                        m
                        masha Feb 21, 2013 01:42 PM

                        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
                          m
                          mike2401 Feb 21, 2013 01:49 PM

                          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
                            m
                            masha Feb 21, 2013 01:56 PM

                            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
                              c oliver Feb 21, 2013 05:22 PM

                              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
                                m
                                mike2401 Feb 21, 2013 07:29 PM

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

                                1. re: c oliver
                                  m
                                  mike2401 Feb 21, 2013 07:32 PM

                                  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
                                    c oliver Feb 21, 2013 07:40 PM

                                    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: c oliver
                                      m
                                      mike2401 Feb 21, 2013 08:41 PM

                                      That's an amazing difference!

                                      1. re: mike2401
                                        c oliver Feb 21, 2013 08:52 PM

                                        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.

                                    2. re: mike2401
                                      c oliver Feb 21, 2013 07:48 PM

                                      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 :)

                            2. re: c oliver
                              Sarah Feb 21, 2013 04:24 PM

                              You could start here -
                              http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/categories/departments/kitchen/10471/
                              http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/cat...

                              1. re: Sarah
                                c oliver Feb 21, 2013 05:27 PM

                                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
                                  m
                                  mike2401 Feb 21, 2013 07:34 PM

                                  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
                                    c oliver Feb 21, 2013 07:43 PM

                                    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.

                            3. r
                              rasputina Feb 10, 2013 08:22 AM

                              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-table-with-stainless-steel-top-49/145625.ip?navAction=

                              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. letsindulge Feb 10, 2013 07:36 AM

                                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
                                  c oliver Feb 10, 2013 07:55 AM

                                  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
                                    r
                                    rasputina Feb 10, 2013 08:27 AM

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

                                    1. re: letsindulge
                                      m
                                      mike2401 Feb 10, 2013 07:21 PM

                                      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
                                        m
                                        mike2401 Feb 10, 2013 07:22 PM

                                        can you share a picture of your setup?

                                      2. m
                                        masha Feb 10, 2013 06:44 AM

                                        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
                                          m
                                          mike2401 Feb 10, 2013 07:06 AM

                                          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
                                            Ruthie789 Feb 21, 2013 07:37 PM

                                            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
                                              m
                                              mike2401 Feb 21, 2013 07:42 PM

                                              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. c
                                            CanadaGirl Feb 10, 2013 05:18 AM

                                            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
                                              c
                                              calliope_nh Feb 10, 2013 05:33 AM

                                              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
                                                m
                                                mike2401 Feb 10, 2013 06:32 AM

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

                                                Thanks!

                                              2. re: CanadaGirl
                                                m
                                                mike2401 Feb 10, 2013 06:33 AM

                                                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
                                                  k
                                                  kaleokahu Feb 10, 2013 11:20 PM

                                                  "...inside the fridge..."

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

                                                2. m
                                                  mike2401 Feb 10, 2013 03:55 AM

                                                  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
                                                    r
                                                    rasputina Feb 10, 2013 08:25 AM

                                                    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
                                                      m
                                                      mike2401 Feb 10, 2013 07:20 PM

                                                      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
                                                      k
                                                      ksbikecommuter Feb 10, 2013 09:36 PM

                                                      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
                                                        m
                                                        mike2401 Feb 11, 2013 06:17 AM

                                                        great tip, thank you!

                                                        1. re: ksbikecommuter
                                                          m
                                                          mike2401 Feb 21, 2013 09:31 AM

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

                                                          1. re: ksbikecommuter
                                                            m
                                                            mike2401 Feb 23, 2013 05:32 AM

                                                            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
                                                              c oliver Feb 23, 2013 07:36 AM

                                                              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.

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