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Funky Kitchens

I’ve seen and heard horror stories about kitchen renovations—deadlines missed, budgets exceeded. I asked my friend Jean about a kitchen upgrade that I remembered her complaining about on facebook six months ago and was surprised to learn that it had just been completed last week. At one point, she resorted to washing her dishes in the bathroom because of a countertop installation. “Food and the bathroom,” she said, “avoid this combination if at all possible.” Noted.

But there are more affordable and less stressful ways to redo an existing kitchen for both aesthetics and utility. Colour is the easiest and most obvious answer to make a quick, dramatic difference, and a new coat of paint can transform any room, but it’s not the only technique to enliven a too-familiar kitchen. I can imagine a set of purple dish towels adding a bright splash to a stainless steel, dark wood and granite kitchen. Or a set of kitchen knives in tangerine or baby blue. When a tool that serves a purpose is also pretty, I tend to use it more. I’m sure if I had one of those persimmon KitchenAid mixers, I’d be baking every weekend.

  Photos by Traci O'Dea.

Another way to improve a kitchen is by making it more efficient. When I asked my sister if she’d encountered any snafus during her recent kitchen rehaul, she said no, but when she had to empty the room for demolition, she was horrified by “realizing how much stuff I had packed into the cabinets.” Jane Keegan from Arawak Interiors has introduced several lines of helpful kitchen products. “We live in a tiny house with hardly any storage,” she said as she pointed out a red rubber and stainless steel trapezoidal cheese grater that folds flat to fit into a drawer. On a nearby shelf, rainbow-coloured nesting bowls also contain a set of measuring cups. Jane cited her history of working on boats as a reason why she’s conscious of functionality and space limitations. She also mentioned something that I would not have considered—handleability. “When you’re on a boat, you want to have one hand free for holding on,” she said and showed me some brightly hued double bowls for chips and dip and a lime green salad bowl with a handle.


A stack of cutting boards, colour-coded for different food types, represent more of Arawak’s design-conscious products. A handled one locks flat for cutting then bends into a scoop shape for easily emptying chopped veggies into a waiting pot. Another one folds into an open triangle with a perforated end for rinsing and draining. They’re attractive and useful, and, because they serve several purposes, they reduce kitchen clutter.

Most people renovate their kitchens for beautification or upgraded functionality. These results can be achieved on a small scale without any major inconvenience with the purchase of attractive, multipurpose kitchen tools and accessories. And a minor renovation eliminates the possibility of having to bathe with dirty dishes. 

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