We have been living with our remodeled kitchen for a little over 2 months now and loving every minute of it! I’ve mentioned how much it just instantly felt right, but never really explained why. The whole new flow of the kitchen and how it ties into the living room has drastically affected how we live in the home.
The first test run of this whole new home flow was only two days after we completed the thing – Thanksgiving! Yup, I know, we were nuts. It’s not like we were trying to do that to ourselves. We didn’t even think we were gonna be hosting Thanksgiving. But when my parents live in an RV and my in-laws just moved into a new house only three weeks before, we became the default option. Especially because everyone wanted to hang out in the new, shiny kitchen.
Stress of just finishing a renovation aside, it went off without a hitch! Our parents all loved the new space. They floated around the dining area and living room where the appetizers were located, while I finished cooking behind the island and was able to be a part of the conversations. It also allowed the Moms to be a part of the cooking as they sat behind the island and taste tested. It sort of felt like group cooking. They were also able to help set the table without ever coming behind the island and causing a traffic issue with plates of hot food flying around. The whole day was basically perfect and quickly made the space feel like home. We even saved the corks from our wine and champagne from that inaugural meal and have them sitting in the window sill.
Christmas brunch was also hosted at our house with similar results. My in-laws arrived a little early and sat at the island while Jordan and I cooked up the rest of the food. As we finished each dish, we just threw food on their plates right off the stove without anyone having to move. The other thing that struck me in that moment was how intimate it felt to be able to share that experience. All having a conversation face to face while cooking feels so unique.
More times than not, the stove is set up against a wall in most kitchens. I know there are various reasons for this including ease of ventilation on an exterior wall, or not having a dining area where a kid could reach and get burned… Trust me, I had my own reservations about the stove being in the island before we did this renovation. But guys… I’m telling you this is a huge deal! You will never think of cooking the same again. It truly becomes a social experience in the home. Kind of similar to why people love going to a Hibachi grill, minus the onion volcanos and egg tricks… although I could learn 😉 We have gone from dreading cooking dinner in a dark little room alone, to getting home from work and spending time talking to one another while dinner is cooking.
If you know Jordan and I, we believe in having our own things we enjoy and can do alone. Time to feel independent and explore our own ventures. That way we never feel smothered by one another, or feel that we miss out on something because of each other and hold onto resentment. I have my blogging which takes a good bit of my time and I like to watch more TV than Jordan. It’s my relaxation time. Meanwhile, Jordan can’t seem to have an idle moment ever! He used to be a pro mountain biker, while also managing the ever expanding team. These days, he is keeping to a four day a week live streaming schedule and co-hosting podcasts about gaming, while also coaching a couple mountain biking clients. Yep! And that’s all on top of working full time jobs.
I’ll admit, that weekdays basically became us passing ships in the night. But now some nights Jordan will be cooking dinner, and I just sit at the island chatting about my day, playing with the dogs, relaxing after my long commute home. Sometimes I’m cooking, and Jordan will be sitting there on his laptop typing away preparing for a stream, or we will discuss ideas for all his projects. Cooking has become our time to come together and talk about our personal projects with one another. The kitchen island has brought us even closer together as we share in each other’s triumphs or help with a struggle. Amazing how the flow of a space can effect your relationships so much!
The kitchen island isn’t the only big change that has effected how we live. I’ve mentioned before how we never brought our TV back upstairs after the renovation. Two months later, I can still say it was a good idea and we don’t miss it one bit! We still watch TV and movies obviously, but it’s more intentional when we do. Again, it has become something we do together more often rather than one of us just plopping down and getting stuck in front of the TV (usually me.)
The TV used to be something I would turn on to entertain myself for a few moments in between activities. But inevitably I would get sucked in and end up ignoring my husband, dogs, and other responsibilities. All things I love or want to do! Sometimes I just wouldn’t do anything else for the rest of the day even if I turned on the TV at 11am. I would always feel awful about it the next day and try to do better. But I would end up in a weak moment again a few days, week or weeks later and do the same thing. This is one of the reasons I originally got rid of cable. But Hulu and Netflix still make it too easy.
So now upstairs is completely free of TVs and distractions for me! I have noticed how much more productive I am every day, and it’s an AMAZING feeling! I fill my free moments with checking my to-do list, reading an article online, listening to a podcast or playing with my pups. I’m learning more and getting to more of the projects I want to do, while having a lot less days where I feel guilty. It’s also probably one of the contributing factors as to why we just talk while cooking too! Next up for cutting back on: social media…
As much as the open concept renovation has added value to our lives, it isn’t right for every house or every family. But I can’t advocate enough for making changes to your home that will make vast improvements in your daily interactions. It doesn’t even need to be a full blow renovation like we did. Just simply move something to a new location, like we did with our TV, and see what it does for you. If you have the opportunity, make the improvements to your environment that will bring you closer together. After all, isn’t that what home is really all about?
Last modified: February 1, 2018