5 things I’ve learned from our rental house

We just hit three months living in this rental house. In the longest year of the history of the world, three months feels like an eternity. The four or five months left here seem equal to infinity and beyond.

Considering we are spending more “living” time here than we ever planned, this house really has provided everything we need. Living in a different space as had challenges and advantages. The kitchen, in particular, is a serious upgrade from the one we had.

A cutie in the kitchen.

In the spirit of making the most of it, here are a few things I’m taking with me as we get into the juicy details of our house in progress. Framing is nearly done!

1. Open shelving is not for me

The greatest thing about this rental is that the owners had just finished a complete interior update. It’s like we moved into a brand new house. The galley style kitchen is fantastic with new appliances (two wall ovens!) and a thoughtful layout, not to mention that it’s much bigger than the kitchen I had.

They opted for open shelving instead of additional cabinets. Which, for design aesthetic, was completely the right call. There is more breathing room vs. a wall full of upper cabinets. One of the first things I did while unpacking was to showcase some artwork of Vero’s and my cookbooks.

For the record, I have many many more cookbooks.

In terms of function, my glassware and serving ware just isn’t as cohesive enough to be on display. Maybe the real truth instead is that we aren’t committed to making it look nice every time we unload the dishwasher.

So while the open shelves are the best choice for this specific kitchen, they won’t be following me to the new kitchen.

2. Kitchen drawers over cabinets all day long

So I just said that I prefer upper cabinets to store glasses and plates. What changed my life is having deep drawers in the kitchen instead of lower cabinets. I can’t tell you how frustrated I got each time I had to crouch and struggle to get the right pot or pan out of the tangle of metal that was my cabinet. Now, below the range there are two deep drawers – one for pots, one for pans. Drawers on the other side hold the myriad of plastic kid cups, mixing bowls, Pyrex, and baking dishes. The fact that the kids can get their own cups and “attempt” to get their own water is a game changer.

A picture of kitchen drawers is exciting stuff.

There are some upper and lower cabinets that store the small kitchen appliances that get use every now and again, and get put back right after use. Not having to use counter space for storage is so nice. The exception, of course, is the space for coffee making. That’s non-negotiable.

3. Essential pantry items belong right next to the stove.

This should be a fundamental kitchen truth. The smartest kitchens I’ve seen have cabinets on either side of the range to store cooking oils, vinegars and spices to easily reach when it’s time to add to the dish. I don’t have this in the rental kitchen, nor did I have it in my old kitchen. It’s definitely more obvious here as the pantry cabinet and the stove are at opposite points of the space. Fortunately, the new kitchen will solve this for me and I can up my cooking game.

4. Flow is everything

Another obvious truth! This rental is about the same square footage as the original house. Though the floor plan makes it seem smaller. The living room is the central hub of the house, and while not far from the kitchen, the wall between them closes everything off. A true open floor plan wouldn’t work because you’d sacrifice too much of the kitchen, but I could make a case for widening this doorway as a start.

I won’t harp on the floor plan too much, because what it doesn’t have in flow it makes up in storage. We didn’t move everything over here, i.e. boxes upon boxes of books and records, but somehow we have been able to put away almost everything. Which brings me to my next discovery.

5. No matter how much storage we have, crap still ends up everywhere.

The normal state of things.

I don’t know if it’s the space or the amount of time we spend here, but the house explodes with clutter everyday. Who am I kidding, it’s definitely the latter. I have found a place for every single thing so everything has a place. But, because every place here is truly living space, nothing is safe. At our house, we had the front living room that we mostly stayed away from, so when J or I needed a place to escape the chaos, we could count on that room to be comfy and orderly. Our bedroom was also upstairs, and it was the only space upstairs, so we had some sort of control over what kid clutter went up and down the stairs.

In the remodeled house, the kids’ bedrooms will be upstairs. Plus, they’ll have an open playroom on the landing. This means the kid clutter can stay up there and I don’t have to look at it if I don’t want to look at it. I won’t want to look at it.

We’re really lucky to have found this rental house. It even has a fenced yard for Roux and friendly dog neighbors. And, while I can’t wait to get out of it, it’s definitely serving its purpose well.

2 thoughts

  1. Learning never gets old. Knowing what works and what doesn’t is a life skill that requires exposure to possibilities. It gladdens me to see that you have the ability to adapt to the needs of your situation. In doing so you create a road map for others to follow.

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