I am launching a new tab on the blog inspired by The Evolution of My Kitchen!
Below, you’ll find my past and present kitchens (along with a small description of each). Like many, my kitchen has evolved a lot over the years. Each kitchen was unique and had valuable things to teach me about the way a functional kitchen lends tremendous value to a whole foods lifestyle.
The Apartment Kitchen
This kitchen was a great little starter kitchen. In the early years of my marriage my self esteem, when it came to cooking, was a zero. I spent many hours on the phone with my Aunt Kim as she patiently guided me step by step through a recipe and explained instructions that sometimes felt like another language. I was always very nervous about dinner. I really wanted Brady’s approval and spent hours every day trying to prepare meals that were catered to his tastes.
The Duplex Kitchen
When we were ready to get a place of our own, we decided to purchase a duplex instead of a house. The idea was to live in one side and rent out the other. In many places in Texas, it’s easy to find very affordable housing. We were able to purchase a duplex for $110,000. 1200 sqft of living space on both sides with a quarter acre lot for each tenant. This was the first kitchen we ever owned.
It was small and lacked good counter or pantry space but it felt huge in comparison to what we had before. This is where I became more comfortable and adventurous with my cooking. This is also where I had my first big push to lose weight after we had our second baby.
I went from 240 pounds after delivery to 174 pounds by the time my little guy was was 1 years old. I began researching and learning about whole foods nutrition. I got hooked on food documentaries like Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Forks over Knives. Making it a lifestyle change seemed attainable. Incidentally helpful, this little duplex was far far away from fast, convenience food. Even if I wanted it, I couldn’t have it unless I drove an hour round trip!
The Fixer Upper Kitchen
This was my nightmare kitchen. After about a year of living in the duplex we decided to buy a fixer upper for $40,000. We were going to live in it while renovating. With two babies under two and pregnant with our third… we must have been crazy ya’ll. Lord have mercy! The things you do for love.
Brady demoed the entire downstairs of the house and we lived upstairs. We converted one of the bedrooms into a laundry room/kitchen. I had a makeshift sink and a stove/oven that didn’t work. I did all my cooking on a hot plate or in a toaster oven. No table. No microwave. No pantry. No cupboards.
This is where we lived when Brady bought me the Instant Pot. He did it out of necessity, as you can see! I gave up cooking in that house and unfortunately, gained back all the weight I had lost after my second baby.
After a year of living through a Texas summer and winter without acceptable a/c or heat and with windows from the early 1900’s, we hadn’t made enough progress to justify continuing the reno and decided to call it quits. The only good thing that ever came out of that kitchen (and house) was my husband’s decision to buy me an Instant Pot, bless him.
The Dream House Kitchen
At this point, we decided to sell both of our properties (duplex and fixer upper) and invest in our dream property. With 40 acres (over half heavily forested), two creeks, and a pond, it was the little (BIG) ranch my husband had always dreamed about. I can’t tell you how overjoyed I was to cook in this lovely kitchen.
I loved everything about it. Every single nook and cranny. My passion for cooking was reignited. This is where my daughter was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and we began our first HUGE diet change. We went on a very strict elimination diet called the Autoimmune Protocol Diet. But because her flares were so weather driven, we didn’t see much of a change in her health while living in Texas. I knew that our diet was making a difference though as our 6th pregnancy was by far, my healthiest. I barely gained any weight, my labs were all fantastic, and I brought a healthy baby to term, which was miraculous for us.
We would have stayed there forever…
The Bigger Apartment Kitchen
After we realized the weather in Texas was aggravating our daughter’s condition, we decided to do something radical. We relocated to San Diego, California. We stayed in this sweet, little apartment in La Jolla right near the beach while we house hunted.
I loved this little apartment. It wasn’t grand or fancy but it was functional and I had a Whole Foods and an amazing beach only minutes away!
The New House Kitchen
If you’ve watched any of my Facebook Lives, you’ll recognize this kitchen! This is the kitchen where all the magic happened. When I moved into this kitchen, I was 220 lbs. A year later when I left it, I was 135 lbs. The layout and use of space was spectacular. Totally functional and completely beautiful.
If there was one thing that I’d change, it’d be the counter space. I would have given myself just a touch more.
Honestly, my weight loss has always coincided with the kitchens I’m most happy to cook in. In kitchens that are functional and well laid out, I’ve been the most successful. Good kitchen functionality coupled with good appliances makes this lifestyle change so much easier.
The Forever Home Kitchen
You still with me? I’ve shown you a lot of kitchens!
Last month we bought a new home. Our previous home never really felt like it was a fit for our family. We knew we wouldn’t stay there long. The home was too small for all five of us. On top of that, our daughter does better the further we are from the coast. For these reasons, we decided to leave San Diego and head to the California desert.
We were able to downsize our mortgage by almost $1,500 dollars a month. We also got a little more elbow room. We are absolutely in love with our new house and property and have no plans to move ever again.
It looks beautiful but looks can be deceiving.
- The biggie: it’s missing the kitchen work triangle. In any kitchen, the oven/stove, sink, and refrigerator should form a triangle (known as the Kitchen Work Triangle). If the kitchen is missing this, it lacks efficiency. The space itself can look as pretty as a picture but without it, productivity can be seriously hindered.
- There are only two upper cabinets in the kitchen, one above the microwave and one above the refrigerator. Both are small and too high up to store anything other than occasional use items.
- Everything else is drawers y’all. DRAWERS. I get it. You need em for silverware, they’re handy for pots and pans, but where do I put my Instant Pot? They can’t always live a happy little life on the counter. I have three of them! Where do I put my wine glasses? Or any glass that I don’t want my one year old to have access to? What about anything that’s taller than 10 inches?
- Call this kitchen the appliance graveyard. If you’ve been following my Instagram Stories you know my kitchen saga. There were a lot of things that we didn’t discover until after we moved in (let’s not talk about it). With regards to the kitchen: the dishwasher can’t be used, the oven doesn’t heat properly, the freezer door, ice maker, and water dispenser all have issues, and the faucet and garbage disposal both don’t work properly.
- Let’s talk color. Holy mismatch Batman! I’m a color pallet person. If you pay attention to the color scheme here, you can see that that island color clashes with the floor color. This space is also very busy. Between the busy counter top, busy floor pattern, and wood grain island, it’s a lot. Not to mention, the different colored textured wood beams in the dinning room. There’s a lot of busyness going on here.
Because of all of the above issues, we’re left with two choices. We can either: 1) Sink a lot of money into this space and fix the existing issues, even though the layout drives me bonkers OR 2) We can roll up our sleeves, get our hands dirty, and take everything that we’ve learned from our 6 previous kitchens and create our own, dream kitchen.
It’s something I’ve always wanted to do since the disastrous nightmare (fixer upper) house but haven’t yet had a chance to!
Option 1 really isn’t an option! So we’ve decided to embark on an Instant Loss Kitchen Reno!
For those of you who follow me on Instagram, this won’t come as a surprise. Ya’ll are seriously so much fun to hang out with throughout the day. Many of you have given amazing input which has truly helped when weighing the benefits and risks of embarking on a project this big!
I’m going to start posting updates about the process soon. You can catch all of the action under the My Kitchen tab on the blog. I’ll share about the reno, my favorite kitchen items, things I think are necessary, pantry tips, etc.
Nothing ‘Kitchen’ is off-limits!