Fed up with cleanup, a thrifty cook transforms her second home's space.
April 18, 2014
1 of 6Photo: Chad Holder
A Penny-Wise Makeover
In 2006, Grand Rapids, Michigan--based couple Sandy and Todd Avis purchased a 1,200-square-foot cottage in their favorite Lake Michigan vacation spot: the village of Empire. Though charming, it didn't have much kitchen, and a tight second-home budget didn't allow for a complete redo. "Band-Aid" fixes helped, but undersize appliances and a tiny sink made cooking and cleanup a chore.
With a mere $5,000 put aside, Sandy launched a penny-wise makeover that gave the space a dishwasher, a modern sink, a new stove and fridge, fresh paint, and extra storage. Now, the whole family is more efficient in the kitchen. The result? "We have more time for hiking, bike riding, and the beach."
2 of 6Photo: Chad Holder
What Makes this A Cook’s Kitchen?
Curtain Call: Existing built-in cabinets and a delicate network of heating pipes under the tile floor put major construction out of the question, especially on Sandy's budget. But windows fill the room with air and sun, and a thick pine counter offers yards of work space above drawers organized for holding flatware, paper goods, and towels and cupboards for cookware and hand appliances. Shelves below the counter are hidden with a cottage-style curtain, a budget-wise alternative to adding new cabinets.
3 of 6Photo: Chad Holder
A sink cabinet and an old farmhouse hutch topped with woven baskets add extra storage, while floating shelves accommodate everyday dishes. Measuring 31 by 21 by 7 inches, this stainless steel Ikea sink easily holds winter stew pots and summer corn steamers.
4 of 6Photo: Chad Holder
Color Cues and Open Shelves
Sandy's beach-glass palette pulls modern and vintage elements together and echoes the views of the surrounding trees, lake, and beach. The sink, dishwasher, and fridge sit conveniently side by side, with the stove opposite, just steps away.
Inexpensive Ikea shelves make filing away dishes easier. "None of my three boys can say, 'I don't know where it goes,' " Sandy says. A collection of wavy green ceramics from R. Wood in Athens, Georgia, adds interest.
5 of 6Photo: Chad Holder
After researching energy-efficient brands and models, Sandy saved big on her stainless suite by waiting to buy until her picks went on sale. She chose her dishwasher (a Kenmore, like her stove) for its clean-lined, space-saving flat front, and her Samsung fridge for its brushed finish ("it doesn't show fingerprints").
6 of 6Photo: Chad Holder
Stackable Crate & Barrel chairs in the eat-in area have graphic curves that contrast pleasingly with surrounding lines. A sisal rug from Pottery Barn is forgiving with beach sand and pet hair from the family's two golden retrievers. After carefully marking stripes with tape, Sandy painted the pendant shade herself.