Expat Life / General

An Introduction to My Kitchen

I am dealing with a slow as molasses internet connection tonight and facing my usual delayed bedtime. My original plan was to post pictures of my now completed Expat Kimchi kitchen, but for some reason, the technology is not working for me right now. So, today I am going to tell you about the kitchen and tomorrow I will show.

Renovating a house is stressful and tasking. I think this is where the Fremdsprache (foreign language) boundaries make the situation even harder. I can talk hours about pregnancy, childcare, toddler development and grade school issues auf Deutsch. But, I find myself wringing my hands when I am talking to our architect getting an update on the Baustelle (construction site). To be fair, I think that my limits would be reached if we were in the same situation in America. So maybe it isn’t a Fremdsprache thing: Renovating sucks in whatever country.

We’ve hit a number of stumbling blocks, no big surprise when overhauling a house built in 1964. Walls unexpectedly tipped over while we replaced and raised the roof, the painter declared that actually extra insulation in the basement is in fact needed although originally unplanned, and … honestly, I don’t want to think of anything else. No, renovating a house is not for the faint hearted.

I’ve also dealt with some second guessing with the cosmetic decisions we’ve made. “Hmm, the master bedroom paint color looks purplish in some corners. I didn’t want a purple wall. But, oh well.” Or worse has been realising that the tiles in the seldom to be used guest toilet in the basement were not laid correctly. It looks a bit of an eyesore now, but, again, oh well. Luckily, these are small things that I can live with. At least in the case of the master bedroom wall where I do spend time every day, I am not talking about suffocating in Barney’s embrace. The color in question is called Dove Tale (the color looks nothing like this in real life as on the website) and actually harmonises well with the small chandelier, espresso and white furniture and off white tufted bed we brought with us from America.

This and the unfortunate guest toilet have been small trade offs for one the best parts of this renovation and that is getting a great kitchen. We have gotten to experience the feeling of hitting a home run, and let me tell you, I am so glad that it’s here and not in the guest toilet. This is perhaps the single most important area in our family life; it is deeply satisfying to feel so good to be in that kitchen.

We made the choice to design and order the kitchen in Aalen instead of in Essen. This was the one way we could ensure taking high Swabian standards with us. We paid a bit more for the travel costs and labor for installation, but it was worth every penny. We were well advised and guided by Familie Lipp who listened to our usage and made recommendations accordingly. Frau Lipp recommended a cabinet front that could take the wear and tear in a high usage kitchen with small children (farewell to the glossy white finish I had originally wanted), stainless steel grips that were simple and functional and also fitting to the style of the house, and lead us to the appliances that would either fit our budget (like a solid yet simple Bosch oven) or withstand high usage (in LOVE with our five-burner induction stove top).

As for the cosmetics in this room, we loved the tiles we used for our kitchen floor in Aalen. It is a (positive) eye catcher and one that everyone raves about, so we decided to use these too. (link to follow) For the backsplash, instead of metro tiles which I think are a great classic but for wanting to do something different, I was on the hunt for something more reminiscent of Morocco. We stumbled on these surprisingly inexpensive tiles. Too bad that the area was so small so that we couldn’t have saved more money. When these tiles were finally installed, I almost squealed with delight. This kitchen is going to look awesome, I thought.

At each phase of installation of this kitchen, I haven’t been disappointed. Today, our kitchen was completed with the delivery of our refrigerator: a French door style fridge with water and ice dispenser. For Americans, this won’t seem that exotic or fancy, but this style is still new and unusual in Germany. When we lived in San Diego a couple of years ago, I was kind of disappointed that our gourmet kitchen did not have one of these. This new refrigerator was one of the consolations I offered myself when coming to terms with having to move yet again.

For now, I will end my little verbal introduction of my kitchen. Forgive me as I think this post was a bit self-congratulating and smug, a voice I deeply dislike in the blogosphere. But I am savoring a moment of 100% success during the taxing process of renovating a house. And how perfect to have a kitchen that inspires one to make more kimchi and cook anything else for that matter!


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