Kitchen skirts, or: hiding ugly beginners’ mistakes

Rentals in Germany can be a specific kind of hell. Why? Because they sometimes come without a kitchen. Yes, you read that right. You rent an apartment, and then you have to buy a kitchen for it. Before I go on, I want to say that I love our little cozy nest. We were lucky to find something affordable in the affluent urban sprawl around Stuttgart. After all, it stole the title of “most expensive German city for renters” from Munich in 2019. However, one of the drawbacks was that we had to buy a kitchen.

Our kitchen in 2018, a few months after it was installed.

Neither Philip nor I had ever bought a kitchen, or had ever made such a large purchase in our life. Our inexperience made us very insecure, of course. That’s why we made a few mistakes when planning this kitchen. One of them was the fridge situation. Namely, we didn’t buy a built-in fridge with the kitchen because we were terrified of the mounting costs of every extra detail. I didn’t find a better picture, but you can see on the one above that we had first borrowed a fridge from my mother and just shoved it in the empty space reserved on the bottom left. We had planned to buy our actual fridge later once we had the money. However, we soon realized that a fridge that size was too small for our needs. (We just like to cook a lot!) That’s why we bought a bigger fridge – which of course didn’t fit in the space originally reserved for it. We put it in the corner across the room of the kitchen unit, but this meant that there was an empty hole in our kitchen. It was, to be honest, aesthetically unpleasant, and continued to be a constant source of vexation for me.

Lately we’ve tackled some long-overdue projects in the kitchen. In an effort to create more storage space, we mounted a shelf with radiator shelf brackets on top of our heater. It was extremely annoying to install the brackets, but I love the result so much! I put my rice cooker (must-have in an Asian household!) and our cookbooks on it.

Here’s another way we’ve created storage space with shelving units:

DIY kitchen shelves

I love our kitchen, but it is small. This is why I’m on a mission to squeeze as much storage space out of this room as possible! I’ve been pondering for a while what to do with the empty wall on the right of the picture above. At first I toyed with the idea of…

We also bought three of these IKEA waste containers that you can stack on top of each other. I was tickled pink when I discovered that IKEA sells stickers for them so you can indicate which waste goes in which container. I guess my enthusiasm for waste seperation is something deeply German? We chose to use the three containers that fit in the empty space for paper, empties, and waste glass. Anyway, that corner in the kitchen now looked better than it ever had before – I had always not-so-affectionately called it the “garbage dump”. I still thought that it’d look better if we found a way to cover that hole in the kitchen unit altogether. If only someone in this household could sew and had a huge fabric stash, a kitchen skirt would be the perfect solution!

Since I can in fact sew and have a huge fabric stash, I went on a little excursion to the hardware store in order to buy a tension cafe rod. Luckily, I already had mostly finished curtains in my pile of abandoned projects. I had intended to put them up in the bedroom, but then my sewing machine broke and the curtains were put away and half forgotten. Now I just had to shorten them and hem the bottom. Thank you, past Tabea, for this very quick project.

I’m very happy with the result. It almost looks intentional! I guess we’ll see how the kitchen skirt’s going to hold up. It’s in imminent danger from two very curious cats, one of which has a personal vendetta against textiles like curtains, blankets, and tablecloths.

No, not that one, thankfully. She just wants cuddles.

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