Our Temporary Kitchen Setup in the Basement
My biggest worry about the entire kitchen renovation was living in a construction zone without a kitchen. What would we eat? How would we do dishes? How would we clean bottles for Rory? How could we set up a functional temporary kitchen?
While it hasn’t been super glamorous, it’s been totally doable and that’s mostly due to the amazing temporary kitchen Finn created in our basement. He is a guy who likes to solve problems (especially when the solutions involves lots of shopping on Amazon), and he made a system down here that is working well for our family. Now, would I want to live like this forever? Hell no. But for now, it’s getting the job done. Let’s take a look around…
The Pantry Area
As soon as you walk down the stairs, you’re greeted with our pantry area. We keep our dry foods in this little pull-out storage unit that we had in our former pantry. This little organizer works great and holds lots! On the table, we have napkins, silverware, plates, etc. We’ve been using real dishware when possible, but sometimes it’s easiest to just grab a paper plate.
Down below, we keep clear bins for dirty dishes. We put our dirty dishes in there and then at the end of the day we’ll take everything upstairs to wash in the bathroom. (More on that system below.)
Finn does say that it’s a bit tough having all of the snacks so close to his desk, but for me, it has been great! I have to go all the way down to the basement to get anything to eat, so I’m not munching on random stuff all day. I’ll take it!
The Essentials (Coffee & Bottles)
In the next little area, you’ll find our coffee maker and Rory’s bottle maker. Both are essential appliances for our family! I am so happy that we ended up getting the Baby Brezza machine to make Rory’s bottles. We can make one in about fifteen seconds and it’s incredibly convenient. Finn uses an electric kettle to boil water to fill the back of the machine once a day and the top has the formula right in it. You push a button and it churns out the correct sized bottle that is all warmed up. It’s like magic!
Down below, we keep all of Rory’s clean bottles so we can just grab them from there and make one really quickly. We also keep her spoons, bib, tray, etc for her “real food.”
The last area down here is the cooking zone. Here we have our old microwave from the kitchen (isn’t it ginormous when it isn’t mounted above the range?!), a toaster oven, hot plate, and toaster. We also have our crockpot and Instapot handy for cooking. Down below, we keep a few tools and pans for cooking.
Our Fridges & Freezer
We bought this mini fridge to keep downstairs and in it we mainly keep Rory’s baby food and daily snacks for us. We moved the large refrigerator from our old kitchen to the garage and in there we keep most of our daily food, bottled water, La Croix, etc. We also still use that freezer. Our plan will be to keep the fridge in there, even when our kitchen is done, so we have a spot for more drinks and overflow of food. And I suppose we may even keep the mini fridge down here, too, for Finn to keep sparkling water and snacks during his work day.
It’s a bit of a pain to get to the big fridge. You either have to go out the front door and through the fence to the garage, or through the messy kitchen. But there are bigger problems in the world than a large trek to a fridge stocked with food!
Doing Dishes in the Bathtub
As I mentioned, we put our dirty dishes and bottles in a large bin throughout the day. Then, at the end of the day, Finn brings it up and washes the dishes in our guest room bathtub. We keep soap, a scrub brush, and our drying rack for bottles up here. It’s a bit of a hot mess, but it gets the job done. We also have a slop sink in the storage unit, but the workers have been using that area since they tore open the ceiling to move the plumbing/electric/water lines, so we haven’t been washing dishes there.
What We’ve Been Eating
You guys know that I’m not a big cook, so this hasn’t changed my eating habits too much. The biggest help for quick meals are Daily Harvest items and salads from Farmer’s Fridge. I have a few Daily Harvest bowls in the freezer that I can warm up in the microwave if I want something hot. I’ve also been getting salads delivered once a week from Farmer’s Fridge. It’s nice because everything comes in a little jar and I can just throw in a bowl and I’m good to go. (It’s much easier than buying the individual ingredients for a salad.) Finn gets a few items from them too (their falafel and burrito bowls are amazing) and that’s how we’ve been making do with lunch! Other than that, it’s been a lot of eggs, oatmeal, and toast. (Can you tell we like breakfast foods?) I think we’ll have to get the Instapot and crockpot going too!
See, I told you things are far from glamorous around here. But who am I to complain? I’m soon going to have a brand new kitchen! I keep thinking about the finish line and it makes the dust, mess, and overall chaos of our house much more bearable.
Catch Up On Our Kitchen Renovation
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.