Kitchen conundrums

Overall, I think we did a great job on our kitchen design — maximizing a relatively small space, staying within budget, and working around multiple doorways and a large window (lovely for natural light, but does limit options).  However, a few things have come up as we’re settling into the space.

Where to put the dish drainer
Despite having a dishwasher (which we enjoy!), there are a number of things I hand wash, including pots and pans, the plastic lids to our glass Pyrex containers (trying to baby them), our water bottles, etc.  In addition to holding these items, our dish drainer houses dishes that don’t get fully dry in the dish washer and our Neti pots and the jars we use to heat our Neti water.  For us, it’s been something that is always out.

At our apartment, our sink was placed diagonally in a corner, and our dish drainer fit perfectly into what would have otherwise been dead space between the sink and the wall.  But now our sink is on an island, and the dish drainer is hogging valuable space, including what will be part of the counter for our bar-style seating.


Note: That is the clearest (i.e., least cluttered) the island has been since we moved in!

Back to what to do about the dish drainer . . . .

  1. Live with it
  2. Get a slightly smaller model and live with it
  3. Buy a dish drainer that hangs across the sink (trade-off here is less usable sink space)
  4. ??? — I’d love to hear other suggestions here.

While it’s not the end of the world, this issue makes me wish we’d flip-flopped things, putting the sink against the wall and locating the stove on the island (though that may have presented other issues), but this is what we’ve got.

Related note: We now have barstools!  I found a set of three basic wooden stools on Craigslist for thirty dollars — score!

Faucet spacing issue
Our counter tops were a bit of a splurge, and a bit of a gamble on the color (which we love).  We were told to have our faucet of choice ready on installation day.  Along with the faucet, we provided a spigot for our water filter (we bought the under-sink retrofit kit for the filter we’ve been using for several years).

On the day of the installation, neither Matthew nor I were on-site.  We left the installers a note specifying that the water filter should be installed to the left of the main water faucet, and the sprayer should be installed to the right of the main water faucet. 

The installers called Matthew at work to inquire about the spacing for the faucet and sprayer.  Not being there to see, and not being the professional installer, Matthew asked what was standard, and they replied, “Four inches.”  So they installed them with four-inch spacing . . .


. . . which, it turns out, was not really enough.  It kind of works, if you put the sprayer back in just so (i.e., facing perfectly forward) and/or don’t turn the water on all the way.  This picture was actually taken after they came back out and adjusted things slightly, pushing the main faucet a bit closer to the filtered water supply and the sprayer a bit more toward the outside.

The adjustment that was already made is basically as good as it gets without ordering a whole new slab of quartz for the island.  On one hand, this seems wasteful.  On the other hand, this was installer error, and we plan to have these counters for a long time.  Having it not right is frustrating.

If this was your kitchen, what would you do?  Live with it, or request they make it right?

To pegboard, or not to pegboard
I got the idea of pegboard for kitchen storage from reading about Julia Child’s kitchenI wasn’t sure it would work in our space, but I tagged the idea for consideration.


Fast forward to our almost-finished kitchen, and we have a wall space where pegboard would be an option.  For durability, I would use metal pegboard, rather than the fiberboard material.

We have already ordered a couple of utensil-hanging rails, so the current plan is to install those and wait and see on the pegboard, which would be the pricier option, once we buy both the metal pegboard and the accessories.  Pegboard provides lots of versatility, so that might still happen someday.

Clothesline options
This is not really kitchen-related, but I’m tossing it in here anyway.  In general, I prefer hanging laundry in the basement — because I’m a vampire, and because the sun fades things, and pollen, etc. — but we don’t have a ton of space in our basement, especially right now.  An option for outdoor clothes drying would be great.

Anyone have any favorite out-door clothesline set-ups?


  1. EcoCatLady says:

    I’m drooling over your counter tops, and the kitchen in general. It’s really just gorgeous!

    So let’s see… dish drainers. I finally just gave up on mine altogether, and I’ve been much happier with my kitchen ever since. So here’s my system – bear in mind that I live in a very dry climate. My dishwasher (it’s a Bosch) doesn’t do a good job of drying plastic, so I’m left with the same conundrum – what to do with the stuff that isn’t fully dry. I’ve finally concluded that for plastic lids, I just shake off the extra water, maybe give them a quick once over with a dish towel if they’re really drippy, and put them away even if they’re not completely dry. They live in a plastic tub anyhow, so I don’t really worry about it. I don’t use much plastic other than lids, but anything else that gets washed by hand or doesn’t get completely dry in the dishwasher gets dried by hand using a cotton dishcloth – it really doesn’t take much time. If I really feel I need to leave something out to dry (like my “squeezable glass” bike water bottle that you’re not supposed to rub the inside of), I just set it out on a clean dishcloth until it’s dry, and then put both it and the dishcloth away.

    It works much better for me because the dish drainer always just became a gathering place for clutter – homeless items would congregate there and it made the kitchen so much harder to clean.

    Not sure what I would do about the sink thing – assuming the holes are the standard size, it would be pretty easy to swap the sprayer and filter spigot, which would probably make things fit better – but it would take some getting used to having the sprayer on the wrong side.

    And… I have pegboard in my kitchen – over the stove. I’m totally shocked that this is a “thing” because I just assumed it was something the previous owner (who was a woodworker) came up with on his own. In general I like the convenience and flexibility. My kitchen doesn’t have cabinets over the stove, so it gives me storage space where there otherwise wouldn’t be any – I hang all of the cast iron there, as well as the frequently used cooking utensils. You can even get shelf holder things to put up a shelf – which is where my spices live. The only downside is that it’s sorta hard to clean. Perhaps metal would make it easier, but still, all those little holes, and you have to remove the hooks to really clean it, plus, I shudder to think how many dust bunnies are living behind it! Maybe you could rig something that could be taken down for cleaning?

    Sorry for the long comment… here’s hoping you get all these little bits figured out so you can fully enjoy your beautiful new kitchen!

    1. Melissa @ HerGreenLife says:

      Thanks — we are enjoying it 🙂

      It might be time to wean myself from the dish drainer. A friend suggested using a dish mat that gets put away when not in use. Maybe I’ll step down to something smaller first before ditching it altogether.

      Good point on cleaning considerations for the peg board, especially since kitchens collect that special greasy dust. I was considering the shelf holder for spice storage, and I’ve seen things that hold pan lids, which seems useful.

  2. EcoCatLady says:

    Oh… and clotheslines. I have a permanent one in the backyard, which is great, but you do have to clean off the lines each time you use it, and it does make a portion of the backyard sort of dedicated for that purpose. My parents have a pop-up umbrella style one which they love. Not sure what brand it is, but you sink a holder pole in the ground and then when you set it up you just stick the pole end into the holder thing. Theirs spins, which makes it really easy to hang stuff, plus you just take it down when you’re done and don’t have it cluttering up the yard. I think they make portable ones too that you can use indoors or outdoors, but I’d worry about the wind knocking them over.

    1. Melissa @ HerGreenLife says:

      Yes, I was wondering if the umbrella-style lines work well. Otherwise, we might do standard poles, but with retractable lines. The retractable lines tend to be plastic-coated and wear out faster than good ol’ cotton, but it might be worth it for the convenience.

  3. misha says:

    The kitchen looks really nice. My faucet died and my husband replaced it – we choose one of those with the sprayer that is the faucet and it pulls out – it came with a soap dispenser to replace the sprayer – we just installed it like the ;picture – i thought i would love it but the standard way put the handle fo rthe water between the faucet and soap – and the soap over the sink wherein i used to have my drainer – i have a double sink – which i see from the pix yours isnt. i have the same prob with plastic not dry out of the dishwasher – i used to use the drainer but now like ecocatlady if they are kinda dry i put em away and if they are wet i just set them on the counter over the cabinet where they go. also a couple of years ago i found on craigslist someone selling those wire grid racks you see in retail stores. i have a friend who at the time had a retail store and enabled me to go to this store over on the rock road for the thingys that allowed me to attach them to the wall. i hung 3 two x six foot panels on the wall that is between the doors and hung everything i could – this has been the absolute BEST thing i have every done for kitchen org – oh we cut one of the panels and hung it under the cabinets closet to the stove and i put all the spoons and spatulas etc on there. the big one has all my pots and pans and lids and here is the best part – all that stuff i hand wash – esp the cast iron which i rinse in HOT water – i hang it all up wet and it dries fast. the cooking utensils are a little damp out of the washer – hang em – i love love love the hanging tools. it also enabled me to have an additional cabinet devoted to food. also nothing is squeezed into the cabinets – getting the pots and pans out enable everything else to be reachable upon opening – like you can get to every thing with one hand – it took me about 9 months of tweaking to get everything just as i wanted but now my stand mixer is in a bottom cab nearest to the outlet i prefer – the food processor is the same but it and all its parts are on a tray i can pull out. i love the hanging system esp cos all the heavy stuff is easy to get – before to get to the big castiron i had to move all the smaller pans – ugh – so glad those days are over. As far as the counter, if switching the spray and the water filter would be more functional do it – over time you will get used to it. But if every time you use it you know it is gonna be naggy in you brain and it can be replaced without huge cost then i would consider – but it is difficult to tell from the pix and you guys are the ones that will be using it constantly so think about what will make you happy – maybe just swapping will be enough. We left our sink the way it is as hubby had just applied the silicone when i noticed how it would have been better to go against the “Standard”. Eventually some seal will break or something and i hope to switch it then. Oh i also will use my dishwasher as a dishdrainer sometimes. Keep us posted with your solutions. That counter is gorgeous!

    1. Melissa @ HerGreenLife says:

      I would love to see a picture of your hanging panel set up! We originally looked at the faucets with integrated, pull-down sprayers, but I was concerned that over time, the part that keeps the sprayer up in place would wear out.

      Someone else suggested adding an in-counter soap dispenser (where the sprayer is now) and then scooting the sprayer farther to the edge, which might work.

      1. misha says:

        Hi, i took a couple of pix with my phone but i am not sure how to put them here and I kinda wanted to send you a private email with them, and more contact info for me because i actually have spare panels and 4 spare wall hangers(but there is more i want to say privately), plus if you want you could stop by here when you are in tower grove south to see them – i warn you the house is not rehabbed but that has sorta started – and i wanted to give you a small amount of that natures miracle so you could test it on your closets. and i wasn’t sure if replying to the worpress comments would reach you so if you could reply to this to mishaligirl i will reply with the pix.

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