How to Survive Your Kitchen (or Lack Thereof)

Good morning, everyone! Kevin and I are trying to make the most of this rainy day in Munich by going on a self-guided, impromptu foodie tour of the city and maybe having a beer or two here and there.

Today we’re excited to have the first of two guest bloggers from the UK, Karen from Well I Guess This is Growing Up! Karen and her husband Joe are newlyweds (and I mean really, really newly weds) with a fabulous fixer-upper. It’s pretty inspiring to see how far they’ve come with what they started with, so make sure to go give them a read when you’re done here!


Hello! I’m Karen. I’m new around these parts. Like Jessica and Kevin, I’m a newlywed – since last month so like, really newlywed – and me and my husband (still feels weird saying that!) are trying to spruce up our home of 2 years, one paycheck at a time.

One of the things I have enjoyed so much in that time is tracking our progress through blogging, and reading all about the other people out there in the same boat as us! Hooray, we are not alone!
So, as DIY is a big focus around these parts, and I so very much want to make a good impression to the readers of Little House Big Heart I thought this is what I’d discuss today. We’re all renovating or decorating at some point, so I wanted to give some of my personal top tips on how to live without a kitchen.

Yes, you read that right. Perhaps I should explain…Our house was abandoned when we bought it. It had not been updated since it was built in the 1940s and had no heating, double glazed windows, bathroom or kitchen. (I know what you’re thinking, how did anyone even live here, right?)

Almost two years later I’m very happy to say we have introduced most modern housey related items into the home such as a bath tub and radiators and I’m happy to report they get along like a house on fire. Scrap that, terrible analogy….But the kitchen is next on our list. Sure there was a room dedicated to a kitchen. But with no sides, cabinets or cooking appliances whatsoever, I think it would be a stretch to label it this. Needless to say, we’ve had to get creative whilst we save up to renovate and install this “kitchen” later in 2013. In the meantime, here’s how we survived:

1. Everything is a kitchen side
When you don’t have any real home for utensils, the kettle or a microwave, it’s easy to feel a bit lost. We were lucky enough to find a wooden table left in the house. After a strong scrub, it’s now home to our microwave, toaster and dishcloths. Score! Our washing machine is now our official kitchen side which is used to prepare all the food – Just call me Mrs Glamorous! Seriously though, if you’re struggling, get to your local charity stores or see what’s going on Freecycle (or I hear Craigslist is good in the USA!) I bet you’ll find some good quality furniture to tide you over. As long as it’s clean, use it! You’ll look back years later and have a good giggle trying to make a round of tea on the floor of your hallway because there was nowhere else to do it when you moved in.. Not that this happened to us or anything…

2. Sign up to discount and voucher websites
The first 2 weeks we lived in the house we ate nothing but takeaways and boy did me and my waistline regret that. However, there is nothing wrong with signing up for offers and taking advantage with exploring your local area whilst you’ve got a good excuse to! One thing about being unable to cook properly is that we have really found the greatest little restaurants nearby. Not a great solution for everyday but if you’re renovating in a short period of time (like normal people do! – Why didn’t I think of that?) you may as well make the most of it!

3. Get creative
You don’t need a huge fancy oven to prepare your meals. Have you seen those mini versions with one hob and a microwave size oven? That will do! We bought an oven second hand for £40 as the house didn’t have one – it’s from the 1950s and now only 2 hobs work. But, we’ve managed! It helps me get creative and keep cooking simple. Plus, it’ll make my return to baking that bit more special, when we have a full oven again. Cakes all round!

karen kitchen

4. Keep essentials close
We have no storage whatsoever. Want to see where I keep my pots and pans? They’re still in a cardboard box. After almost 2 years. Anything in the way of baking items, or fancy crockery is still in storage, because quite frankly, we can’t use them! But, items such as the kettle, a few essential pans and microwavable bowls are all in one box, ready to go. Why complicate things?

karen kitchen 2

5. Get a barbecue
I honestly don’t think we would have eaten if it weren’t for our BBQ – and you know what, we got a bargain one for £3. Can you believe that? If the weather is good, make the most of it and eat Al Fresco. And hey, even if it’s NOT good. We had a family gathering last Bonfire Night (Do you guys have that in America? It’s just a bit excuse for fireworks, it’s fab!) It was Winter, therefore raining and cold, but we put up a marquee in the garden, asked family to bring some food and we put the barbecue on, and watched fireworks with some burgers. It was awesome.

I know most normal people take to renovating their home in a shorter space of time, but just in case anyone else is suffering without a fully functional kitchen, I hope you enjoyed reading my tips and know that you aren’t alone! Here’s to 2013 and the year of the Kitchen for me!


9 thoughts on “How to Survive Your Kitchen (or Lack Thereof)

  1. Impressive you’ve lasted so long without a kitchen. When my husband and I were in an apartment for a month we didn’t unload everything and I felt so lost. We did a lot of take out food too, and the waist line didn’t like it!

    • I certainly know how that feels! I made the same error and couldn’t fit into my clothes anymore after we moved in haha But I’ve learned my lesson! 🙂 Karen x

    • Thanks so much! We were very generously given some kitchen fund from friends and family as our wedding gift so I’m hoping 2013 is the year! 🙂 Karen x

  2. Pingback: Little House, Big Heart

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