Rental Kitchen Makeover (Under $330!)

I’ve eagerly devoured a steady diet of HGTV since early high school. And if I’ve learned anything from Sarah Richardson, Jonathan Scott, or Joanna Gaines over the years, it’s that the most budget friendly way to achieve the look you’re after is to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself.

Living in an expensive metropolitan area certainly puts a damper on home ownership prospects, but with a little bit of elbow grease, and a lot of creativity, renters can also make a space their own. In fact, this is even true in a room with seemingly little opportunity for personalization, such as the kitchen.

With a dishwasher, garbage disposal, natural light, and generous square footage, the kitchen in our cozy attic apartment is fabulously functional. But widespread visible clutter and slightly disjointed color scheme (a purple wall, a yellow wall, and a red door) had me dreaming of a more tidy, Nancy Myers inspired aesthetic.

The primary source of clutter was the lack of built in storage, which had been addressed by previous tenants with a mismatched array of bookcases overflowing with mugs, mixing bowls, and foodstuffs. The second ‘before’ photo does not fully illustrate the direness of the situation, as I didn’t think to take before photos until I had already put two of the white cabinets in.

With my landlord’s blessing, and roommates who are willing to humor my creative whims, I set out for a miniature home improvement project over the long weekend of Columbus Day. A fresh coat of paint and a few new accents can make a world of difference, but the best part is that the entire makeover cost less than most dining room tables.

If you think that all budget-conscious renters are stuck living in drab apartments, I’ve got a paint stained t-shirt and two happy roommates that beg to differ.

beforeafter1

After:

Rental Kitchen Makeover

beforeafter2

After:

Rental Kitchen Makeover

rental kitchen makeover

Rental Kitchen Makeover

Rental Kitchen Makeover

beforeafter3

After:

rental kitchen makeover: chalkboard door

Cost Breakdown:

  • Target Cabinets (3 @ $35 ea.) — $105
  • Target Shelves (3 @ $25 ea.) — $75
  • Brass Hardware for Cabinets ( 6 @ $5.79 ea. + shipping) — $42
  • 1 gallon of blue paint — $33
  • 1 quart of chalkboard paint — $17
  • Supplies (rollers, brushes, tray, drop cloth, spackle, primer, etc.) — $55
  • GRAND TOTAL: $327

Sources:

– Kelly

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Decorate Like a Dietitian: Healthy, Inspirational Pieces for the Home

The home should be a sanctuary that inspires healthy living, not a cave for Netflix binges and mindless snacking. In Slim by Design, Brian Wansink offers several hacks to make your kitchen slimmer, such as not storing cereal boxes on the counter, keeping fruits and veggies on the top refrigerator shelf, rather than the crisper, and avoiding buying junky snack food in bulk. These small tweaks are research-tested ways to curb mindless eating, which Wansink also implements in the homes of his celebrity clients.

Tips and tricks aside, the design aesthetic of your house can also encourage healthy choices, and that’s what I’m posting about today! When I see enticing pictures of food (be it a donut or a carrot), I crave it. That’s why I like to fill my home with inviting images of delicious fruits and veggies. (This is also the inspiration behind the #foodpornindex campaign from Bolthouse Farms.)

If you’re looking to make your home a catalyst for healthy choices, then see below for my pick of pieces to decorate like a dietitian!

Bouffants and Broken Hearts

^^In my dream home, I would have one of these delightful illustrations by Bouffants and Broken Hearts turned into wallpaper for a powder room (or other small room). Some of her illustrations are available as prints, or on a few other trinkets (such as coffee mugs) on Society6. But wallpaper is totally my end game with these. Just imagine how dramatic it would look with crisp, white trim!

Artichoke print - Etsy

^^For a similar look on a smaller scale, this artichoke print from The Joy of Color is available on Etsy for $21 (along with many other fruit and vegetable watercolors).

Coconut Milk - image via Dark Rye

^^For those that favor pop art, I love this riff on Andy Warhol’s iconic pieces using organic coconut milk from Whole Foods Market. (Note that this isn’t a print for sale, just an image that I stumbled upon on the Whole Foods Pinterest page.)

The Wheatfield - by Katie Daisy

^^Katie Daisy is hands-down one of my favorite artists! (Check out her Etsy shop, The Wheatfield.) I have the ‘farmers market’ print framed in my bedroom, and I gave the ‘Go play outside’ print to my mom for her birthday last year.

Peeled Orange - Elizabeth Mayville

^^Another recent Etsy favorite is Elizabeth Mayville. (You may recognize some of her prints from Design Darling). I recently bought this peeled orange print and am currently on the hunt for a frame and the perfect place to hang it.

Orange Trees - image via Coco + Kelley

^^Plants are another great way to bring you back to nature and inspire healthy choices! Citrus trees, in particular, are especially beautiful (as evidenced by this Domino Magazine photo from Coco + Kelley), but unfortunately, I doubt they’d survive in the Boston tundra.

Herb Garden

^^Lastly, I’m finishing up with a photo of my (short-lived) herb garden. I posted this picture to Instagram about a year and a half ago, and the plants died less than a week later. Not even kidding. Nonetheless, for those with green thumbs, herb gardens are a great way to reconnect with the food system, even if on a tiny scale.

– Kelly

P.S. There’s a lot more where this came from! Check out my Pieces for the Home Pinterest page.

True Food Kitchen: This RD approves!

This summer I spent a week in Phoenix, Arizona with my family. Not only was I able to read, swim, and spend some much-needed quality time with my family, but I was also able to finally eat at True Food Kitchen!

True Food Kitchen

^^The airy, trendy atmosphere was definitely a seller. Image via Fox Restaurant Concepts.

True Food Kitchen serves up “globally inspired cuisine” at its 6 different locations (all in the Southwestern United States). The basis of the menu is Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet, but don’t let that scare you off. From Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Fresh Mozzerella, Organic Tomatoes, and Zucchini to Grass Fed Steak Street Tacos with Avocado, Cojita Cheese, Tomotillo Salsa, Sour Cream and Anasazi Beans, these menu items are nothing short of spectacular.

True Food Kitchen

^^ Watermelon & Heirloom Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese, Basil, Cashews, and Olive Oil. Quite possibly my very favorite item on the menu!

Restaurants are usually a minefield of hidden fat and calories, devoid of nutrient rich fruits and vegetables. While True Food Kitchen does not post nutrition information (and some dishes do seem to be calorically dense), there is no doubt that the menu items available are extremely nutrient rich. I also love that vegetables are considered to be the main event, rather than an afterthought.

True Food Kitchen

^^ Tuscan Kale Salad with Lemon, Parmesan, Breadcrumbs, and Grilled Steelhead Salmon

Over the course of my trip, I went to True Food Kitchen 3 different times, and let me just say that 3 times was not nearly enough! Between my family and I, I got to sample:

  • Quinoa Johnny Cakes with Blueberries, Greek Yogurt, and Maple Syrup
  • Street Tacos with Grass Fed Steak
  • Tuscan Kale Salad with Grilled Steelhead Salmon
  • Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Fresh Mozzerella, Organic Tomatoes, and Zucchini
  • Red Chili Shrimp with Sesame Noodles
  • Heirloom Tomato & Watermelon Salad
  • Flourless Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Nectarine and Blueberry Tart with Greek Yogurt Ice Cream

YUM!

cookbook

Don’t live in the Southwestern United States? No problem! Lately I have been getting my True Food fix at home, courtesy of the True Food Cookbook (pictured above). This cookbook is filled with seasonal recipes from the restaurant, as well as the most gorgeous photography I have ever seen.

photo-17

^^ My rendition of the Chicken and Farro salad, via Instagram

Have you ever been to True Food Kitchen? Do you know of similar restaurants on the east coast? Do tell!

– Kelly