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How to “thrive” Without a Kitchen During Your Remodel

by | Kitchen Remodeling

11 Tips for the temporary kitchen from Dana King Design-Build Remodeling. 


Being without a kitchen during a remodel is a daunting challenge. The Dana King team shares tips, not only on how to survive but to thrive, having observed the ingenuity of our clients over the years. Planning ahead and having some basic functionality will directly improve your overall experience and lengthen your patience with the remodeling project. 

  1. Start with power and water: Set up a temporary kitchen near a sink or water source like a bathroom sink or outdoor hose. Or if you don’t have a convenient water source, consider renting a water cooler and keep jugs of water on hand. 
  2.  Create a prep and storage space: The temporary kitchen can be a chest of drawers where the top functions as the countertop for food preparation and the drawers provide storage. Or a simple card table works too with portable shelves underneath to store dry goods. IKEA has a wonderful set-up complete with a sink! It is called Ravaror, which is Swedish must mean: tiny cheap kitchen! Actually, translated it means raw, uncooked, half-done. Not a compelling name for a kitchen, so we recommend you use it for well-done culinary creations that defy its meaning. Check it out: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/ravaror-mini-kitchen-black-90473354/
  3. Consider converting the bathroom: A spare bathroom can function as a makeshift kitchen. A bathroom typically has the power and water you’ll need, along with some counter space and shelving. The bathtub can be used to wash large pots and pans. We recommend lining the bathtub with a rubber mat and use care. The refrigerator can be placed just outside the bathroom if the space is too small to accommodate.
  4. Use compact appliances: You can do a lot with small appliances. Newer versions of cooking appliances can have up to ten functions, including air frying! Popular small appliances include a coffee maker, electric kettle, toaster oven, microwave, small individual electric or induction burners, and an Insta-pot. High-powered blenders, like Vitamix, can even create hot soup in no time! One client used a clothes iron to make grilled cheese – but we aren’t endorsing — just giving kudos for creativity! Better, use a waffle iron, which makes the bread a whimsical waffly design! 
  5. Consider refrigeration: you can use a small refrigerator to repurpose an office or basement after the remodel. Or hang on to your old refrigerator during the renovation and move to your temporary kitchen. If you will keep your existing refrigerator in the newly remodeled kitchen, it can be moved for use in your makeshift kitchen. 
  6.  Socialize more: Invite yourself over to friends for dinner with a coupon for a free meal in your new kitchen as a “thank you”! Invite the neighbors to your driveway or porch for a potluck – they bring the food! Have an ice cream truck come to reward them as a surprise.
  7. Budget to eat out: For most people, the convenience of dining out or ordering food delivered will work best, and that can get expensive, so grab your calculator and figure out what budget you can expect. 
  8. Minimize Dishes: You might try paper plates and disposable cutlery, or adopt a collection of multi-purpose mugs and bowls that can handle all types of foods. Have each family member keep just one set of dishes to use the entire time, cutting down on the temptation to pile the dishes between use. The habits developed to simplify the use of daily dishes may carry over to your new kitchen and make future kitchen-life all the more enjoyable!
  9. Experiment with a new meal plan:  You could change a few habits, like “quick” meals only for breakfast (oatmeal, muffins, or smoothies), or try some one-pot dinners or heat-n-serve meals from a grocery store or one of the many specialty shops around town. A couple of our favorites in St. Louis: The Art of Entertaining in Webster Groves has frozen and fresh meals (watch for their specials) and Fit Flavors has fresh healthy meals at two locations. 
  10. Try smoothies: If you haven’t tried smoothies, now may be the time. Ask our team for our favorite flavors and we may give you one to try!
  11. Make it fun! Although trying and challenging, you may make the temporary kitchen fun and educational in some ways. Engage the family for the high-adventure of kitchen remodeling and do some campfire cooking! Experiment with solar cooking, creating your own sun-powered oven. Or take a trip in time, study old-time kitchens online that show you how Great Great Grandma used a very compact kitchen. Perspective is everything. Small children may enjoy the adventure and teenagers can build character!

Finally, like all good adventures, they come to an end.  Don’t forget to record the experience with photos or video. You may never be without a kitchen again, so you’ll want to document the experience for posterity! We hope you’ll share the photos so we can inspire others. And if you have favorite easy recipes to share, we want those too!

The project managers at Dana King will help to create your temporary kitchen, but first, let’s design a fantastic new one! Give us a call to set up an inspiring in-home or virtual consultation to design your new kitchen

“Hey, kids, we are going back in time, cooking like the good old days. Nice and compact!”

Circa 1910 (photo from clickamerica.com)