Kitchen Counters: What To Keep Out and What To Put Away

Back around 2002, I gave my kitchen a mini-renovation. At that time I had the cabinets painted white, added glass to the front of eight cabinet doors, added under-cabinet lighting, new backsplash, had granite counters installed and replaced the stove, microwave and sink. Since my kitchen isn’t overly large, I’ve made a conscious effort over the years to keep the countertops cleared off and as clutter free as possible.



I do keep a few things out fulltime, like my mixer which is way too heavy to put away and pull out each time I need to use it. The paper towels used to be mounted underneath the cabinets, but once the lighting was added, those had to move down to the counter. That’s okay, though–the lighting is totally worth having the paper towels on the counter. I could remove the decorative pieces to clear off more counter space but those add a bit of whimsy and fun.

Kitchen with Granite Counters and White Cabinets


A couple of years back, I added canisters to create a little baking station..

Baking Station Inspired by It's Complicated Movie


I was inspired to add those after seeing the baking station in the movie, It’s Complicated. (Note arrow in picture below) Of course, the character Jane (played by Meryl Streep) is an actual baker in the movie, so it makes sense she would have a baking station with tons of canisters in her kitchen at home. I loved the look of all those filled canisters!

Baking Center in Movie It's Complicated


Later, I added one more canister to this area to bring the total to three. I enjoy having these here because they hold the things I use most often: sugar, flour and oatmeal or cereal. You’ll find these same jars available here: Anchor Hocking Montana JarΒ They even have them with red lids now…so cute!

Baking Station in Kitchen


One of the items I gave up having out on the counter years ago is a toaster. In this older picture posted shortly after I began blogging (sorry about the quality of that pic) you can see the Maytag stove I purchased has two ovens. I specifically chose this stove to get the extra oven I so badly needed for parties and holiday dinners.

The top oven, in addition to being great for baking cinnamon rolls, biscuits, casseroles and other short items, is also a toaster. So for the last several years, I’ve been using the top oven to make toast.

That has worked great except for one problem: it can only toast one side of the bread at a time. Since I’m usually too impatient to toast both sides (it takes around 4 minutes for each side (7-8 minutes total) I usually end up eating toast that’s just brown on one side. Toast just really isn’t toast when one side is crunchy and the other side is soft.

Maytag Stove with Double Ovens


So you know how sometimes an issue or thing will bug you, but you keep putting off dealing with it until one day something just clicks, and you decide that’s enough!? Well, that day came for me last week. I finally decided life was too short to put up with half-toasted toast. Unfortunately, I knew this meant adding another appliance back to the counter. Drat!

As I sat thinking about this dilemma, I came to the conclusion that if I was going to put a toaster back on the counter full-time, it had better be a cute one! I was thinking maybe something with a retro feel in a fun color, a toaster with a little personality. I started Googling and searching for toasters and unfortunately all the happy-colored, retro style toasters I found had terrible reviews. But I did come across one with good reviews that I thought was cute enough to give up a little countertop real estate..

Hang Small Wreaths on Kitchen Cabinets


It isn’t colorful, but it has tons of personality!

Michael Graves Toaster


I went with the Michael Graves 2-Slice Toaster,Β designed in the shape of a loaf of bread. It makes me smile each time I see it here on the counter. πŸ™‚ (Unfortunately, you’re going to see me in all the following pictures because there was just no way to take pictures of a toaster with a mirror-like finish and not show up in them. I made myself as compact as I could. lol)

Michael Graves Bread Shaped Toaster


This toaster has a little “toast window” on front that looks like this when not in use.

Michael Graves Toaster Window


Once you put your bread inside and press down the lever, the toast window lights up displaying pixels that depict the setting you have chosen for your toast. There are six browning levels and the higher the setting, the more dark pixels appear in the window.

Michael Graves Bread Shaped Toaster


If Β you turn the dial all the way over to 6, the toast window is almost solid brown with pixels–no open spaces. This is how it looks about half way between 3 and 4.

Michael Graves Toaster Toasting Window Level 3-4


As the toaster browns the bread, the little grids begin to slowly melt away.

Bread Shaped Toaster by Michael Graves


See how they are going down a little at the time? Love that!

Michael Graves 2-Slice Bread-Shaped Toaster


I love how it looks when the lighting is turned down low. What really sold me on this little toaster was the reviews on Amazon and its whimsical bread shape. The other little features are fun, though.

Michael Graves Toaster with Power Indicator Ring Aglow


Update: This toaster was sold out but it appears to be back in stock now. It can be found here:Β Michael Graves 2 slice Toaster

So, another appliance has found its way back to the counter, much to my chagrin. I don’t mind so much, though, it’s been really nice having toast that’s actually crunchy on both sides! Life is good! πŸ™‚

Michael Graves Toaster


Have you fought this battle in your kitchen, deciding what to keep on the counter and what to remove? It’s not easy deciding, is it?

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  1. Jo Marie Gray says

    Great posting…as usual!!! LOVE what you’ve done with your kitchen. Our kitchen is almost the same footprint and design.

    QUESTION: the bottom corner, under the Kitchen Aid mixer… Is it dead space for you, or have you succeeded in making good use of that?

    Looking forward to your response… and as I said before… Really love your blog!!

    • Thanks, Jo! When this house was built, they designed that space where it goes all the way back up in there, inside. So when you open the cabinet doors below, that space does go way back and it is accessible. I store baking sheets and other pans I don’t use a lot back up in the deepest part and I keep the pans I do use closer down near the cabinet doors. I’d love to have the drawers that you pull out to hold pots and pans, but that area does hold a ton of pans/pots, etc…

  2. Peggy Thal says

    Your counter looks great ! Love your toaster too, such a fun style. I too like my kitchen counter free and clear and decorated to look beautiful. I have long got rid of the toaster oven which my family loved. I did bring back the toaster since it is such a must needed appliance. I have one area where I put my appliances and butcher block with knives. The counter space is always decorated for the season. Less is best!

    • Yep, I gave up the toaster oven, too. It had become such a chore to keep clean that I was ready to bid it goodbye. I bet your kitchen is beautiful, Peggy!

  3. Fun post!! I am a clear counter person too, leaving out just the “cute” accessories in the appropriate place. However the constant use of the kitchen makes clear counters almost impossible! Yours looks very nice. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I have a little kitchen so I’m forced to have more on the counter than I’d like but I try to keep it neat. That toaster is adorable- love the shape! Wasn’t it Michael Graves that came up with that tea kettle that was so popular too? I even saw it in some pretty high end homes. The electronic display is so neat on that toaster- I’d be staring at it while it’s toasting all the time! I’m sure it’s more energy efficient than the oven was so it’s a good investment. πŸ™‚

    • Liz, I’m not sure, I had never heard of him until I found this toaster while searching on Amazon. If you know of a link to the tea kettle, would love to see it. I bet that’s true about the energy part, I hadn’t even thought about that. πŸ™‚

  5. Good morning, Susan! Your new tosster is super cute and sure beats one sided toast. I do love your double oven as well – I’ve had my eye on that model for some time and regret not getting it when I redid my kitchen a few years ago. I have my stand mixer and a coffeemaker on my counter, and just a few decor items these days – I love the spacious look (although years ago I had much more). Happy fourth to you! (And, did I spot you in a Lily Pulitzer dress in your toaster reflection?) Jane

    • I do love that double oven and use the top half all the time. I love how fast the top oven heats up, so much faster than a full-size oven. I think its still being made so if you ever have to replace your’s, go for it! πŸ™‚
      Jane, you’ve got good eyes! Yep, that’s a Lilly Pulitzer skirt I found on eBay last summer in “like new” condition. I think it’s an older style because it’s a pattern I had never seen before. It’s very full (lots of pleats) and I love it! It’s a twirling kind of skirt. πŸ™‚

  6. I love your kitchen, your white cabinets, glass doors and your lights. Also what a cute toaster. A lot cooler too than turning on the oven in the summer, heating up the kitchen. Enjoy your toast.

  7. Love your new toaster. I have a spot in my lower cabinets to store my toaster. As soon as it’s cool, we put it away–it’s easy to store–however, your new toaster is so cute, I would keep it on the counter too! Byw, i bought the nautical silverware you featured the other day! I have been looking for new silverware for years and never found anything that I really liked–love, love the little sail boats on the handles–and great price!

    • Peggy, I’m so glad you like it, too. I couldn’t believe that price! I paid double that when I bought mine several years ago. That was an awesome deal! πŸ™‚

  8. Good morning, Susan! I keep mainly decorative things out on my counters. I have tons of room to put things away. All my bottom cabinets came with pull out shelves so my toaster sits on one of those shelves in a narrow cabinet. Very convenient and easy to get to. I don’t have a stand mixer. The Keurig DOES sit out, Joe drinks coffee everyday. Love you new toaster, so cute!!! Have a great holiday weekend. See you tomorrow for TT!!!

    • Pinky, that reminds me, my sister always kept her Keurig out on the counter for her hubby who loved his coffee in the morning. πŸ™‚

  9. Thanks, Susan! Your article is the inspiration I needed! Weekend project: counter top overhaul! P.S. Where do you keep fruit? Potatoes? Recipes? Utensils? Love the piggy holding the measuring spoons!!

    • Thanks, Brenda! I don’t have any right now (need to make a trip to the store) but sometimes I have oranges in a bowl sitting on the counter. I was really in an orange phase there for several months! I must have needed vitamin C or something. lol
      What I do keep on hand full-time, because it’s my favorite fruit in the world, are blueberries. I store them (again in the crisper) in a cute ceramic container I found in HomeGoods that looks like the old fashioned cardboard containers that strawberries and blueberries used to come in. It will hold a lot of blueberries and I go through a couple of those containers a week. I eat blueberries in oatmeal/cereal and as a snack during the day.
      I store my potatoes in the crisper area of my refrigerator, otherwise they tend to sprout things before I can use them up. Utensils are in two drawers in the kitchen. I was just looking at a Martha Stewart video last night and they were showing utensils on the counter in ceramic containers. They had one container for metal utensils, one for wooden spoons and one for spatulas. I did like how that looked but not sure I want to give up counter space for it.

  10. I keep my toaster in the oven- it’s used only once a day for breakfast, and was taking up too much real estate.It sits nicely on a tray so no crumbs fall into the oven.I have an extra oven in the basement which is used much more frequently than the kitchen one.
    Now if only I could find a way to get rid of the microwave.I am wondering if anyone has a microwave in a drawer- and how they like it?

    • We have a drawer microwave built into our island and love it. We have had it for two years and never regretted the decision!

    • Dolores, that’s a great idea with the cookie sheet catching the crumbs! My lower oven if full of glass casserole dishes since I rarely use it. I don’t know if you could put a microwave in a drawer. I know they do have to be vented. But I have seen them built into walls and hidden away in some interesting ways. I’ve also seen them built in below the counter level. Check out where they put the microwave in this kitchen:
      I thought that was an interesting way to do it.

  11. Hi Susan! I just love your sweet kitchen. Large large kitchens seem wonderful but you can literally walk your legs off fixing a meal. I like everything about yours – the countertops, your glass front cabinets and your double oven stove. That is a darling little toaster too! My kitchen isn’t very big either and I think I keep too much out on my counters. I love my stuff! πŸ™‚ Hope you’re doing well.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Shelia! It’s definitely compact but it works pretty well. Hope you guys have a wonderful 4th with those sweet grandchildren! πŸ™‚

  12. Hmmm…that toaster has strong possibilities… I finally “scaled down” my canisters to three…everything else had to go in the pull out pantry. SO MANY things want on my counter it seems………

  13. Love your new toaster!!!!
    I have the very same ovens …..
    and love having the both of them also!
    Your kitchen is absolutely beautiful!

  14. NEPA Gina says

    Susan, I just love everything about your kitchen. I have serious cabinet/counter envy! My kitchen is small & badly in need of updating. I’m hoping next year will be the year. As far as counter space, I do have one nice sized long counter. I’m also one not to have a lot on my counter. A friend of mine showed me a handy appliance she purchased for her newly renovated kitchen & set up as part of her toast station. Like her, we are empty nesters, so we didn’t need a big toaster. It’s the Hamilton Toastation. Funny thing is that I had it on my list to purchase when I happened to stop in a local thrift shop & saw one there for $12.99. Looked brand new, except the tray had a little stain on it. The owner heard me comment about it & immediately said $9.99, to which I replied sold! I always cover small trays I bake on with non-stick foil anyway. It is a great combination toaster oven & toaster, that works perfectly for us empty nesters! It has a slim profile so leaving it out doesn’t take up a lot of room, but lightweight enough I just grab the top & put away in a cabinet. Didn’t mean to make such a commercial, but this one handy little gadget!

    • Gina, that is soooo unique! I’ve never seen one like that. Is it deep enough for the bagels/toast to go all the way down or do you toast one side and then turn it over to do the other? How does that work? Very cool appliance! It amazes me the things folks invent!

  15. Where’s your coffee pot?? I could never put mine away – I use it all day long.

    • lol Well, I don’t drink coffee every day and when I do drink it, it always iced coffee. I’m not hot coffee drinker. My coffee maker used to stay put up unless I had company but lately I’ve been keeping it out on the desk in that empty spot right beside the refrigerator. That picture of the kitchen was an older picture and that was before I started keeping it there. There’s an outlet in that area and the tall coffee maker I have fits nicely in that spot. Iced coffee for me is like a treat, something I have once or twice a week, but I may go a couple of weeks without drinking it at all. It just depends on if I’m in mood for it. I do love the flavor of iced coffee with lots of cream…and no sugar. Yum!

  16. Linda Rubin says

    I love your toaster.
    I have an unrelated question. You posted some time back about a digital scale you purchased. I’m in need of one and thought perhaps you could email me that information.

    • Linda, do you mean for the kitchen or the kind for weighing packages? I don’t have a kitchen scale but many years ago I purchased one for weighing packages. That’s the only kind of digital scale that I have. I found it on eBay for a ridiculous low price.

  17. Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says

    Hello Susan, It’s very nice to see what you have done with your pretty kitchen. I’ve never been one to collect mail or any other paperwork & store it on the kitchen counters. . .that is what desks are for. I can see that you feel the same way. I have a gas stove, so because of this, I can not put any decorations on the top of the stove. That is fine w/ me because I LOVE my stove πŸ™‚
    My potatoes are stored in a big old blue bowl that belonged to my Mother. It sits on a little wooden chair that was made by an uncle for my (now grown) children many years ago. It looks very sweet in a corner of my kitchen & brings back many happy memories πŸ™‚

    • Rose, I almost converted to a gas stove when I purchased this one. I have gas heat and the part of my basement under the kitchen is unfinished. So for around $250, they told me they could connect the gas and I could have purchased this same stove but in the gas model. The only reason I didn’t is because I thought the flat top would be a lot easier to keep clean. I much prefer cooking on a gas stove, though. When this stove dies, if I’m still living here, I may go with gas the next time. I just wonder how folks keep them clean. I want the easiest to clean kind I can find. πŸ™‚

      • Rose Ann Bacher-Giallombardo says

        My gas stove is a stainless steel Frigidaire Gallery & I love it! Very easy to clean πŸ™‚ I use a product called: Weiman’s Stainless Steel Wipes on all my kitchen appliances. Gas stoves have come a long way & having the top burners closed are plus.

        “Happy 4th” Susan

  18. Susan, your new toaster is so cute & looks nice on the counter top. I like my counter tops to be free of clutter too & that includes bathroom counters. Clutter would drive me nuts! I have just about the same things on my kitchen counter as you do. You found a great looking toaster!

  19. Jean Spimont says

    What fun to have a tour of your kitchen. Must admit to smiling at a couple of things. Love your pig with chalkboard. His cousin lives on my counter with a chef hat. Also enjoyed seeing that you too buck the trends maintaining a white kitchen with white appliances (I too have the Maytag stove with double oven) and brass hardware. Those too were my choices purposely selected after the stainless appliances and silver-tone hardware were well established. Your toaster is perfect! Am presently dealing with an addition and struggling with bathroom decisions about which I haven’t the confidence I had with the kitchen decisions. How I wish we lived nearer to each other so I could seek your assistance.

    • I do love white kitchens…love them with white marble countertops, too…although I hear those are hard to maintain. Jean, I purposely chose the brass, too. I may eventually change it out for silver since I don’t like having the cabinet hinges showing and silver would probably blend in a little better with the white paint than the brass does, but I still like polished brass candlesticks, etc… I think I’ll soon be in the same boat you’re in. I have three bathrooms that need renovating and I know I’ll have to make a ton of decisions. I’ll probably go with silver in there just because that’s what’s in my baths now and what I’m used to seeing in most bathrooms. I really like a lot of different finishes so it’s hard to decide. It seems like whatever you choose, someone will say it’s out of style within a few years, so you just have to go with what you like and not worry about it. πŸ™‚

  20. Suzanne Beavis says

    I really enjoy your posts. always interesting and informative. Your kitchen looks lovely. Love the toaster. And also the the glass canisters. Thank you for your generous sharing.

  21. My daughter’s remind me all the time less is more. When I had my counter tops replaced. The toaster ended up in a cabinet. Yep, I take it out almost every day to use and put it back. Coffee pot stayed out, but I made a “coffee center area”. That is it as far a appliances. I requested for Christmas a small sized stand up mixer, it fits easily away and is not heavy. Chopping boards all under the sink now too! It does make a difference to declutter and much easier to wipe down the cabinets.

  22. We are alike! I have a red mixer too! And a toaster on my countertop. Plus I fight counter clutter all of the time it seems. Clutter fairies attack without notice! Ha! I want your cute toaster too! What a great find. Sheila

  23. Oh my word, that toaster is the cutest ever.

  24. Jennifer Moreland says

    JUST BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!
    Love – Love – Love White cabinets and glass fronts.
    The toaster is classy yet still whimsical. Just Perfect!

  25. your post really resonates me on two levels. Yes, I struggle with too much on my too-few counters! Even more so now that our home is listed! And I also have finicky ideas for appropriate toasters, a quirk shared by my husband! After paintakingly choosing one when we redid our kitchen 5 years ago, alas and a lack, the handle broke off and the part no longer available. So we have to use a wooden handle to carefully slide down the nib left where the handle was! It kills me that I got rid of a gorgeous nickel plated vintage toaster years ago when we were too young and “modern”. I luv your new one.

    • Oh my gosh, that should not have happened. They just don’t build things like they once did, do they Pamela? Vintage is really big again…with vintage refrigerators, stoves, toasters, etc… Funny how everything just comes back around again…usually 5 minutes after I have just donated it or tossed it out!

  26. I have a tiny kitchen, and never leave anything out, but my boyfriend’s mother left a beautiful Mix Master to him, and he gave it to me, and it’s HUGE, so it stays out now. And like you, I am tired of one sided toast, and was thrilled to see your toaster find.. I’m ordering one today! It’s so stinking cute!

  27. I have my blender out because it is WAY to heavy to lug around. I also have a little coffee station that’s on part of my counter. I loved seeing that you keep butter out in a butter dish. I do that and some people thing it’s crazy. My mom did that when I was growing up and we never died. LOL! I like to have soft butter ready for toast. πŸ™‚
    I do keep my toaster in another part of the “kitchen” but it is a retro style red so when it is out it still looks “cute”.
    Have a lovely day.

    • lol exactly! I grew up in a house where the butter was always in the frig and when you wanted to spread some on toast or a roll, it was as hard as a brick. My inlaws were the first folks I saw who didn’t refrigerate it and I loved how it was always soft and ready to spread. So I started leaving mine out and I love it! Never had any spoiled butter, not once. So funny that most folks don’t know it can last on the counter for a long time. Usually it gets eaten long before it would ever have time to spoil.

    • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

      Hey you two, you can always use a French butter keeper if you have any worries about butter. I used to use one but we don’t use enough butter to even bother, but it was quite handy and kept the butter nice and soft. Just fyi. πŸ˜€

      • My sister had one of those and loved it. I think it sat with water under it or something like that, to keep the butter cool. I’ve never had any issues with butter going bad though while using a normal butter dish.

        • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

          Yes, they are ceramic and the tops have sort of a bell shaped dish underneath where you squish in your butter. Then the bottom half holds the water. It’s a funny little system but it works. πŸ˜€ There was something else you mentioned about Glenda recently, Susan. I hope your heart is healing. *hug*

      • Our butter never lasts long enough to worry about. We love us some butter in our house. πŸ™‚ But I do have a friend who has one and loves it.

  28. I keep the toaster in my walk-in pantry. I have a toaster with a retractable cord. It is pretty easy to use and after cleaning the kitchen I empty the bread crumb tray and put it back on the shelf on a plastic crumb tray so it will not get any leftover bread crumbs on the floor. Your toaster is cute! I leave on my counter: mixer, Keurig, and small lazy susan that holds olive oil, salt/pepper grinders, and crocks with often used cooking utensils. I have a bird house paper towel holder so you do not see the roll. I also have 3 small stoneware canisters and bread holder that match my dishes. I too do not like clutter but want my kitchen functional for cooking.

  29. Charlotte says

    Cute toaster! I love the mirrored finish. I keep my butter out in a butter dish too.

    • Charlotte, you know what’s funny is I grew up in a house where the butter was always in the frig and when you wanted to spread some on toast or a roll, it was as hard as a brick. After I met my future husband, when we were at his parent’s home, their butter was always out on the table in their kitchen. I was shocked! I asked if they weren’t afraid that it would spoil and they looked at me like I was crazy. lol So I started leaving mine out and have been doing that ever since. Never had any spoiled butter, not once!

  30. Susan, the new toaster is a little piece of pop art. Love the toast shape. Ours is retro, Dualit. We’ve had it for 20 years. Yes, we have the battle of the counters here. The chef wants them clear of things, so anything that is out has to have his approval. Ha! We have a coffee station in one corner with out Nespresso machine and pods of coffee. Also have a antique wooden caddy for teas and bread boards. The other end of the counter has slender canisters that sit on their on slightly raised granite shelf and hug the backsplash. That’s about it. We are limited on counter space, so have to make the most of what we have.
    Your kitchen is pretty. It’s fun to see more of it. From the snaps of you in the toaster it looks like your hair is long. πŸ˜‰

    Have a great week……Sarah

    • The Dualit are soooo cute, Sarah! I love those! Yep, I’m trying to grow my hair out but it’s at the awkward stage where it’s just barely below my shoulders. This is the point where I usually give up and go get it whacked off. lol I’m trying to make myself hang in there to see how I feel about having it long again. The inbetween stage is a pain, though.

  31. I’m throwing my hat in with the others for loving your toaster … so, so cute! But was also drawn to your ceramic chicken; I love it! I don’t see any mention of it in others’ comments, so I’ll ask … where did you find it?!?
    Also, your dancing bunny lamp is still on my wishlist–I hope I find one someday. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks, Julie! I think I found the chicken in Steinmart. It’s been so many years (like 10+ years) that it’s hard to remember, but I’m pretty sure it was Steinmart. Oh, I know the lamp you’re talking about. Those actually belong to my friend, Marie and I think she got those via the Touchstone catalog online. They are adorable! πŸ™‚

    • Julie, I just googled for the lamp and one sold on eBay in February. I didn’t see any more on eBay but they had the same lamp with dancing pigs. I think the bunnies are cuter, though.

  32. Lora Greene says

    Susan, love your kitchen. My house is almost 100 years old. We updated the kitchen keeping it in the original footprint. Just added new cabinets and counter tops, appliances, etc..I have a quirky built into the wall pantry..It has lots of space to hold all the food staples, but was hard to store all those small appliances we don’t use everyday..I needed extra space badly..We have a small breakfast room attached to the kitchen, that we didn’t use very often. My husband added a section of upper and lower cabinets on one wall and 2 stainless steel large racks on the other wall..On one rack I used for my microwave, cook books, cases of bottle water, paper towels, etc..On the other, we put the toaster oven, store onions, potatoes and large pots and pans that get used a couple of times a year, in addition to less often used small appliances..We used the upper cabinets for additional dishes, serving pieces and whatever else that doesn’t have a real home…the lower cabinets store crock pots, bread makers, blenders and all the gadgets I love..My beloved counter tops hold my mixer and food processor that I use often. And a big canister of flour and one of sugar. I bake a lot and that top is my baking center..It’s steps away to the full kitchen so very convenient. After saying all of this, I keep my toaster and coffee pot on my original kitchen counter..

    • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

      That sounds awesome! I love old houses that have been renovated like that. I wish you could share some pictures. Bet you love it. πŸ™‚

  33. Susan, we have the same Mixer, even the same colour and it is way to heavy to put away, plus I like the look of it. My kitchen accessories are all red, even the toaster, but I put that away. I have deep drawers in my island and also cupboards, so toaster and other appliances go in there. The island is my baking centre. All baking items are in the drawers below.
    I do have a few cute items for decoration, Red British phone box and mail box. The red coffee pot is where the coffee station is, along with the expresso machine.
    Love your toaster, that is so cute. Have seen a lot of retro kitchen items, but do not want to add more. Hubby says enough is enough!! πŸ™‚ and as I always listen to my hubby (not) I use my own discretion. πŸ™‚

    • lol Doesn’t he know the kitchen is our domain! Unless of course he’s one of those men who loves to cook, then I would gladly step aside! πŸ™‚ The other toaster I had been eyeing, if I didn’t go with the cute bread-shaped one, was this red one:
      I thought it would look so cute with the red mixer and it’s an awesome price! I was so tempted to buy it as a backup since it’s so inexpensive.
      The red British phone box sounds so cute, Megan!

    • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

      Haha, I have that same red mixer as well. And my accessories are all red, including my toaster. I had an adorable old timey one years ago but it didn’t last long. So with the most recent toaster, I was lucky to find a really pretty, shiney red with a rounded retro feel. I’ve never seen a toast shaped toaster like yours, Susan. Lol. I especially love the little pixelated piece of toast that shows the toasting progress. πŸ˜€

    • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

      P.S. Megan, I want to see your phone box and mail box! (Don’t you mean, ‘post’ box?) πŸ˜‰ If the phone box is a cookie jar, what is the mail box?

  34. Susan, I have a question. I’m doing a mini-redo on my kitchen as well. In fact, the granite is being installed tomorrow and the cabinets will be painted later in the month. I need a break!!! LOL Anyway, how much of a mess did the granite installers make? Was there dust everywhere?? I will cover my FR sectional, but I have three tables in there as well as a 50″ TV and media console. Also, your granite looks like Santa Cecilia which is the name of my granite. Please advise, is it? If so, I really like it.



    • Actually, Santa Cecilia is very close to mine. Mine is called Portofino. When I went to pick out my slab, I got the last Portifino one that they had. You will love this color because it hides EVERYTHING. I’m surprised when I run my hand over my counter because it can be covered in crumbs and stuff and I don’t even see it. I just wipe it down because I figure it needs it! lol I love how it hides everything. I purposely avoided any of the granites that were a solid, dark color that would show finger prints and other stuff.
      The other thing I really liked about this color is it’s very neutral so when I chose it, I didn’t think I would get tired of it and I was hoping it wouldn’t feel trendy and go out of style anytime soon. I still love it (and my backsplash) and I guess it’s still in style since 13 years later, folks are still choosing it. πŸ™‚
      The granite guys didn’t make any mess at all. I guess my old counter must have come off easily because I don’t remember it being a big deal and there was no mess after they left.
      The person who did make a HUGE mess and I was FURIOUS with was the guy who came a few days later to install and grout the backsplash. The install part went fine but when he came back to grout around the tiles, he didn’t bother to cover up my granite with anything. I was upstairs or I would have said something.
      After he left, I had that gritty grout stuff in every line/crack/groove of the granite for about 6-8 inches out from the backsplash…down the whole length of the backsplash. I was beside myself! I called a bunch of granite experts asking what to do, how to get it out. Some of the products they were recommending sounded like they would alter the color or damage the granite. So, I did nothing while I tried to figure out what to do. I was sooooo upset that the grout guy had not even bothered to cover my granite and had created this issue.
      Anyway, while I tried to figure out what to do, I started noticing it was gradually getting better in some places. Apparently, each time I wiped down the counter top, a little more of it was coming out of the cracks and creases of the granite. It took about six months but gradually it all worked its way back out of creases and I was able to get it out by wiping off the counter. What a nightmare! So if you’re having a tile backsplash installed with grout inbetween, make sure they thoroughly cover your countertop.

      • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

        Gosh, that is really inexcusable! What are these people thinking? Clearly, they’re not thinking! I don’t blame you for being furious. Have you noticed how sometimes when you hire someone to fix one thing, they are busy messing up or breaking another? Just like in this case. Very frustrating. I’m glad you were able to get it out over time.

        Btw, Susan, how do you keep your granite counters shiny? I have them and honestly, they drive me a bit bonkers. I really use my kitchen. I cook big meals, from scratch, every day. And I love the beauty of my kitchen, but for practicality it only gets a C. But back to the countertops, do you use anything special? If I wipe mine down with a sponge, for instance, you can see the dried swipe marks. Grrrr. I thought that sealing a counter top was like varnishing a piece of wood furniture and that it would always be shiny, but that is apparently not how it works, lol. I love it when they look polished and shiny, but I don’t have the time or inclination to be aggressively polishing them every day. Any suggestions? I am guessing you don’t make too big a mess in the kitchen so this probably isn’t a problem for you, lol.

        • Well, here’s the funny part, I’ve never polished them because they have always looked shiny. I’m pretty careful with them though, but they do get wiped down regularly.
          A few months ago I received some free samples of this in the mail: and I decided to try it. The area where I used it on my countertop looked amazing so if I ever do need to polish them, that’s what I will use. I noticed it has great reviews online, too.
          I have used the cleaner and I really like it a lot. It has great reviews, as well. You can see it here:
          This page shows all their products including their sealant.

          • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

            Awww, Susan, thanks for posting those! I knew you were the right person to ask. You always find the inside scoop. πŸ˜€

  35. What a cute toaster!!! Looks good on the counter and convenient to use………I have a small kitchen, but love to cook and bake. So, I have the sugar and flour in glass canisters, my Kitchen-aide mixer next to them. A toaster and microwave on the other side. Next to the stove a crock with utensils and a pottery pitcher with wooden utensils. Have a narrow tin box filled with oils and vinegars, also coffee maker, its small…..makes 4 cups so not bulky. When I am in a baking/cooking frenzy, I clear everything off and put them on the dining room table!!! Love all the space in your kitchen!!

  36. I am a food writer and cookbook author and I use my kitchen a lot…my kitchen is very small and counter real estate is at a premium…

    My counter tops are working counter tops, so I prefer to have things I use or need often as handy as possible and have to make do with the lack of counter real estate… At the same time, I like the counter to look as neat as possible, so my solution is to group the items on counter as close to the area where I work as possible. Also, there are some ingredients and seasonings I use more than others (olive, avocado and macadamia nut oils, Balsamic vinegar, salts, pepper mill, nutmeg holder/grater, etc) so I grouped them inside two cute little wooden crates on the counter and they are always handy to grab and not have to hunt in cabinets for them.

    I have a large and very sturdy wooden pot rack I bought on-line (Taylor & Ng Co.) hanging over my counter that holds large stockpots and other items that take a lot of cabinet space on the top of the rack and it has lots of hooks for hanging pots & lids and other handy utensils and colanders, etc.

    It is so much easier for me to have things at hand than have to look inside cabinets when I need them.

  37. Susan: Love your kitchen. I too keep my counters fairly clean, but I have a toaster oven that I use almost everyday. I also have a coffee station. I know what you mean about those deep corner cabinets, I have those too and store things I only use around the holidays in there.
    I am thinking about painting my cabinets, if I remember correctly you said you had yours painted. OR can I do that and get good results?
    You have approximately the same foot print in your kitchen as I have in mine. Love the cute piggy.

  38. I keep my toaster in a cabinet and get it out every day. It’s really not a big deal because it’s so light weight. As for my Kitchenaid mixer, I have a pop-up shelf in one of my cabinets so it doesn’t have to sit out. Now I just need to get a handle on the pile of papers on the end of my peninsula….those are the bane of my existance!


  39. Susan, I love your clutter free kitchen. I am the same way – I like my counters clutter free. My sweet husband does not share the clutter free gene, but you know, we have been together 41 years, so, I guess we are just still going to disagree on some thing here and there. HA! Anywho, I do have a terrible white toaster and the next time I purchase one, it will be cute. I also love little tiny lamps in my kitchen area. I have alot of pink in my kitchen and right now, I have an adorable bunny with a pink flowered shade on it that just puts off a glow in the evening in the kitchen area. I enjoy your blog so much. It is a treat for me each time I read it. Have a happy and safe weekend and thank you for sharing the picture of your “cute” toaster.

  40. Mary from Virginia says

    You always find the cutest stuff! Love that toaster!

    I don’t have near as much counter space as you do, and I feel like my counters are always jammed. Maybe your post is the inspiration I need to downsize the counter clutter =) since I am getting started with painting the family room and kitchen. We are painting the fireplace too. I cannot wait!

  41. Marlene Stephenson says

    I wish my toaster wasn’t so new then i could have one like yours,that is such a cute appliance. I don’t usually leave my toaster out and yes i have trouble deciding what i want to show on my counter and what i don’t.

  42. I love your kitchen’s brightness. I have a kelly green kitchen aid and want to sell it to change to the sea green color style. It’s 25 years old but there is nothing wrong with it. Trying to justify spending $350 for a new one while I have a perfectly good one is hard.

    Do you have lighting under the counters? I would like to have that so it can be used as a night light. The joys of room design.

    (Side note!!! I’m so excited!!! Some dishes I wanted for my nautical theme are in stock and I’m buying them tomorrow!! I don’t want to say because I don’t want you ladies to buy them all up before I get to work tomorrow. LOL)

    • LOL! That’s always a risk when you mention something about dishes here. πŸ™‚

      No, the lighting is just under the cabinets and it’s awesome because it shines down right where I need it on the countertop. Did I say in the post that it’s under the counters? If I did, I need to correct that…it’s under the cabinets.
      You know, it’s funny you mention that about the mixer. I was thinking recently, if I move one day to a cottage style home, I might want to change my accent colors in my kitchen to the aqua and get the Aqua Sky mixer or maybe the Crystal Blue. I feel a little guilty doing that, too…but I figure I can give my mixer to a friend who doesn’t have one or maybe donate it to a women’s shelter. They are $279 on Amazon and you can get it in 41 colors there!!!
      Is Aqua Sky the one you are thinking about, too? I also like Majestic Yellow!

      • I’m stuck between the Crystal Blue and Aqua Sky with sand or driftwood color cabinets and or blacksplash. But first I have to get rid of this one. I thought about trying to get it painted the color I want but am skeptical
        About that as well.

        • Yeah, I think it would chip and you would probably never be happy with it. You could always sell it on eBay and say “Local Pickup Only” since shipping cost would be a bear.

  43. Michael Graves was a world famous designer. He made some very nice kitchen pieces for Target. He passed this past year. Google him to read about what he designed when he needed to use a wheelchair. A wonderfully talented man who made lemonade from lemons.

    • I found an article about him earlier tonight when I googled his name. I was sad to read he had passed away in March. He designed a lot of products that truly helped others. Very talented!

  44. Target used to carry Michael Greaves things. I only have the coffee pot and Kitchenaide Mixer on the counter, as far as appliances go. I also have a very contemporary stainless steel bread box with a cutting board base. I have a huge bread drawer built into my cabinets, but it is a waste for the amount of bread I keep. Now I store other items in it and keep the bread in the bread box. I also keep the oils and vinegars, salt cellar and shakers on a small section next to the cook top. Knives are on the wall and opposite side of cooktop has crocks that hold large utensils. Only thing on my island is a white stoneware pitcher that gets fresh flowers every week, and a basket of fresh fruit. I have a lot of space, but I do not like clutter.

  45. Sheree Cloyd says

    Susan, Love it ! but loooove your jars too. You probably told us several years ago where you got your jars, but I don’t remember. I want to purchase those jars too. Where did you find them?

    • Thanks, Sheree! I found those in Target in November 2011. I haven’t looked since then but they may be an item they carry ongoing, so it may be worth checking to see if they still have them.
      Back when I was shopping for canisters, I checked both Walmart and Target. Walmart had some that had glass lids and they were cheaper. I was tempted to buy them but I came across a blog post around that time written by a blogger who had bought the ones with the glass lids. She had written the post to warn folks to not buy that style canister because one day she realized that the rim on either the canister or the lid had chipped (forgot which) and she had no idea where the glass sliver had gone. She was worried it was in the jar with whatever she had stored in there, and she was worried she would feed it to her kids! After I read that blog post, I steered clear of the ones I saw in Walmart with the glass lids and went with these that have metal lids.

  46. Ok ladies, I know it is late but I work tomorrow. We are gearing up for fall stuff so there is another sale on clearance – take an additional 20% off. Lots of linens on sale both on line and in the store.

    And Susan I remembered your “Who Done It” Mystery Dinner tables cape with the animal plates. West Elm has the paper penguin on sale for $4.99 online plus extra 20% off too. Just in case you needed more. The other animals are $10. Ooh I bet I could use a penguin for winter tablescapes. Look at my mind going a mile a minute.

    • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

      Jeri, what are you talking about? Do you mean you work for West Elm? If not, spill the beans, woman! Lol.

      • I work for Williams-Sonoma and through Sunday there is an extra 20%off sale on all clearance. Lots of linens and plates, and things for tablescaping!

  47. Ana Maria Troast says

    I have the same stove for the same reason, love it! I keep a four slice toaster In a lower cabinet however. No mushy side of toast for me. I also had a retractable shelve built in for my stand mixer when we remodeled 20 years ago. Saves me counter space and is quite easy to use. I have a smallish galley kitchen with limited counter space. An appliance garage houses our Kuerig and food processor. Thanks for sharing!

  48. I keep my toaster under the cabinet and when we need it we just pick it up, plug it in and make toast then put it back under the cabinet. Out of sight out of mind!

  49. What a great topic! This is a struggle I have constantly. Although, I finally relented to leaving our toaster out because we use it every morning. I think hubby has eaten peanut butter toast every morning since he was 5! LOL! I did try putting it away each day for a while, but that got old really quick. My struggle is mainly with decorative items and knowing when enough is enough. Thanks for this post!!!

  50. I definitely have too many things on my counter. I got rid of some things by putting notes on the refrigerator, and putting away what doesn’t need to be on the counter, but it’s still busy. I really enjoyed your post. I love that toaster too!

  51. It’s not easy indeed. I want the knives block out of the way but, it will really make things harder. :/

    By the way, what a warm and beautiful kitchen is this!

  52. Cyndi Raines says

    Hi Susan, Happy 4th of July. Getting caught up on everything I’ve missed this week. I too have all white appliances and I LOVE them. White never goes out of style. My Kitchen Aid mixer is white also and sometimes I store it on the counter and sometimes under the island, depending on how much baking I’m doing. Only coffee pot for hubby (I don’t drink coffee) and juicer is on the counter with a small accent lamp. The counter by the entrance struggles, things like to collect there. Toaster is kept in the lazy Susan cupboard. LOVE your new toaster – too cute.

  53. I love your kitchen! It looks open, yet cozy with the use of glass doors and light colours (and clear counters!), but is well arranged to be functional. Big kitchens are no good when they’re not comfortably useable. Your toaster is adorable, too πŸ™‚ Nicely done.

  54. susan rosen says

    Hello dear Susan,
    I bet when you see the teakettle you’ll say “Oh yes!”

    Love, Susan Rosen

  55. Thank you for Sharing. Its really great!!

  56. I just noticed the measuring spoons on the “chef”. Too cute

  57. Hi there,
    Just wondering when you’re planning to redecorate next? I’m searching high and low for the Michael Graves toaster and it seems to be sold out EVERYWHERE!! Maybe I can buy it off you? Thanks!!

  58. Hi Susan – I haven’t commented here in a long time! I came across your post ’cause I want to get rid of my toaster on my counter. That toaster is so cute – I was originally looking for some kind of lever mechanism you could install under the counter, so you can hide your toaster. Your kitchen looks so much like mine – it’s incredible.

    I had been doing decorative painting for a living – that’s when I was very active on your blog. But now I am doing home staging – thinking about retiring soon though…maybe in a year or so.

    Hope all is well…Cheers,


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