Thursday, April 8, 2010

Open Heart Surgery

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then ours has been under triple bypass surgery since about a month before we moved in. We are coming up on our fourth anniversary in our snug little home and I simultaneously pat ourselves on the back for what we have done, and shudder when I look around at all the projects yet to be completed. Mainly the latter. In fact, I would say there is very little in the way of patting on the back so just pretend I didn't say that.

I can't remember now why we had access to the house before actually moving in, but we did, and we naively and with great confidence tore into the kitchen one afternoon about two weeks before moving in. With the aid of my younger brother Noel, we ripped out the hanging cabinets and a large wood rectangle frame that encased fluorescent lights in the middle of the ceiling(trust me, it was UGLY). Never mind that we had two young children and were about to see the bright pink plus sign on another pregnancy test. I was waiting for Hansi to meet me at Francoise's bakery when I took it and felt relieved thinking, "so that's why I've been so exhausted and falling into bed at 6pm every night." And thus, all the energy, vision, creativity and back issues of Dwell and Domino that had caused me to triumphantly pull down the only real storage the house had (that the 8 boxes of china, dinnerware, and kitchen stuff in the garage dictated we needed) was swallowed up in a bleary eyed wall of fatigue and nausea.

So yes, this kitchen has been a labor of love. A slow moving, not dilating past 3 labor of love. Kind of like Sam's birth. Fast forward four years since moving in and here we are, with half-finished cabinets, half-painted walls, and in many places, huge chunks of tile missing from where large heavy objects have landed at just the right angle to crack and chip our floor. Despite all this, there are things I really love about our kitchen, like the two "prints" above the sink that are really hand printed paper I bought in Florence, Italy and decoupaged onto canvas...they are pomegranates, just the loveliest fruit you ever saw and even on the dreariest days, they cheer me up. I love our open shelves that Ryan salvaged from friends who live in an old converted dairy creamery and had this extra wood laying around. We've had to explain those open shelves to quite a few perplexed visitors who don't quite know what to make of them, but that's okay, because they make me happy. There's my stove that was an amazingly generous gift from my sister-n-law Summer and her husband when our old one died. Being a baker and someone who enjoys cooking (and has 6 hungry mouths to feed several times a day) it is easily my most prized is gas, after all and has a convection oven!
Big huge pieces of the puzzle are still missing but part of me, despite the un-doneness of the thing, enjoys the process, even if it is long and drawn out. I'm not sure how I would feel having the means to hire an interior designer or architect to come in and bang it out in a matter of months. I think I might feel a little crestfallen because as some wise person once said "it's not arriving but the journey that's important" (although that might be something I made up or read in a fortune cookie so take it with a grain of salt). Rita Konig shared with Domino readers that "once a house is done, it's time to move" so maybe I'm staving off the inevitable.

We did find 15" wide old barn siding from our local farm and the boards are currently (finally!) being planed and notched and it's possible that we may have our new floor ready for installation sometime this month, so we've been planning and saving and scheming on a sink, cabinets, and counter tops (friends are helping us make them out of concrete)and the prospect of having the kitchen all stitched up good as new makes me positively giddy.

So giddy that I started celebrating preemptively and purchased this lovely roll of vintage 1940's wallpaper. Of course I agonized about where to put it, but in the end, think it belongs here:

Above the stove and the old beam that holds my cook books. I think it looks amazing against the barn wood and old scale, don't you?
So stay tuned and hopefully in a few months, I can put up pics of our work as we install the floor.


  1. this post makes me so happy.
    and just so you know. I love your is (even in it's current state) one of my favorite places to be in all the world. (and I'm not even exaggerating at all)

  2. PS
    where did the Angle of Repose post go? I LOVED those shots!

  3. it's under march 10th b/c that's when I originally started it but then thought i'd lost a bunch of photos!

  4. WOW! Drooling over the old barn siding!