Tuesday, November 29

When is a Kitchen not a Kitchen?

Fridge and microwave were hauled upstairs, lounge became lounge/kitchen diner, Bill the builder started work on the ground floor tearing up the floor and knocking holes in walls.

That first morning Bill asked me when the kitchen was arriving. I pointed at the cooker and dishwasher standing together in one corner and told him that the dining table, sink and a couple of sets of drawers were under the blue tarp outside. Bill gave me a look but said nothing and then the plumber turned up, he also asked when the kitchen was arriving, there were a couple of beats of silence, Bill and I looked at each other, then he informed the plumber

I think she wants it to be organic

Apparently a kitchen is defined by the arrival of a set of identically new items, the main point of the modern kitchen exercise is to cram as many 'units’ and appliances into the available space - these items must be fixed, they can’t move or change because, in say five years time, when your circumstance change or that style has become passé, you will be expected to take the whole lot out and start again. Clever, clever marketing people.

When we first moved into this house there was a constantly shifting population of lodgers, children and visitors, we needed lots of storage for food, pots and pans and work surfaces for prep. Cooking happened at odd times, people loafed around on sofas watching tv, arty school projects happened, Christmas decorations were made. After a few years of this, the office moved in, lodgers moved out, children grew up and the kitchen turned into a meeting room/workshop/cooking place/dining room.

When the office moved out last year the amount of cupboardage in the kitchen seemed excessive so I removed everything above waist height and proved the law about rubbish expansion in the presence of storage space - just how many colanders do we need, how many times have we used those funny knives, what exactly were we planning to do with all those plastic carrier bags? Why do we have a drawer/drawers for things that we don't know what to do with?

It's not quite finished yet - but already our old stuff  looks new because it’s in a different place, there’s room to add more storage if we need it but right now we’re enjoying lots of lovely spaces between lumps of furniture.


  1. Yes, I agree, a freestanding kitchen is the best way to go. In my last house the walls were too wonky for a fitted kitchen and it would have looked wrong, so I had fun finding old pieces of furniture that would fit. When I tried to sell the property I found that buyers were more interested in making offers for my kitchen cupboards rather than the rest of the house!

  2. I have four colanders.

    I think it's time for a purge.

  3. sounds lovely, sugar! xoxoxoxoxox

  4. My kitchen has very high, deep cupboards that I can't reach without a ladder(true!) and two very,very deep corner cupboards, with piano hinges. I think it was designed for cockroaches.

  5. Kitchen smitchen

  6. Scarlet - I have wondered about the resale value of a non-kitchen. before we found this house there were houses we didn't buy due to over-eleborate kitchenage (and those bathrooms - my dear...). Did you take your old kitchen cupboards with you?

    MJ - Colanders do have other uses than in the kitchen.

    Sav - thank you sweetie xxx

    mit - I also had complicated cupboards where creatures used to hide - it's just not sanitary is it?

    Nursey - That sounds like the start of a poem xx

  7. I always thought that 'fitted' kitchen cupboards were designed to swallow up things beyond recall.
    Instead of the perfect hostess of the adverts they should show reality...flustered woman crawling into the darkness in the faint hope of recognising the pasta machine by feel..
    I fancy a range of those lockers which hold your bags in supermarkets who recognise that most of their customers are shoplifters and don't have the margins to let them get on with it.
    Metal with doors with grilles in three different sizes.
    Painted up they would be great.

    But not in my colonial kitchen in San Jose....another house perhaps...?

  8. Yes, I did take the kitchen cupboards with me. I could have unplumbed the kitchen sink and taken that unit as well, but I wasn't that mean!

  9. I don't have any colanders.


  10. I have a spare colander, LX.

  11. I swore when I returned to the UK I would not go back to my old habit of carrier bag take-over of kitchen cupboards. FAIL.


  12. I'm sure you'll end up with something both practical and charming.

  13. Will you still be able to nail jelly to the walls in your new kitchen? We built our kitchen island from old doors.

  14. Having remodeled my kitchen, and learned from the experience, my best advice would be to choose a mottled & dark textured look for the flooring material. This ensures that heaps of debris can accumulate without being noticed.

    Anything with white will stand out like a sore thumb.

    Or maybe it's just the whole idea of a straw floor that I find appealing. Good luck!

  15. Mme Fly
    I too fancy those lockers and I think they'd work in my kitchen - thanks for the tip

    Scarlet - they wouldn't have worked in the new place

    lx - maybe you don't do 'colander cooking' - MJ is sending a Boy over with her spare colander

    French Fancy - me too trying to stem the bag overflow

    Syncopated Eyeball - hahaha

    Eryl - space... is goood

    louciao - I have used nailed jelly as a substrate for decorating

    Hello jn - so wise mottled & dark textures are ideal for all home furnishings- but straw and sawdust is even better, I have installed the latter.


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