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The heart of the home: The Kitchen
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2005 5:39 pm    Post subject: The heart of the home: The Kitchen Reply with quote

If this topic has been brought up before, I can't find it, and I've dug around in pages of threads for the past 20 minutes.

But, since this web site is about FOOD, it has to cooked somewhere, and usually, that's the kitchen.

So, I'll start this off.

1) What does your current kitchen look like? How many "toys" do you have that make your friends roll their eyes?

2) What is your DREAM kitchen? No expenses spared, no reality to be questioned....if you had $100,000 or more to have the kitchen of your dreams, what would it look like?

**********************************************************

1) I bought my tiny cottage in Michigan based on two things: a) Grandfather Maple in the back yard, a 110 year old Silver maple that had my heart the minute I saw him....and the kitchen! My home is only 800 square feet, total, and I think the kitchen takes up 1/3 of that square footage! Laughing It's dimensions are 19' long by 11' wide, with a wonderous pantry at one of the ends, which is 11' wide by 6' deep. On one of the long ends is the pantry, so it's really the kitchen, extended, with a wall and door separating it from the rest of the space, and the other end has three doors opening off of it: the breezeway door, which is how you enter the cottage; the bathroom door??!! which is directly ahead of the main door (poor Feng shui but really handy when you're cooking!), and then, the doorway into the remaining bits of the cottage, at the other long end.

What I adore so much about the kitchen are so many things: It escaped Rehab Hell by default, meaning that the previous owners could care less about remodeling. It has knotty pine cabinets, with those cool, kitchy details of the 1920's-1950's: decorative dado's around the windows; plant shelves as half moons around the sink; swirls and loops around the sink bottom, etc. The counter top is pure 1950's linoneum, with a grey swirl pattern that is now matte finish because it's been scrubbed so much. Chrome metal strips surround the countertops, the edges all beaten and dented (love it!) from decades of use.

Because the panty is so huge, I have my frig, freezer and washer and drier in there, plus three floor to ceiling shelf units for all my food. I also threw the microwave in there, so I didn't have to look at it's moderness.

Because the kitchen is so authentically vintage, it goes with all the wonderous things that I got from my grandmother: her 1920 double-wide "Hoosier" cabinet; a vintage 1960's stove; along the cornice on the ceiling, I have my rolling pin collection mounted, totaling 9 pins, from my own Grandmother's one-piece pin that she used at the Black Bear Hotel and her farm, to Depression glass pins in cobalt blue and clear glass. Vintage curtains line the three windows, with smiling tea pots on them.

My windows in the kitchen all face East: the one on the breezeway door, the one over the sink, and the one, near the pantry, which is a 6' by 4' area that I made into my Home office and has my printer and computer. In that niche, I have floor to ceiling bookshelves that hold part of my 600 + cookbook collection. Actually, excepting a bed, this kitchen could hold me forever! It has the bathroom, the windows, the main door, my computer, all the food, and a TV and stereo....what more would I need??!!

I've collected vintage dinnerware and stuff my entire life, and what I didn't receive from my Gran's estate, I bought. So, I mix my dough with her 1940's Sunbeam mixer; I use her bowls, Jadite measureing cups, pastry cutter that barely has a scrap of green paint on it's handle, etc. Where I can't see them, stored in cabinets, are all my "modern convienences: the Cuisinart; the blender, mini chopper, wok, fondue pots...that type of stuff. And there are drawers and cabinets and shelves galore! I have an old 1940's red and white enamel topped table with extentions and drawers, that is baking central. It stands next to the stove, in a peculiar spot that was empty, when I bought the house...I'm clueless as to what stood in that 5' by 3' spot.

I only use wooden utensils and actually have a ladle that my Grandfather carved that's over 90 years old and is so innovative that when I showed it to a wood carver, he asked if he could copy the idea! I've collected wooden utensils for decades, use them daily, so they have the most beautiful patina and feel; sometimes, I just love to rub them against my face. They are stored in stone crocks, three of them, that vary with their story. The largest crock, I actually found in an alley while landscaping; someone had a dead plant in it and couldn't be bothered to dump out the plant, so they dumped the entire thing! Then, I have a salt-glazed crock with a kitty on it that I bought in Williamsburg when I was 16 years old, and a wee crock, shaped like a cat, that holds the small wooden utensils.

I store my sundries in old, vintage Ball glass jars that my Gran used for canning, the type with zinc tops. My most cherished ones are the ones that still hold her handwriting on top: "Mustard Beans", with the dates " '52, '56, and '60" written and crossed off with each year. I have rag rugs on the floor, three of them, in soft greens and yellows. And my windows all face part of my 1/2 acre, with the Kitchen Garden right outside of the door and my 13 bird feeders beyond that. So, I can be washing dishes or on the computer, and I can look outside to see raccoons, possums, foxes, woodpeckers, squirrels, finches and thrushes 20 feet from my eyes.

I'm a sucker for any small contrivence: strawberry hullers; micro graters no bigger than an egg; mini-whisks; if it's been sold, I probably own it.

I can spend 16 hours in this kitchen, and go to bed with a happy heart. And believe me, at Christmas...I have spent many, many 16 hour days baking away.

What I love so much about my kitchen is that it marries the past and the present. There's NO granite counter tops, cultured marble, no whistles and glitz, but it performs as well as any of those posh kitchens, maybe even better. I love when friends from the city come to visit me and when they enter the cottage, through the kitchen, they exclaim, "Geez! This looks like my Grandparents kitchen!" I guess that's what I always wanted: to be living with my Grandparents, again. And it's nice to know that I achieved it.

2) Dream kitchen: I house-sit extensively for all my wealthy clients, so in the course of living in their homes, I get to use Viking and 5-Star ranges; Zero King refrigerators that retail at $5000; and all the chrome, marble and granite you can quarry.

I'm not impressed. They come off as cold and impersonal; even when my clients move out and new ones come in, the kitchen never changes...only the back of the walls change color. They remind me too much of Doctor's offices for Food; there's no history, there's no personality; there's no warm. Technically correct, they lack heart.

So, that said, if I was to have a "Dream Kitchen", I'd keep mine, exactly as it is....but, I'd break through the wall with the windows and extend the kitchen out towards the bird feeders, by 10 feet. This would allow me to have an "eat-in" kitchen, complete with cozy fire place and seating area, and a BIG wooden table to eat at: all within viewing range. But, since my architect told me that it's a waste of money for me to put ANY money into my cottage (too old, not worth it, a "tear-down" after I sell it), I'm not going to put the $50,000 worth of add-on that would really complete my dream. So, I'll use the living room/dining room, adjacent to the kitchen for what it's meant to be used for, and just dream a little dream of what could be.

That's my Heart of the Home: what's yours?

Here's a close-up of some of my Gran's things:
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JustMe



Joined: 13 Apr 2005
Posts: 213
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2005 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a great topic!! I have a passion for decorating so this is right up my alley.

I live in the house my husband grew up in. The house is between 60 and 80 years old. When we first moved in I had trouble convincing my husband that we need to do work because, of course, it had been his parent's house. Over the years we have renovated and about 12 years ago put a 2 story addition on the back. When we did that we opened up our kitchen to the family room, separting the 2 rooms with a peninsula. We didn't have enough money at the time to completely redo the kitchen so we were stuck with horrible dark brown imitation wood grain laminate cabinets and gross brown kitchen flooring (which didn't show the dirt!) However, the layout of the kitchen was good and it is a nice efficient kitchen.

Two years ago my brother-in-law, the handyman, didn't have any projects lined up for a month or so, so he offered to come in and renovate our kitchen. Our budget was still tight so what we did was have him build new cabinet doors for all the cabinets & we painted the cabinets themselves with white melamine paint. The doors are beadboard set into a frame. I had him put beadboard 3/4 of the way up the walls, and painted it white. He also built us a beautiful kitchen island based on a photo I had seen in a magazine and we topped it with an incredible real butcher block counter that used to be in the local manor. For our countertops we purchased dark green granite tiles & he cut them & laid them with a maple wood trim around the outside. (Because they are tiles and not a slab they were very reasonable...cheaper than laminate...you just need someone to install them that knows what they are doing!)

So now my dream kitchen is almost a reality. My kitchen is all white, new white floors and the walls above the beadboard are pale yellow. It's nice and bright and looks much bigger than it ever did before. We just love it. We already had a nice gas stove but we had to buy a new refrigerator. The one we bought is stainless steel with the freezer in a drawer on the bottom that we got from Sears (floor model). I would never buy any other kind...the freezer on the bottom is fabulous, escpecially because it is a drawer. The kitchen is just comfortable for cooking...you never need to walk too far. I have open shelves under part of my island that houses my bowls...stainless and pottery. I love pottery (I had dabbled with it myself) and love to have everything out & accesible.

The appliances/gadgets that I have & couldn't live without
1) my Ktichenaid mixer
2) my Cusinart (must be at least 20 years old)
3) my gas stove
4) my stone mortar & pestle (a la Jamie Oliver)

My wish list? Well....if I had just a little more space I would like
1) a 6-burner commercial gas range
2) a second oven....one oven is just too limiting

and...oh yes....if my house was laid out differently I would love a butler's pantry between the kitchen and the dining room: a place to store all those serving dishes.

But if I moved out of this house & had to redo another kitchen? it would look very similiar to the one I have. The whitness is so uplifting & the beadboard fits with the character of an older home.

Diary_Queen: I love the look of yours. It looks very comfy. I always say that the nicest complement anyone can make when they come to my house is that is it comfortable, and they just want to sit down & stay awhile!
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2005 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JustMe wrote:
Diary_Queen: I love the look of yours. It looks very comfy. I always say that the nicest complement anyone can make when they come to my house is that is it comfortable, and they just want to sit down & stay awhile!


Isn't that the truth, JustMe! Because I've taught/dealt with Feng Shui for over 15 years, (when every book was directly translated from Chinese), I'm very sensitive to Placement and Energy. Like your home, I almost have to kick my friends out (myself included), because it's as if you walked 'in' with a suitcase of troubles and tension, and just left it outside the door.

My nicest compliment came from my dear friend, Missie's husband, a social malcontent, who loves being 'crude and rude', to keep people at bay. I was gone, and they were cat/house-sitting; when I returned, Steve had to sit down and "talk" to me about the kitchen! Shocked Where did I get the rolling pins? What were their significance? WHAT in the world was the large cabinet (Hoosier)???!!! This "Tough Guy" sat and chatted with me about the kitchen for over an HOUR! Apparently, unbeknownst to ALL of his friends, Steve is a Closet Foodie, and when home or unemployed, he watches the Food Network 16-18 hours a stretch: in his Lazy Boy lounger, with cans of Budweiser at hand. I just wonder, if his background hadn't of beat him down, just how wonderful of a chef, etc. he'd have been. And yes! I've tried to instill confidence in him and encourage him, to no avail. He's tied to the stone around his neck, by choice.

JustMe: Don't you just love talking about kitchens and looking at them? I'm so happy, that like me, you've achieved your almost Dream Kitchen, in this life! I like your color scheme, too. Mine is plain white, not through lack of desire to paint, but I've got so much going on in there, that I find the white background almost like a museum. When the trees leaf out, it can be quite dark, despite the windows, so the white also keeps it bright. My only sadness is not being able to do anything to the cottage, but, it keeps the money in my bank account. When I bought it, I had an architect friend give it a "fine toothed comb" inspection, and he warned me that there was NOTHING worth saving in the place. It has no basement; the wiring is just barely there; etc, etc. He recommended buying it, living in it and selling it for property when I'm done with it. Since the cottage cost me $34,000 with a half acre of land less than 7 years ago, I figure that I can live in peace here, and when life tells me to move, I can do so without regret...almost.

In the posh resort community that I live in, all the small summer cottages are being destroyed, so that Yuppie Trophy Summer Homes can be built. Wee 3-month living cottages used to line the lake shore; now, they are almost extinct and $2 million dollar "cottages" are pushed to their property lines.

I guess I just like living simply.

I opened up a Photobucket account, so I'll post more photos of the kitchen, et al, in the future.
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JustMe



Joined: 13 Apr 2005
Posts: 213
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2005 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I gave up on Feng Shui before I even started because it seems as though everything I have is placed completely wrong! I love water: I have a pond in my garden, a water fountain going in my office all day, but I am fire & have to watch that the water doesn't "drown" me out. My house placement is all wrong...but it is funny because now whenever I go to hang a mirror I am so influenced by the idea that it cannot face a doorway. I should really have a go at it again.

Such a shame that you cannot do what you want to your cottage and I know exactly what you mean about those trophy homes and it is heartbreaking. I bet none of them have the same spirit as your place does.

My kitchen is truly the heart of my home. Originally I had bought 2 stools to sit at my counter but every time people come over for dinner they all stand around the island or the peninsula so I ended up getting 2 more. People will sit either on the other side of the peninsula (in the eating area) or on the other side of the island as I cook. My only stipulation is that they have to be on the other side....if you come onto my side you better be prepared to help me!

The other thing we did when we renovated the kitchen was to put in a double sink that has one side that is about 1.5 times the size of a normal sink, but the other one is a normal size. I got this idea for Martha Stewart (who?) who said she always likes a sink large enough to be able to soak pans, etc. I didn't want one that had a tiny half sink & a larger sink. The larger side is still not quite large enough for some of my roasting pans, but a small cookie sheet fits...a great investment.

***Sigh*** I could keep going on this topic. I always tell people that I am a true Taurus: I like my physical surroundings to be pleasing to me...it makes me a much happier person. I guess that's why I like to decorate and why I love my garden so much....but that is another topic.

Laughing I don't think we're in the food forum any more!
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2005 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right now I have a sad little kitchen for my standards but that will all change someday.
I want marble counter tops, a large square island with built in bookshelves on two sides, a large iron pot rack and a cooktop. A deep sink in front of a large arched window that has a large sprayer for quickly rinsing dishes, a built in industrial water filter and a hot shot faucet. A stainless steel Sub Zero. Some type of shelving to display all of my serveware, maybe with a small area to store a few bottles of wine. A walk in pantry with a place to store my lovely linens. Oh yes, I have many plans for my kitchen.

As far as things I have that I love;

Kitchen Aid mixer, Wusthof knives, GIANT mortar and pestle, strawberry huller, olive pitter, silpat, small squeeze bottles, tomato shaped Le Creuset, All Clad grill pan, Cuisinart food processor and microplane grater.
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JustMe wrote:
Such a shame that you cannot do what you want to your cottage and I know exactly what you mean about those trophy homes and it is heartbreaking. I bet none of them have the same spirit as your place does.


Well, it is a shame and it isn't a shame, JustMe. As it is, by NOT being able to renovate my home, it keeps me from spending all the money that a normal person would. New windows, additions, upgrades...every time you turn around, even if it's a project you want, $1000's of dollars fall out of your pockets. I know. I see it daily with my client. And you're right again about the Trophy homes having no spirit; usually within a year of completion, these homes are "instantly" age-y: cutesy plaques on the wall extolling "Mom's Cookin'" (when mom is too busy at the golf course); 'hand-woven' rugs (made by some child in India); and the usual high-grade pans that only see activity when the maid cleans them weekly. So many of the clients I have only use their kitchens to pop microwave popcorn or make coffee that they could have a Dorm Room kitchen and never blink an eye. Only problem is, you can't impress the neighbors with a hot plate!

That's where I got my distaste for all the posh additions like granite counter tops and 6 burner stoves. ALL of the client kitchens have them, and they go unused. They are just there for looks and when the house sells, even the new client doesn't use them. I have one customer who has lived in her designer home and kitchen for 8 years now, and she's NEVER used the stove or oven! Shocked I house-sit for her about 4 months out of the year and I even have to bring my own pans to her house: she doesn't own a single sauce pan! What the heck is that all about? Everything is microwave or take-out.

JustMe wrote:
***Sigh*** I could keep going on this topic. I always tell people that I am a true Taurus: I like my physical surroundings to be pleasing to me...it makes me a much happier person. I guess that's why I like to decorate and why I love my garden so much....but that is another topic.


I hear ya, Sista! I have a Taurus rising sign and Taurus moon, Virgo Sun and Capricorn Jupiter, so I have a Trine in Earth signs. No wonder that I work with the Earth and love the comforts of home. Home SWEET Home most definitely applies to me, too!
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dairy_Queen -- I love your kitchen and the photo of the Hossier cabinet.

Here's a couple photos of my kitchen. It is an original 1947 kitchen and home, small, 2-bedroom, 1-bath, 1500 sq. ft. bungalow typical of the post-WWII generation.

The first is my O'Keeffe & Merritt stove (I think it is a 1955 model):



This is my original porcelin sink -- note I need to get different faucet handles.



These photos were taken a year ago. Now I've got hooks all around the perimeter under the cabinets to hang pots and utensiles.
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dairy_Queen wrote:

That's where I got my distaste for all the posh additions like granite counter tops and 6 burner stoves.


Wonderful! That's my view exactly. Make the kitchen fit the home. If the home was built in 1900, make the kitchen match. If it's a 1960s home, keep the linoleum.

Dairy_Queen wrote:

I hear ya, Sista! I have a Taurus rising sign and Taurus moon, Virgo Sun and Capricorn Jupiter, so I have a Trine in Earth signs. No wonder that I work with the Earth and love the comforts of home. Home SWEET Home most definitely applies to me, too!


Oh, now you lost me. I hope no one really believes any of this astrology. The same could be written about any sign. I was born on 26 December and those things you wrote fit me perfectly.
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JustMe



Joined: 13 Apr 2005
Posts: 213
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sarape: love that stove. Is that 2 ovens????

I would actually really like a 6 burner stove because 4 burners are never enough!

As for the astrology stuff....nope...don't really believe it. I mean how can everyone born in the same month have the same characteristics. Or if you're Chinese....how can all the people born in the same year have the same sign? (I'm a rooster). Having said that, I fit the taurean profile to a t! I love the pleasures of life....and yes, I am stubborn as a bull, but that's just 'cause I'm always right! Razz JUST KIDDING!!! I don't want all these people to think I'm bull-headed!

I have lost the photos of my kitchen (computer crashed)...I will take some more as soon as I can get it clean enough!
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
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Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love my kitchen as I designed it myself when we built our house 8 years ago. Most of all I love my Corian bench tops.
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The left side is a broiler and the right is the oven. The door below the broiler is a "Bread Warmer" drawer. The door below the oven can serve as a 2nd broiler since the oven gas burner is in the roof of that opening.

On top there are 4 standard burners and in the center lies a stainless-steel plate with an oval burner underneath. I think O'Keefe & Merritt was very popular during the '40s and '50s. The ones that are fully restored cost $4000 or more. My was not restored, but it is in good condition.

Here's another photo:




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madameshawshank



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
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Location: Penrith (where jacarandas remind me of change), New South Wales, Australia

PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 10:38 pm    Post subject: kitchen dreaming Reply with quote

Erin Darlin....re Le Creuset: you say tomato, and I say heart!....aren't those colourful 'n heavy-as-all-getout shapes just the ants' pants! photographing kitchen...a today to do thing!

When I was a child, our kitchen was as big as a camera Wink ...I'm split on that idea of a kitchen matching/keeping the look of a home/house. Am remembering spending a few days before Christmas at a home in Huntington Beach, California. On paper, this house would I imagine seems as strange as anything...however spending time there I experienced it as something else again....rooms of great diversity that happily co-existed ~ the room I slept in was the "old stuff" room: an old baseball glove that had belonged to a dear relative; christening gowns, the same: another had beautiful Native American pieces: a modernish kitchen (my first experience of cooking in such a space! fun fun fun)...methinks some buildings don't mind at all ...that things don't match...diversity can be happy! and then there's the part of me that thinks other...that the complete look...oh yes, that goes with that goes with that ~

as for dreams? I let the kitchen angels drizzle (how olive oilish) some ideas into my soul!
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Barbara



Joined: 13 Nov 2004
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Location: Gold Coast Australia

PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 11:25 pm    Post subject: Some type of shelving to display all of my serveware, maybe Reply with quote

Erin - you should NEVER EVER store wine in your kitchen. The heat will damage it. If you haven't got the ideal spot (cool, constant temperature) then wrap it in a blanket and put it in the bottam of your wardrobe. Keep it out of the sun. light and vibrations ( so away from the laundry appliances also). Designers still designing kitchens with wine racks over ovens need a lesson in wine appreciation.
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JustMe



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love that stove!
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Dairy_Queen



Joined: 29 Jan 2005
Posts: 342
Location: Chicago and other places

PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sarape: Your kitchen, in one word, "Serene."

I never would have thought of using that dark teal color in a kitchen but it's breathtaking...seriously!

And LOVE that you also post photos; well done, YOU! Did the stove come with your home or did you find it and add it in later? I have a secret addiction to old stoves; the older the better. As I told JustMe, I was warned against 'upping' the price of my cottage, since it will most likely be razed when I sell the property. That said, where my store 'sits' is in an area that can't be altered without BIG bucks: one side fronts the bathroom door, so a stove couldn't get any wider or you'd need to dig a hole in the backyard to go to the bathroom! And the other side of the stove snugs up against built in cabinets. So, I'd have to rip out top and bottom cabinets to have a large 6 burner vintage stove.

I was thinking about this subject last night, and realized that I have two versions of a 'dream' kitchen. The first, is based on the reality of what I own right now; if I decided to ignore my architects suggestion and did a bump-out into the garden.

The other Dream Kitchen, is truly a dream, the kind you have if you hope all 6 numbers 'hit' on the lottery. In that kitchen, it would be located in a completely different home, anything from 1940 on down. I'd actually hire a Set Designer that specialized in movie interiors and have them design the quintessential 1920's-1940's kitchen. It would be HUGE, have a vintage frig and stove, and all the dinnerware and accessories would be authentically from that era. I'm obsessed with that time period's decor and am clueless as to "why". My Mom would always say to me, sarcastically, "You were born in the wrong century!," because I'd use my 14 year old baby-sitting money to buy antiques. Laughing And I certainly wasn't born in that time, so it's not like I'm remembering things that I wax nogstalgic over.

Whenever I watch period movies, I stop watching the plot and focus on the kitchen, whenever they show one. The best, to date, was in Woody Allen's RADIO DAYS; I could have moved right in to that kitchen. The second best, was the Walton family's kitchen; I used to fantacize, as a small girl, that I was a Walton and that I'd be able to sit at that large trestle table.

I already own 80% of this stuff. I use vintage aprons, only have 1920's-1940's dinnerware and accessories. My only concession to Modern Times are my Calphalon pans and my Cuisinart toys. But, from the comments I receive from my friends, they adore eating at my table because they love the kitch of 'cut-crystal olive dishes, little Chef Salt and Pepper Shakers, and all my Jadeite dinnerware'.

Sarape: you've inspired me to take some more photos of my kitchen. Now, I have to wait for my 56K dial up service to download them, 20 minutes per picture! Rolling Eyes
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