Sunday, April 1, 2012

Kitchen Tour: Shannon's.

 (The cake stand my most amazing co-worker and friend Susan built for our wedding sits atop the fridge my dad got us as our house warming present.  The little cow creamer, and toile print pot that holds my wine corks, also came from Susan just as little "hey I found this and thought of you" items I would find on my desk at work.  The green dishes were wedding gifts.  The tin canisters on top were saved for me by my co-worker Lucy who, like me, can't stand to see such things go to the trash.)

It such a common thing to hear, but really the place in our home where we probably spend the bulk of our 
 time is the kitchen.  It over looks our backyard, opens up to our back patio where we can sit and have coffee in the morning or a cocktail after work.  From the window over the kitchen sink, we can see the side gate and drive where we can see each other arrive home, and watch our dog Elwood as he races back and forth from fence to fence alerting us to any dogs, bikes, or passersby.  Our kitchen is a humble affair.  When we first moved in it was all chipping, nicotine- colored paint, a stove we were told didn't work, a mini fridge, (yes a mini fridge), sub flooring, and brown veneered cabinets from the 1970s.  We bought the house and got married in the back yard within 19 months, which meant a whirlwind of paint, peeling wallpaper, sanding, scrubbing, making and installing trim, shelving, windows where there was only plywood covered holes and more.  The kitchen got the least attention, but I still love our little bright green corner of the house.

Our circa 19?? 'Brown' Stove

 This is where it all happens.  The stove and oven that we were told didn't work totally does- you just need to keep a long handled lighter near the burners, and turn one of the burner knobs while holding the broiler tray open to get the oven to light.  Simple.  We had a maintenance man come out our first year in the house when all of a sudden we couldn't get the oven to light at all.  Seventy five dollars later, he shook his head, shrugged his shoulders, told us he never even heard of a 'Brown' and left me to figure out that one of the switches had just been accidentally bumped from manual to auto.  This oven is definitely all manual- no auto.  Rusted out holes have finally pushed us to purchase a new one.  We're just waiting to find one that can take its place....

 If Erin has a baking station, I have a coffee station. I asked Matt to install the shelf that hangs over the stove to hold all our coffee mugs close at hand and the photo of all my family in our Celtic Festival garb to greet me each morning.

The view onto the garden from the window above the stove.

My Martha Stewart Style Open shelving
The cast iron skillet that hangs here is one of our most used items.

The shelves and pegboard came with the house (so to speak).   I just painted them all with a few coats of primer and a 'clear' gray color.  I was surprised by how well it seems to work. Many of the objects on these shelves are things I found at consignment and thrift shops.  The cake stands and big green bowls were wedding gifts.  The recipe box was part of my bridal shower gifts, painted to match my kitchen and filled with the favorite recipes of everyone who attended.
 The green wicker basket holds tea.  The giant black Le Cruset pot and the smaller green on the shelf above it we found on sale and were our anniversary gifts to each other.

What you couldn't see in the first photo- the washer and dryer that sit below.  I had to include this shot as anyone who has ever been over for dinner, pot luck, brunch etc. knows what a central role these non-kitchen appliances have played in the workings of my kitchen. Until the old washing machine finally gave out, the two appliances were the exact same height and were quickly transformed into bar, buffet, prep area, or just used as conversational seating for guest while I cooked. Just hop up! You gotta make do with what you got... someday we hope to move the duo upstairs and put in a proper counter and bar stools.

Willie and Friends
The inside of our tall cabinets original to the house. We only painted them a semi gloss white.

The chalk board that is the only part of the kitchen visible from the dining room table.  We write up weekly menus here when we're on top of things, or put up a menu for  special dinner parties. Matt made it for us using some salvaged wood we found in the attic.

An Elwood-esq tile my mom got from a potter in Vermont

El himself, always at the ready in case some tiny morsel drops.

Where it all ends up... my grandmothers dining room table with the chairs she hand embroidered.  The bar was a alley find refinished by Matt, and the stained glass doors for it were made by my father-in-law.  The mirror came from an "antique" shop in Ashland many years ago. 

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