Monday, May 18, 2020

The Kitchen Eight Years Later

Hi All -- I'm glad you've stopped by.  Around this time eight years ago, we were having our kitchen renovated -- a long-overdue improvement, I might add.  We had lived here for 16 years before we had an opportunity to get the kitchen properly re-modeled.  Part of the room was stuck in the 70's and part was stuck in the 90's.  Not the best look ever.  😏  I'm not going to go back over that process; if you'd like to see pictures of the before kitchen and the renovation process, you can see that here, here, and here and here.  I showed the final reveal in 2013 here
All of this is old news for those of you who've been following along here for awhile, but I updated my pictures yesterday because I just finished a good spring clean in the kitchen.  Since I knew it would only stay this way about 17 1/2 minutes, I knew I'd better snap some quick pictures and record this for posterity.  I inherited my mother's love for saving, and looking back at, old pictures.  I'll note here that when we did the original renovation in 2012, we didn't replace the dishwasher, refrigerator, or floor.  We've now replaced everything but the fridge, which I hope won't be needed for awhile.
This is the kitchen as seen from the dining room doorway.  It's the business side of the kitchen, where all the cooking and dish washing are done.  We had hardwood floors put in here back in 2017, and we really love the difference they've made.  
Here you see the door to outside, which we always use; the front door rarely gets used.
This is the eating area, viewed from the exterior door.  The table and windsor chairs have been in the kitchen for many years; the ladder-back chairs were added a few years ago.  The baker's rack on the right, one of my favorite pieces, was also part of the original kitchen.  The white door leads to our dining room.
The stove as you see it coming in from outside.
The drawer stack to the left of the stove was added during renovation, and I love it.  Before, we only had five, shallow drawers in the whole kitchen, and finding room for everything was a major frustration.
Time to re-fill the K-cup canister.  😉
The kitchen has good countertop space for a 1970's house. 
The new Whirlpool dishwasher was installed around 2015 when our old Maytag died.  This one is bigger and does a much better job on our dishes.      
One reason I wrote this post and am sharing these pictures is because it's good to look back after a renovation (or a new build) and see what has worked well and what has not, and what choices you would make differently if you had it to do over.  There are very few things I would change in here now, and that really makes me happy.  There were a few things we thought of during the re-model, but since we had to try and stick to our budget, we elected not to do.  One of those things was pull-out shelves for our modest pantry.  I would still love to have those, but we've made do without them.
This cast iron, enamel sink was a favorite purchase for me.  Hal and I both love it; it's very deep and so much better for washing big pots and pans in.  It's been pretty easy to care for (we are careful, though) but one small thing I would change here is the drains.
During the re-model, our contractor asked if I wanted chrome/stainless steel drains or white, and I chose white.  They're pretty, but they didn't hold up well.  The drain and rim on this side are fine,
but not so much on this side.  The sink hasn't turned blue or gray, by the way, it's the daylight spectrum colors in the lights over the sink.  This doesn't look so good, huh?  Our drain wasn't draining properly a few years ago, and Hal used one of those drain snakes to unclog it.  It caught on the rim of the drain and chipped a piece off.  It immediately started to discolor because I think water got under the white coating, and it has fine cracks in it as well.  I think the chrome drain would have held up much better, but we were not to know that when we picked this out.  Lesson learned. 
Unfortunately, the white drain trap that came with the sink doesn't cover the rim of the drain, so the ugly part was still visible.  I found these stainless drain traps on Amazon, and they do a great job.  They catch the smallest of crumbs and particles, and it's so easy to knock those out in the trash can at night.  They keep a lot of stuff from going down the drain and possibly stopping up the plumbing.  They also hide the drain rims, so yippee for that.  😀  I can still use the white drain traps when I need to fill the sink with water.
The other thing I learned from this renovation was that next time around (if there is one) I will choose eggshell finish for the painted walls instead of a matte finish.  I think the matte finish is very pretty, but it doesn't wipe clean like an eggshell finish would.  With the table so close to the wall, we've had some big splatters that won't come off.  Fortunately, they're not so visible unless you look closely.  I still love the color, though; this yellow has made me happy every day for eight years.   
Basically, those are the only three things we would change in here.  I can't ask for better than that, as this was our first big re-model.  The original pictures I shared from the reveal were fine, but I always felt the kitchen looked very sterile and impersonal.  I know a lot of folks prefer their kitchen that way -- no clutter and all that.  I've tried to avoid clutter, too, but I want my kitchen to be homey and cozy.   
When it comes to design style, there are a lot of choices out there.  I know one style that seems so popular is the French country style.  Then of course, there's the farmhouse style.  When I planned this kitchen, I had more of an English cottage style in mind, along with American southern, which is what we are.  Hal and I had been to England years ago, and I have a few books on English Country style, along with a bunch of magazines.  I love the colorful, lived-in look of those traditional kitchens.  What I didn't think about at the time, is how many little things I have from France, and so our kitchen has some French influence, as well.  Most of all, the kitchen reflects us and our tastes, and that's what really matters to me.   
Almost every piece of pottery in this kitchen came from North Carolina potteries.   
My sister gave me this pretty glass cutting board/trivet for my birthday a few years ago.
I've always loved copper and have had it in all of our kitchens since the beginning of our marriage.
Copper is also very French, so it goes very well with the other French elements in here.
Many years ago, I really wanted a baker's rack for our kitchen, and I searched long and hard for one that was small enough to fit in our kitchen without crowding the eating area.  I still love this one all these years later.  The doors at the bottom have chicken wire, and it has a carved shell at the top, both of which are common in French furniture.  I didn't think about these things when we bought the piece; I just knew I liked it.
French Country Diary, by Linda Dannenberg.  One of my readers asked a few weeks ago who the author is on this calendar, so I'm including that in this post.
I love a pretty French market basket, how about you?  If this were a magazine shoot, which it's not, I would have a bouquet of fresh flowers in that basket.  I love my little kitchen, but it's not magazine material. 
This tablecloth came from France, via Charleston.  A lady in the old City Market had a booth of linens from Provence.  She was very friendly, and we enjoyed chatting with her.  She was a native of Brazil who had married a Frenchman, and every year they visit his family in France and she purchases French linens to sell in Charleston, where they make their home.  Seeing this tablecloth will always remind me of her and that fun trip.  The tablecloth was very reasonably priced too, by the way.
The pepper grinder on the stove came from the same booth in Charleston.  You can see the similarity to the tablecloth pattern.
Hal's mom brought me this large tea towel from France.  They've visited France many times, and she has brought me some lovely linens and aprons from different regions of France.
Speaking of aprons, my friend Laura, who blogs at Decor To Adore, made this apron with the yellow ties and the lace hem.  I bought it from her several years ago, and I got one for my mom and mother-in-law, as well.  The apron with the blue border at the bottom came from France from my mother-in-law.
So many things in this room have a personal meaning to me, and it's a pleasure to work and eat in here.
The kitchen is full of English touches, like painted cabinets and open shelves, lots of blue and white dishes,
framed botanicals,
marmalade crock,
Mason Cash mixing bowl, etc.  You get the picture.  All of these things were collected over time, rather than for the purpose of creating a particular style.  I would love to have an AGA range, too, but they are not practical for us because of the cost and the fact that they put out too much heat for living in the south.  
It's the little touches that make a house a home, isn't it?  
Do you use crocheted dishcloths in your kitchen?  We had a family friend, Lois, for many, many years, and she died the week after my dad did.  She was just a precious person, and her sister crocheted dishcloths, and other things, as well.  Every time we visited Lois, or she came to see us, she brought the women some of these dishcloths.  I will think of her every time I use these. 
Scottie cookie jars from my husband's aunt.
So I'm happy now that I have updated pictures of the kitchen for our records.  I've wanted to do this for ages.  I wish it could look this neat and tidy all the time, but we have to live here -- it's not a museum.  😊  Also, I'm the world's messiest cook.  Even with a small meal, I can manage to dirty up a bunch of pots, pans, and utensils.  The kitchen may not look like this again for a long time.   
If you're still here and you're still awake after this long post, THANK YOU!!  I do appreciate your visits, you make my day.  I hope you have a wonderful week, my friends!   
 I'm joining Susan, the host of "Metamorphosis Monday" for today's link party.  Hope you'll join in the fun!  


  1. Denise, your kitchen is beautiful and so homey and inviting! I love the French touches, like the hand painted tiles in your backsplash. Did you do them, or someone you know?
    I also had copper kettles for years on my stove -- I love the look, too -- but I've had trouble finding good quality ones these days without spending a fortune. Do you remember where you bought yours, and would you mind posting?
    Linked to you from BNOTP, glad to have found you!

  2. Love your cozy, English cottage kitchen and those yellow walls. Thanks for showing us again all the pretty things you have. I like the shine of copper, but have never been able to keep it. Can't keep the shine of silver, either. I'm obviously a lazy bones. 🙃

  3. Lovely, inviting kitchen! I know how much "fun" it is to remodel a kitchen and trying to find utensils to prepare a meal! Wishing you a wonderful day!

  4. I love your kitchen. It's so full of personality! And color! It's refreshing to see a kitchen that isn't all white. You should be proud of yourself!

  5. I love your happy kitchen, Denise! It has such a warm, English/French countryside feel to it...just someplace that makes one feel comfortable in. Your things that you’ve collected throughout the years add to the homey, cozy look. To be happy with the color after eight years is a wonder thing. I always use crocheted dishcloths. How sweet of Lois to gift you ladies with her homemade ones. Thanks for taking us on a tour of the heart of your home.

  6. What a cozy and practical kitchen. I like copper too and am picking up a few pieces here and there. Your kitchen has lots of character and looks very comfortable.

  7. It all looks lovely, as well as beautifully spick and span, Denise!



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