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Building up a kitchen from scratch

By Christa Terry

I like all things rustic, though I can’t rightly say why. When I was growing up, the dream home I envisioned in my head looked just like something out of a modernist furniture catalog. My maternal grandparent’s home may have been somewhat of an inspiration, as it was filled with triumphs of Danish Design. Long story short, my mother’s penchant for wood and so on mortified me beyond belief. Why I thought that any of my peers would be giving thought to our home and its trappings is utterly beyond me.

Buried somewhere in the books The Beard and I have not yet unpacked is a short work discussing the French kitchen. In my youth I spent a great deal of time hanging about German kitchens, but never had the opportunity to visit a French one so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the book’s assertion that the kitchens in France’s countryside don’t typically have built in counters or storage space. Maybe it’s a regional thing?

Drool slobber slobber want

After reading that, I was sorely tempted to rip out all my counters and cabinetry so I could start fresh with all manner of wonderful tables and cabinets. I might begin my kitchen re-imaging adventure with this antique pine and Vermont soapstone island. It comes complete with two roomy drawers with brass pulls so we’d have someplace to put all those odd little kitchen doodads The Beard’s mom insists on buying for us.

6 Responses to “Building up a kitchen from scratch”

  1. buttercup Says:

    That looks like a real conversation piece for when you have guests!

  2. Toby Wollin Says:

    My only beef with this soapstone topped island is – not enough shelves. I live for shelves. We re-did our kitchen this past year and that was my only spec — “got to have lots and lots of shelves”. The other part was not to waste space on cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling(which is what I already had and could never reach the top of), so that I could have display space for stuff that a) I like to look at and display, but b) I never ever use.

  3. Never teh Bride Says:

    stuff that a) I like to look at and display, but b) I never ever use.

    I definitely have a lot of stuff like that — especially in the kitchen!

  4. Jennie Says:

    In the kitchen business it’s called the unfitted kitchen. It’s very common in old farm homes in Europe. Usually, cast off furniture made it to the kitchen to serve as storage since the only ones to see it would be the servants. Done right, it’s truly lovely. Dishes go into china cabinets or plate racks over the sink. Pots hang from an overhead or wall rack. A couple (or more) of converted wardrobes become pantry and misc. storage. A huge central table becomes the primary prep counter area. The biggest sacrifice is that it forces one to get rid of the drek. If you have 5 sets of china, either get rid of some or consign several sets to the dining room. The foam beer holders, plastic fast food cups, the coffee mugs advertising the local funeral home have to go. Everything has to have a purpose. Small appliances have to be stored and pulled out as needed. (Unless you have a huge space..) Lots of fun designing!

  5. Never teh Bride Says:

    Thanks for clearing that up, Jennie. I’ve always wondered about that sort of kitchen. I have family who are farmers in northern Germany and I think their kitchen is unfitted.

    Getting rid of drek? Sounds good to me!

  6. Meg Q Says:

    Ikea has a nice line of unfitted kitchen . . . um, “non-cabinets” (well, they do have “cabinets”, just not – oh, never mind!). One of the more luxe-looking things they make. Highly recommended.

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    Christa Terry
    (a.k.a. Never teh Bride)


    Manolo the Shoeblogger