Oh, how I love plates -- especially Quimperware.
As in most homes, my kitchen is the "heart of the home". Most of you probably saw my kitchen on RMS, but I do have some stories to share about it (again, is everyone shocked that I have a story or two to tell?).
My parents built this house in 1949, so I grew up here. My father died in 1969, and my mother died in 2000. My maternal grandparents had lived with us while I was growing up. I tell you that, so you might possibly understand why it took me three years, following my mother's death, to go through everything and get the house cleaned out. My mother and my grandmother were "pack rats" (and since I am also a pack rat, I say that with love). This house was filled with their "stuff". So, I come by it naturally (however, my sister could have pulled a dump truck up in the driveway, and she would have been done with the clean-out in a week--I don't know why I got that trait and she didn't).
Let me tell you... a pack rat, going through a houseful of three generations of pack rats, takes some time (to be honest, 3 years really wasn't enough time!).
When I finally had thrown away everything that I could part with (about 4 garbage cans full -- and they were small garbage cans), we had to decide what to do with the house. My dh had "courted" me while I was living in this house. After our marriage, we and our children ate many Sunday dinners in this house and celebrated many holidays here. Since we live in the town where we grew up, and since it is a fairly small town, we knew we'd be driving by this house frequently. Neither my dh nor I could stand to think about seeing someone else living in the house that held so many wonderful memories for us. So, we decied to buy my sister's half, remodel and move in.
We changed a lot when we remodeled, but we also kept a lot of the special features that we loved about this house. This breakfast area of the kitchen retains the built in shelves that I grew up seeing every day. (Of course, back then they weren't as cluttered as they are now).
This little book rack on the wall always held current magazines and a Bible. Now it holds my childhood books and even some of my mother's childhood books. My grandchildren call these "terrible" books. Of course, they mean "tear-able", because I've told them they can't look at them without an adult, because they are old and will tear easily. The "cherry" light fixture has always hung over the table in this kitchen. (Of course, those little cherries weren't stenciled on the ceiling until it became my home). I don't know why the walls look peach in these pictures. They are a soft yellow. (I really need to work on my photography, or maybe I should ask Santa for a new camera.)
You see this beautiful mahogany on top of my island (if I do say so myself)? That is the best story of all. I was trying to do this remodel as inexpensively as possible (what else would you expect from a bargain hunter?). I wanted a wood counter top, but couldn't find what I wanted. I called my dh's uncle, who is a cabinet maker in South Carolina and asked him about teak wood. He told me he had a huge slab of mahogany. I got so excited (until I found out what it would cost). I resigned myself to doing a tile counter top on the island, with hopes that I would eventually get the wood. I was at home on a Saturday, and my husband called and said the contractor needed me to come over to make a decision about something on the remodel. When I got here, my dh's uncle and his wife were here, and this beautiful counter top was on my island. It was my wedding anniversary gift. I cried like a baby. Isn't my dh just the sweetest?
Don't run to the optomitrist. You are not seeing double. Yes, there are two stoves. I priced those wonderful commercial ranges and immediately went into my "tight wad" mode. I decided that two free-standing ranges, placed side-by-side, would give me more burners and more oven space at a lower price.
The tile mural over the stoves was my first real Internet experience. I found these on a website, and I called to talk to them about ordering with my credit card. The man I talked to could barely speak English, but I did understand: "no credit cards, send check". I really liked the tiles, and more importantly, they weren't as expensive as most I had seen, so I sent a check. Months went by, and my tiles didn't arrive. My family was really giving me a hard time about how I had been silly enough to send a check, and the check had already cleared! I called the company and talked to a different man who could barely speak English! He said the man I had previously talked to was "out of the country"! I resigned myself to the fact that I had made a stupid mistake. The tiles arrived two weeks later. Whew! I was SO relieved and felt so vindicated (actually, I think I may have just been lucky, but I still did a lot of "I told you so's").
As you can see, I don't have many upper cabinets. I do have a walk-in food pantry and a walk-in china pantry. And if you think I'm going to show you those, you can just think again--they are packed way too full (not like that darling pantry that Cindy has on RMS)! They started out looking pretty good, but I gave up on that several years ago. There is a peak into my china pantry in the picture that shows my two stoves.
I probably shouldn't even show you THESE shelves. I have over-stuffed them too. But, I want to tell you about the little bench. I had that built to use for a dog bed. I only had one grandchild at the time, and she was an infant. Now I have four grandchildren, and they all think that is their little bench. After my grandchildren went home with dog hair all over their clothes a few times, I had to ban my dog from her bed. (Don't worry, I did find another spot for the dog, and she's very comfortable.)
(I know, I know, I should have turned off my flash.)
I'm not a decorator, and I hesitate to share my spaces with others, but as I've said before, this is my blog, and though I didn't hire a decorator, we do love our home. If one of you decorators out there wants to volunteer to come decorate "pro bono", I will happily accept your offer. And, as usual, I know this is a LOT more information than anyone wanted. So, if one of you psychiatrists out there wants to volunteer to come help me (pro bono) with my "over sharing" problems, I will happily accept your offer as well! Actually, if a decorator did show up at my door, they'd better bring a psychiatrist with them, because it would be a major job just to talk me into getting rid of all of my "stuff"! And, maybe they should bring the Sheriff too, because I just might fight for my "stuff". Thanks for stopping in. I know, I know, you're just glad you don't have to dust all of this stuff! laurie