The heart-center of the family

The kitchen is where it’s at. The heart of my family has always revolved around the kitchen. I’ve never wanted granite countertops or designer appliances. I am thrilled, however, to have a kitchen table. The kitchen table is where meals are eaten, homework is done, playdoh is played, books are propped, and the world’s most meaningful conversations happen. The kitchen in the home we bought is perfect. Well, mostly perfect. It has a great kitchen table — intact from the ’70s. The table and chairs were probably bought around the time I was born. They’re vinyl and metal and laminate and indestructible.

When we bought the house, we added a butcher-block counter and shelves for tea, spices and cookbooks. There’s a load-bearing wall separating the kitchen from the mud room (and the ‘fridge). Through the window above the sink you can watch the seasons expressed in the leaves of the trees.

A few weeks past when my mother-in-law came to visit, her big project was to tackle the kitchen. Her motivation was a passionate hatred for the burgundy lace curtains in the kitchen. The kitchen — like most of the house — was paneled. Not, mind you, the SAME paneling in any two rooms. Stop talking crazy talk. The kitchen had a light-wood paneling of very poor quality. It was impossible to clean off, which is an issue for a lived-in, loved-in, cooked-in kitchen.

For ONCE I remembered to take before pictures. Here ya go:

The view from the dining room
The view from the dining room

From near the coffee maker - note bread rising and top of curly moppet head
From near the coffee maker - note bread rising and top of curly moppet head
The kitchen table area
The kitchen table area
The new view from the dining room
The new view from the dining room
View from the pantry
View from the pantry

The Ikea island - you would not believe how much we use that sandwich press
The Ikea island - you would not believe how much we use that sandwich press

This needs to be framed in and painted, but that's corkboard and metallic paint
This needs to be framed in and painted, but that's corkboard and metallic paint

There’s still plenty to do. We need curtains. The color theme for the first floor is sage and lapis, with the living room mostly sage, the dining room a combo (we bought new fancy-dishes since the ones I got for my wedding just have not held up to normal use), and the kitchen mostly white-and-blue. Laureen also painted the mud room, bathroom, entrance hallway and halfway up the stairs white instead of cream. (She did get through the entire 5 gallons of paint!)

We’re also working on this sort of correspondence center. The wall that’s currently black and cork is intended to be magnetic paint on the bottom (currently black) and then a bulletin board framed in with molding at the top. I think we need a whole additional can of magnetic paint. The bottom has about 7 layers, but it’s not enough to hold up the boys’ magnetic toys, which was the point. Once we’re done painting, the whole think will be painted white. I’ll put things like cards and art work on the bulletin board and the bottom can have magnetic letters, etc.

We also plan on putting an overhead fan/light where the old chandelier thingy is — which will mean we will have overhead fans in every single room in the first and second floors. We’re also going to put in a magazine rack on the small shelf, and maybe really narrow shelves to hold my teas.

But I really like it. It’s clean and cleanable. It’s a light, airy room anyway, and this made it lighter and brighter.

This is the room where the living of my family will take place over the next 17 odd years. May it be filled with heavenly scents, laughter, and memories.

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