I figured after a year and a half, it was due time to share with you an update on our cottage kitchen renovation. Lord knows it's been a full year and a half, but here we are. That's renovation with a farm, two home-based businesses, three books, and four children my friends.
And it's not even done yet (if you can believe that shocking fact). Actually, no less than twelve hours after I took these pictures, we were ready to take on the next project: the root cellar that sits directly under the kitchen. As these things go, we've decided to knock out a stairway, break down a few walls, widen the staircase, and move the washer and dryer down to the cellar.
Silly me. Thinking we were done.
But until that day (which will probably come sooner than later because that root cellar needs to be done now), I wanted to share with you the massive progress we've made since we started demo last June in our cottage kitchen. Lest we forget what we started with, let's remember, shall we?
Yep. Faux oak cabinets, green carpeting, and even an electronic can opener screwed to the bottom of the cabinet. Awww baby, I can see the potential now!
Since I have a million photos to share (and they're worth a thousand words anyway), let's get started! To review our progress in the midst of the renovation, check out THIS POST and THIS POST to get caught up.
The view from the entrance door that comes into the kitchen from the potager.
Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen, baby! The same place we filmed our Food Network pilot this last fall. A true old-world cottage kitchen inspired by a thousand things and places I love. Allow me to give you a tour…
Enter the door and turn slightly to the right. Here's what you'd see. Is that a blue lego under my couch? Figures…
The highlight of this area is the kitchen couch, a $40 purchase that has already served us well. It's the perfect place to rest weary bones while the soup simmers, for little ones to nap, for company to enjoy their coffee while I cook for them, or just to sit and read for a few minutes while the family thinks you're washing dishes. Notice it's proximity to the espresso machine.
Our washer and dryer are in the kitchen, which I haven't minded one bit.
We created a little covering for extra storage and such over the washer and dryer to hide them a bit. Eventually, the washer and dryer will be moved to the cellar and this entire area will be reworked to incorporate a small pot-belly stove for cooking and such. But that's another day. In the meanwhile, I love this sweet little area. Coffee mugs, some baskets for produce harvesting from the garden, and a copper tea kettle that hides my laundry soap.
This wallpaper was saved from the square we cut out in one of the walls to put in a window. Isn't it divine? I wish I could have all the walls covered in it.
Right to the left of the washer and dryer is our Queen. The Faema espresso machine. 400 pounds of pure, caffeinated pleasure.
Under the espresso machine hides a bin of potatoes, my kombucha crock, and the butternut squash that should be in the root cellar but is instead in my kitchen. Because that's the way it goes.
Enter the door from the potager and turn to the left, this is what you'd see. A doorway to the root cellar that (as previously mentioned) will soon be entirely broken out and opened up. Yay projects?? The contraption hanging on the door is a old-school line dryer for sweaters and such.
Right next to the green and white root cellar door is a rack of dishes, ingredients, and pretty old things.
Most of my dishes have been collected from thrift stores for a few bucks. The canisters hold commonly used ingredients, like flours, lentils, rice, beans, cocoa powder, etc.
The little white table will be replaced by a sturdy, larger butcher block when I find the right one. Sometimes, these things take years to find. That's okay. I can be patient.
My copper collection hangs above the range.
Oh these green cabinets. How I love them. When we painted them for the show, I promptly painted them right back when we were done filming. I know this color isn't for everyone, but emerald green speaks to my soul. They were trimmed out to create depth, painted green, and then distressed with Valspar Antiquing Wax.
Stuart custom made the 3″ thick fir countertops with locally milled wood. They're wearing well, though naturally wood gets dings and such, which in my world, only adds to it's charm. The counters were built around the large, cast-iron Kohler sink. It is a single basin.
The little curtain under the sink was an Etsy find that I just Stich-Witched and put a tension rod through.
We special-ordered the faucet from an online retailer. My first choice was a thousand dollar, custom-made model from England. That wasn't happening.
Oh hey! Good to see ya! Don't mind my hair knot that hasn't come out for a week.
To the left of the kitchen sink is a bit more counter space, a hand-me-down KitchenAid mixer that is half-broken, and a few more shelves for my ever-changing dish collection. The backsplash is a vintage tin that was beautiful and crusty and rusty and accidentally got painted over in the filming of the pilot. I cried. I still love it's charming patterns and texture.
Stu said my oven mitts look disgusting in this picture. I kindly pointed out that this is real life and in real life, that's what my oven mitts look like. There is life here! And life means I'm cooking food.
This is the area where most of my food is prepped. We ripped out the cabinets that were here, replaced it with an old rustic table, and resurfaced the table with additional fir countertops to match the sink area. Instead of cabinets, we have metal shelving underneath the table. Knives, cutting boards, einkorn flour (in the large ceramic container by the scale), and spices are all kept handy by this area.
… and here she is. Madame Lacanche. My mistress. The range we saved forever for. The range that I will take with me to my grave (actually, I'll probably be able to pass it on to my children). Originally, the stove sat where the fir counter is now, but this helped to centralize it and kept me from facing the wall while I cooked.
You’ll notice our kitchen is lacking a few “standard” essentials like a toaster, microwave, and dishwasher. We’ve found none of these to be necessities and opted instead for the additional space their absence brings.
This was originally a ceiling fan that I just couldn't fall in love with. So I took it down, replaced it with this vintage chandelier, and now every time I see it, I smile. Chandeliers bring me so much happiness! I know it feels a bit weird to contrast the old-world, crusty kitchen with sparkly, fancy chandeliers, but for some reason, it works perfectly.
ACV is hidden in the vintage Italian wine bottle, olive oil is in the little jug from my favorite pottery supplier, salt is in the imported english container, and maple syrup is in the Bordeaux bottle (I just think they look prettier this way). Obviously, my collection of wooden spoons is getting rather large…
Most of our meat is kept in the root cellar where it is dark and cool, but we keep one of everything in the kitchen for easy access. Bacon, proscuitto, guanciale, Canadian bacon, and a few braids of onions and bundles of herb are on the meat racks currently.
We built the chicken coop last spring and I stare at it every time I wash dishes. This is the view from the kitchen sink, where I can enjoy starring out over the potager, grape vines, and chicken run.
And this is the view through the window that sits above the kitchen couch. This is the courtyard we spent all of last summer remodeling (though it looks a bit better in the summer). The house is circled around this area, you can see it from practically every window and doorway, so we get to enjoy the view often. Where the lights are is the outdoor seating area.
This photograph was taken in a mirror so you could easily see the layout of the fridge. This will likely shift a bit with the root cellar remodel, but here it is for now! I put an old $10 door on the side of the refrigerator (after I painted it), to hide the side of it and add a bit of farm flavor.
This is the view walking into the kitchen from the dining room. This doorway was originally teeny tiny, so we widened it and reframed it for easier flow. We also added the window to the left of the rounded door. The rounded door is the original door we walked through that leads to the potager and driveway.
Oh – and lest we forget about the floors! Originally carpet when we moved it, this tongue and groove flooring (original to the 1909 farmhouse) was too beautiful to cover up. Instead, I painted it, stenciled it, and am allowing it to wear accordingly. Food falls into the cracks. There are a few natural holes in the wood where you can peak down into the root cellar below. It's slightly uneven as it's sagged with age. But, come on!, it's terribly charming, isn't it? I wouldn't trade it for anything. The large green cabinet in the picture here is a custom-made back for our Lacanche range.
The reality is that there are thoughtful elements in every nook and cranny of this space and to give that sort of attention to each element takes time. So we spent a long time getting our cottage kitchen to this particular point, intentionally finding and sourcing the perfect pieces, colors, and decor that we wanted to incorporate. Though it’s certainly not the easiest way to go, the result is richly satisfying. One thing I love particularly about this kitchen is that you could hardly mistake it for anyone else's – this space is deeply Shaye’s space. It’s rustic, patched together, crumbly, and imperfect.