In every home I've kept, the kitchen has always been the heartbeat of our home, the room I'm most connected to and happily spend the most time in. Even when Stuart and I visit stately homes, it's the kitchen that I make a beeline to and usually love the most. I'll take a worn trestle table and copper pots over an opulent drawing room any day. This is the most recent kitchen I fell in love with, Avebury Manor in the village of Avebury, Wiltshire. It had it all--copper pots, blue and white, worn pine tables and work counters. I wanted to move in straight-away.
|The kitchen at Avebury Manor in Wiltshire.|
Our Oxford kitchen is the absolute heart of our home--almost literally, since it provides the life's blood for running a bed and breakfast. It's where I cook breakfast for our guests nearly every day of the week; it serves as our office; it's where I write from, where I sit and FaceTime with our grandchildren, where I arrange flowers, where I stand and watch the Lewis Tree sway in the wind, watching the seasons come and go. I spend hours in it every day, so it's probably the room in the house that reflects my heart the most.
at home for real comfort.
|The counters are actually more often a crazy quilt|
of flowers, teacups, toast crumbs, serving bowls, post,
the B&B diary, books, phones, and a computer.
In other words, real life.
|The tea and toast corner is Stuart's|
domain during breakfast (I cook, he
makes the toast and tea and serves).
"Bread and water can so
easily be tea and toast."
|The kitchen--the true heart of any home.|
|This is outside the kitchen window|
looking back in (two sets of curtains
ago), where I nursery the window
boxes for the front of our house.
|Jack, when he was 'wee' Jack,|
looking out the kitchen window.
the whole world kin.
|Our back door with it's ever-present|
muddy wellies flanking it. The print
to the right of the door is one of my
favourites and it's followed me through
my many lifetimes and kitchens. It's by
New England artist,
Mary Azarian, ' Ff is for Farm '
|The back door curtain is trimmed|
in the blue and white window curtain
fabric. The little mirror is for a quick
check before I answer the door bell,
making sure my hair isn't too wild
and I look presentable to guests.
|Our kitchen island is for|
plating up breakfast--and
for chasing Jack around.
|The kitchen is also where we|
fold laundry and where we have
to watch out for a laundry thief
who operates in this area.
|I'd rather have roses on my table|
than diamonds on my neck.
|Primroses and forget me nots|
from our April garden.
|These two live in the kitchen|
dresser and are Stuart and I, but in
Beatrix Potter form. Stuart with his
nose in a newspaper and me with a
cup of tea, lost in my daydreams.
|A garden bench for after-breakfast|
coffee. Herbs for cooking
grow in the bicycle basket
and my Kitchen Garden planter.
|Our terrace looks out onto the|
higgledy-piggledy rooftops of Oxford.
the weekend, but luckily a few
It isn't always easy living where I work and working where I live, but loving kitchens and being a homebody helps, and most days it's pure pleasure. When we first moved in eight years ago though, this kitchen was no one's dream--it was more like a 70's nightmare. I endured it for nearly three years until we could finally rip it all out and start over--which was it's own challenge. Doing anything in a 500 year old, Grade II listed home is a potential minefield.
There were small challenges too, like learning a new kitchen vocabulary when I talked to our builder or suppliers. My American 'faucet' had to turn into a British 'tap', I was used to an oven or a stove and here they're cookers or ranges, and a backsplash is a splashback. But we got through it in the end and the result has added so much to our life and to the B&B. Here's that story.......
'That 70's Kitchen'......
We had merrily made plans to remodel the kitchen AND the bathrooms all at
once. Since the B&B would be closed for a month, we naively thought it just made sense. By early August we realized how wrong we were--as the entire house was in a dusty upheaval and as many as 15 workmen in and out of the house all day long. Between the dust and the mess and the agonizing decision of how to get modern, boat-like bathtubs up staircases designed and built in 1530, we weren't sure we would make it out with our sanity intact. But we did.......
I found the lavender tiles below after an exhaustive 2 day Google search and they are worth all the time I spent looking for them.
And finally, the new floor--which I've been putting off cleaning while I write this (sitting in the chair in the photo)--so I really must sign off and get to cleaning this wonderful new floor. My new oven may be self-cleaning, but unfortunately, the floor is not.
Kitchen Update 2015: Four years on and the kitchen has held up beautifully. There have been a few changes like new curtains and the light yellow walls keep it light and airy. It's an easy room to spend time in--good thing since we spend a lot of time in our kitchen. It's our office, financial centre, social media hub, pantry, and all-purpose work room. Like kitchens should be--it's the heart of our home.