Welcome, at long last to the very much more organized, improved and definitely decanted Beach Cottage Kitchen!
This has taken much effort in the shopping department on my part, much drilling, battening & screwing in the DIY department on Mr BC’s part and patience on the BC Kiddos part when they’ve had to suffer a mother obsessed by jars & shelves for the past two weeks.
So, before I show you around, last night I was thinking about when why and how I became a decantaholic. And I believe it all started approximately 14 years ago, back in the Old Country.
You see we had just moved out of our first own home in what we called Toy Town and into a nice big house in a very nice village thank-you-very-much, with two village greens, big old conker trees lining the road, a thatched pub, a tile roof pub, a pub with low eaves and a fire, a pub for the cricketers on the cricket green, a pub for the railway by the train. You get the picture, there were nice pubs.
It was expensive to buy a place in this village but we wanted out of Toy Town and into pub/green/countryside village. So to cut a long story short we bought the worst house in the street and set ourselves on a crash-course in DIY. This house came with the most beautifully manicured gardens, concrete 1970′s ‘wallpaper’ in the lounge, a serving hatch (never in my life do I want to see a serving hatch again) and a long, large and very much built-in kitchen.
Boy was this kitchen organized. The first morning I came down to feed Honeymoon Baby & got lost in the vastness of the cupboards, I remember looking at the wood cabinets, the brown Franke sink and the hideous integrated chimney extractor thingy & thinking I might suffocate. It was like some kitchen designer had sat with one of those pieces of software for hours, cutting display shelving at an angle here, shaping the breakfast bar in a kind of u there, slotting the microwave in a built-in hole in the wall there & generally living out his design school ideas right here in this room in the depths of the Kentish countryside.
Oh and the tiles, I nearly forgot the tiles & the window blind. Matchy matchy…in shades of earth and brown and mottled. The kinda ones suddenly becoming trendy again now that you see in those magazines with the vintage processed pictures of anaemic girls standing around.
I will never ever buy those tiles.
There were, in this super-duper planned up to its eyeballs kitchen, 65 wall cupboards in which to stash crap and at first I put every single kitchen thing we owned in the cupboards and indeed many other things that we owned. There was not, apart from the kettle and the teapot, anything at all out on the counters. I even had a cupboard for vitamins.
Gradually as we began to decorate and I gravitated more and more to what I liked which was not matchy matchy from the Next Catalogue but a kinda white Scandi look with collected finds, I felt the limitations of that kitchen. I longed for a country style kitchen with open shelving, a huge old Aga and vintage things.
And that’s how, tied up within the boundaries of that kitchen’s oh-so-tight design, I believe I have found myself longing, lusting, positively yearning for the easy yet regimental lining up of supplies in an open-plan kitchen.
But now, here, Down Under, far from that clinical kitchen in our early days I still am far from that country kitchen and surely the Aga is yet to come. I still don’t know if I’ll ever get it, certainly it won’t be in an old English house with a red door on the green, thinking perhaps I’ve missed the boat on that.
Guessing I’ll settle for open shelving from that boutique we all know and love, Iqkea, in the tiniest kitchen of a ratty old cottage, somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere.
Mr Beach Cottage is calling this not the kitchen but the library. I must admit I may have gone a little OTT on the hanging of things around the walls.
But I am happy and I danced in here last night and not a drop of alcohol had passed my lips.
So come on in and lemme show you around. I think we can fit in here two at a time.
This side looks towards the North, & the window out over the yard and I love how the breeze comes in through the old double sash windows in here…
My inspiration for this, apart from the long hours I spend with my nose in vintage homey books came mostly from this kitchen blog post at Holly’s, where the pics in turn I believe came almost wholly from Living Etc.
I loved how in these pics the open shelving equalled relaxed yet organized.
We started, as you know by re-painting the walls, not one to veer far now from what I know I like, I stuck with Dulux White on White on the walls and Taubmans Door & Trim in plain old white for the woodwork.
Next I started strapping the IKEA catalogue to my body, taking it about everywhere I went.
IKEA, if you like white, the Scandinavian gig, wood, modern touches, and your budget is teeny tiny, is the answer. I thought Ikea was my friend before. After much page-turning, web browsing, many physical visits, two hundred and seventy meatballs, sixty-five bottomless cups of coffee and lots of sitting around on empty pallets looking at scribbled measurements wondering what on earth I was doing, is now not just my friend, but lifelong partner in my next life.
Getting our small kitchen to work like the inspirational ones in that blog post though was tricky, even with ingenious design help conveniently self-served and wrapped in cardboard boxes….we had no other option really than to go up with shelving & to use any available wall space to hang & store…
I wanted pasta/rice/noodles in jars to grab
We also used magnetic strips to solve the problem of what to do with small dried stuff
I wanted to be able to hang jugs. Love me some nice big hanging jugs. ;-)
…space for things on the side
There are now double level of these shelves on both sides…& the drawers where the dry foodstuff was before is soooooo much more free…
OK, now shimmy around, don’t move too fast or you’ll bump yourself on the other side…
This is looking at the other side over the hob and before the microwave came back in from its position on the breakfast room floor…I was wondering if we could live without a microwave…*I said as much to my lovely husband….there were eyebrows.
Here, surprisingly, there are glass jars. ;-)
Glass jars with nuts. Glass jars with flour. Glass jars with icing sugar. Glass jars with white things that say they are seeds but which are exceedingly salty, but they look good.
Here like the other side, another row of shelving, for jugs & pots and vintage mixing bowls…the shelves are Grundtal
I have a lot of mixing bowls, this is the half of it, funny considering I am probably, no who am I kidding, definitely the world’s worst baker.
I can now gaze at things that tickle my white, Scandi-loving, vintage fancy
I probably have too many utensils and I considered paring the lot right down but I love them
and I couldn’t lose the rustic jug, (it’s from the same garage sale as the Hungarian trunk in the Sitting Room), it was filled with utensils when I found it…gathered by someone who obviously loved to cook…and with not much history here for us in this new life of ours I so like how this sits there, almost stuffed full of a former life in another home…
Stock pots are my weakness, and these my favourites, hence this new smaller one…sometimes I was finding the big one took up just too much room in the dishwasher, the smaller one has already been put to use with chicken stock this arvo. And don’t even think about lamenting the skills of washing up by hand here. Haven’t done that since giving birth the first time.
I bought the poppies on the way home from school, funny thing was most of them were in bud only two were just about barely out…I stuck them in the jug on the side in the sun while I was putting things on shelves, looked around and as if by magic more had appeared
I love flowers, after all this kitchen-organization-exhaustion these little babies worked their wonder too, quietly as I got on with the job in hand, as only nature herself can do…
pah! she said to stainless steel, vintage & white, look at me in all my blushing papery glory…
And that is it from me.
I have to tell you I love my new jars, I think I have satisfactorily fulfilled my storage itch.
I have one tiny problem though, as I was doing this, and yes I must hold up my hands & say there may well have been a glimmer of smugness to my fair mug, I suddenly had this quite disconcerting feeling that I may well have a very organized kitchen but I too will now have to spend the most time of anyone in the Southern Hemisphere cleaning it.
At which point I phoned Mr BC and told him to stay at work to pay the cleaner.
I will see you kitchen rats later.
Let me know what you think & if you have any other clever little storage ideas up your sleeves, that could aid me further, I’d love to know
p.s. the other side Part II coming soon, when I’ve recovered, I may be a while ;-)
oh and p.p.s. stay tuned this week for a BC Giftcard Giveaway…you certainly don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work out where it’s from ;-)