Today I received some much needed inspiration for those seasonal checks we all need. It's warm and sunny right now. I hear water in the downspouts as the snow on the roof slowly eases itself down to the ground. Chickadees are busy singing their songs in branches still bare. The weather and the date have combined to make it feel as though it is spring. Today's stumbling upon the Assortment blog was kismet.
As I've been moving through my house these past few months, I keep passing through my kitchen. It has a distinct lack of intuitive design. I long for something to change. It's a puzzle I constantly try to find the ultimate solution to. Where to find more space, how to rearrange cupboards to make for better access. I think of one cupboard in particular shoved into a corner, small and requires me to contort and shove my face next to the wall to access its contents. The countertops, too. Throughout, they collect grunge, are not continuous and shrink available space with its edging.
This space is rather small, 10 feet by 10 feet with heavy and changing demands on a daily and seasonal basis. Daily meal preparation, bread-making, canning, meat curing, large family meals, rendering lard, cheese-making are some coming to mind. All of this activity adds up and sometimes, by bringing the inefficiency of this space into glaring focus, causes grandiose thoughts to come rattling through. Thoughts like, "Perhaps we should extend the kitchen by 10 feet.", "A double wall oven is just what you need", and "It wouldn't be that hard to pay for a $25, 000 kitchen remodel, now would it?". Anything seems reasonable when you stand in a small, busy space on a daily basis, throw reality off, and allow the beckoning calls of blogged and redone sprawling old farmhouses or the new homes of suburbia with their "livable and space efficient" 1700 square foot layout to set your path.
But then Carmella's calm voice when writing about her kitchen and its exactingly built cupboards with pared down necessities, cuts through all the fray. It says, calm down and try not to be so ridiculous. You have a space. Now, make it work for you.
She's right. If I follow her philosophy about things being useful, beautiful, simple, I can make sure this space is primed and ready. As ready to make a cup of coffee in the morning, as it is ready to plough through a day of making perogies and cheese rolls. I can accept the space's limitations not as intrusions but rather as guidelines. Exactly the way life plays out after you make decisions to pursue a lifestyle, career, family, etc.
Her voice served to calm the need, or to be realistic, desire, for more. So the kitchen will stay. And we'll continue to use it. And we'll continue to strategize about it. Working at it slowly in our minds, waiting until we have the kinks sorted out in our minds. But we will work towards that goal patiently. We will smooth a wrinkle here, and another there, until the most of it lays itself out, intentional with function and obviously a space made to embrace our loved ones through food and visiting.
As a side note....see the eggs? See the tray they are sitting in? I was completely convinced and absolutely elated when I walked into Anthropologie, saw the tray and said to myself, "Oh my gracious, Anthropologie knows me! Anthropologie knows my life and has kindly included a tray for washing eggs in their product line." I said as much to the till clerk and did not clue into to why she looked at me strangely.
It took me two months before I realized it was a devilled egg dish. Two months to realize it was not to keep chicken eggs from rolling around the counter after you've collected them from the coop, washed them and are waiting for them to dry!! Sigh. I was so disappointed, and a little embarrassed thinking about the Anthropologie clerk.