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Thursday, November 13, 2008

HEART OF THE HOME


Oh, how I love plates -- especially Quimperware.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As in most homes, my kitchen is the "heart of the home". Most of you probably saw my kitchen on RMS, but I do have some stories to share about it (again, is everyone shocked that I have a story or two to tell?).


My parents built this house in 1949, so I grew up here. My father died in 1969, and my mother died in 2000. My maternal grandparents had lived with us while I was growing up. I tell you that, so you might possibly understand why it took me three years, following my mother's death, to go through everything and get the house cleaned out. My mother and my grandmother were "pack rats" (and since I am also a pack rat, I say that with love). This house was filled with their "stuff". So, I come by it naturally (however, my sister could have pulled a dump truck up in the driveway, and she would have been done with the clean-out in a week--I don't know why I got that trait and she didn't).

Let me tell you... a pack rat, going through a houseful of three generations of pack rats, takes some time (to be honest, 3 years really wasn't enough time!).


When I finally had thrown away everything that I could part with (about 4 garbage cans full -- and they were small garbage cans), we had to decide what to do with the house. My dh had "courted" me while I was living in this house. After our marriage, we and our children ate many Sunday dinners in this house and celebrated many holidays here. Since we live in the town where we grew up, and since it is a fairly small town, we knew we'd be driving by this house frequently. Neither my dh nor I could stand to think about seeing someone else living in the house that held so many wonderful memories for us. So, we decied to buy my sister's half, remodel and move in.

We changed a lot when we remodeled, but we also kept a lot of the special features that we loved about this house. This breakfast area of the kitchen retains the built in shelves that I grew up seeing every day. (Of course, back then they weren't as cluttered as they are now).


This little book rack on the wall always held current magazines and a Bible. Now it holds my childhood books and even some of my mother's childhood books. My grandchildren call these "terrible" books. Of course, they mean "tear-able", because I've told them they can't look at them without an adult, because they are old and will tear easily. The "cherry" light fixture has always hung over the table in this kitchen. (Of course, those little cherries weren't stenciled on the ceiling until it became my home). I don't know why the walls look peach in these pictures. They are a soft yellow. (I really need to work on my photography, or maybe I should ask Santa for a new camera.)

You see this beautiful mahogany on top of my island (if I do say so myself)? That is the best story of all. I was trying to do this remodel as inexpensively as possible (what else would you expect from a bargain hunter?). I wanted a wood counter top, but couldn't find what I wanted. I called my dh's uncle, who is a cabinet maker in South Carolina and asked him about teak wood. He told me he had a huge slab of mahogany. I got so excited (until I found out what it would cost). I resigned myself to doing a tile counter top on the island, with hopes that I would eventually get the wood. I was at home on a Saturday, and my husband called and said the contractor needed me to come over to make a decision about something on the remodel. When I got here, my dh's uncle and his wife were here, and this beautiful counter top was on my island. It was my wedding anniversary gift. I cried like a baby. Isn't my dh just the sweetest?

Don't run to the optomitrist. You are not seeing double. Yes, there are two stoves. I priced those wonderful commercial ranges and immediately went into my "tight wad" mode. I decided that two free-standing ranges, placed side-by-side, would give me more burners and more oven space at a lower price.


The tile mural over the stoves was my first real Internet experience. I found these on a website, and I called to talk to them about ordering with my credit card. The man I talked to could barely speak English, but I did understand: "no credit cards, send check". I really liked the tiles, and more importantly, they weren't as expensive as most I had seen, so I sent a check. Months went by, and my tiles didn't arrive. My family was really giving me a hard time about how I had been silly enough to send a check, and the check had already cleared! I called the company and talked to a different man who could barely speak English! He said the man I had previously talked to was "out of the country"! I resigned myself to the fact that I had made a stupid mistake. The tiles arrived two weeks later. Whew! I was SO relieved and felt so vindicated (actually, I think I may have just been lucky, but I still did a lot of "I told you so's").


As you can see, I don't have many upper cabinets. I do have a walk-in food pantry and a walk-in china pantry. And if you think I'm going to show you those, you can just think again--they are packed way too full (not like that darling pantry that Cindy has on RMS)! They started out looking pretty good, but I gave up on that several years ago. There is a peak into my china pantry in the picture that shows my two stoves.


I probably shouldn't even show you THESE shelves. I have over-stuffed them too. But, I want to tell you about the little bench. I had that built to use for a dog bed. I only had one grandchild at the time, and she was an infant. Now I have four grandchildren, and they all think that is their little bench. After my grandchildren went home with dog hair all over their clothes a few times, I had to ban my dog from her bed. (Don't worry, I did find another spot for the dog, and she's very comfortable.)
(I know, I know, I should have turned off my flash.)

I'm not a decorator, and I hesitate to share my spaces with others, but as I've said before, this is my blog, and though I didn't hire a decorator, we do love our home. If one of you decorators out there wants to volunteer to come decorate "pro bono", I will happily accept your offer. And, as usual, I know this is a LOT more information than anyone wanted. So, if one of you psychiatrists out there wants to volunteer to come help me (pro bono) with my "over sharing" problems, I will happily accept your offer as well! Actually, if a decorator did show up at my door, they'd better bring a psychiatrist with them, because it would be a major job just to talk me into getting rid of all of my "stuff"! And, maybe they should bring the Sheriff too, because I just might fight for my "stuff". Thanks for stopping in. I know, I know, you're just glad you don't have to dust all of this stuff! laurie

27 comments:

Happy To Be said...

Oh Laurie...girl I am so glad your shared your great Kitchen with all of us...I loved it on RMS and still love it..and you know me I am a more is more kinda girl!! I sure ove the story about your great home and that you Dad built it..Love the bible racks on the wall..
Laurie if I hit the MEGA Lottery today I would not hire a decotator to do my home..as my house is so me and I know a decorator would take the personal out it...not That Cindy is't great...but not all are like her..Thanks again dear friend..hugs and smiles Gloria

Melissa Miller said...

Hi, I love your kitchen! I don't think I ever saw it posted on RMS but I sure am glad to see it now. It's lovely and comfortable. Just like you.
Thanks for checking out my toppers today. I had missed you. ~Melissa :)

imjacobsmom said...

Hi laurie, From one packrat to another....I have a hard time parting with my "stuff", too. (And now I see those tendencies in Jacob, too. Poor Baby.) My parents crawlspace is packed! And the nerve of my Dad - all I heard for years was "When are you going to get those skis out of here?" For gosh sakes, how much room do skis take up.... BTW, I loved you kitchen on RMS and I love it still today! ~ Robyn

Diane said...

Laurie, Thank you for sharing your kitchen with us. I love your stories, so keep telling them please. Your hubby is just the sweetest guy ever! What a wonderful & thoughtful forever gift.

Ok, so what's the next room you're sharing with us?!? :0} Diane

Shelia said...

Oh, Laurie!! I love your stories!! You're as bad as me!! Now, what a wonderful story about your home. I just love it and I do remember your kitchen from RMS! I love your kitchen and the color of your cabinets and your puppy's little bed! Oh, and your quimper dishes! That's one expensive wall you have there. You keep telling your stories and keep showing your home. I love it!
Be a sweetie,
Shelia :O

lvroftiques said...

Laurie I LOVE your kitchen!! One of my all time favorites! And every time I see it again, I go oooohhhh and ahhhhhhhh! It's just so charming!! And between you and me...you were lucky to get those tiles! But they do look great! And alls well ends well *winks* I bet Debbie/profeneraite would love your quimper plates! I sure do! And NO DECORATOR is going to get you to part with your treasures....Or mine! We must stand tall...and grab firm! Lol!! *winks* Vanna

lvroftiques said...

Whoops! Pardon my french *winks* that's profenretraite....Sorry Debbie! Vanna

profenretraite said...

Oh Laurie..How nice to see your kitchen again and have another look at all of your "stuff"! And...the first thing I saw... a great close-up of your QUIMPERWARE PLATES...just beautiful! You know I love them! Your island is amazing and that little bench is just darling! No wonder your grandkids love it! Thanks for allowing us into your kitchen for a personal tour..Debbie

profenretraite said...

You are so funny Vanna...reading my mind!!!

Lynne said...

Laurie, It is wonderful to be able to see your beautiful kitchen up close. You are so fortunate to live in a home that had generations of love before you and your husband put your mark on it. You do a great job with your home and putting your mark and your personality in it Laurie..Now, you know I help out people here with decorating there homes..but I can tell ya.. there isn't a decorator alive that can put "your" persoanlity in the way "you" do ..hugs ~lynne~

Anonymous said...

I remember when you first shared your kitchen on RMS I was so excited! It is so filled with the most wonderful niches and colors and "Quimper plates"! So much warmth, charm and creativity and when you add your family history, I can't imagine a more perfect place. Love you dear, Cindy

xinex said...

Hi Laurie, I enjoyed seeing your kitchen and reading about it. I also love how you're still in your childhood home. That's really priceless in my opinion. I love all your built ins and if I ever go there, can I have the bench to sit on? Will I have to fight your grandkids for it? LOL! And that mahogany island top? How sweet of your hubby to get it for you! It's gorgeous! It just warms up the whole kitchen. Personally, I am a wood lover too.....Christine

Bo said...

Hi Laurie...I say keep those stories coming...I loved reading every word and seeing your pictures made me feel like I was right there in your wonderful home! It is so one-of-a-kind, the GREAT kind! ;-) Bo

Anonymous said...

Laurie, I am so glad to see your wonderful kitchen,Iloved it on RMS, and I love it now! I also love your stories, your DH is such a sweetheart! Hold on to your stuff, that is what makes a house a home, and it wouldn't be You without it! I love my stuff too! Love Ya! Connie

Carol said...

I LOVE everything about your kitchen, especially your 2 stoves side by side! What a great idea!
Carol

Glenda said...

The stories you tell brings the pictures to life. I can actually feel the love in this room where so many meals have been shared with loved ones. Some may be gone now, but the love has permeated the entire room. The memories you have regarding the wall book rack will always resonate in your heart, as will that wonderful anniversary present. If your DH were to ever forget an anniversary, you will always have the memory of how special that one was. He's a keeper for certain.
I do remember this room from RMS, but thanks for giving me the history behind the treasures it contains.

Laurie - Decorating Fanatic said...

Good Morning! I love the story on your beautiful home and all the memories it holds for you. You and your hubby should feel proud that you are "preserving" that grand house. I totally understand where you are coming from. My Mom lives down the road from me on the same ranch - with my grandparents living above her! So family is so important and my kids don't know any other way. They see their grandparents daily! I loved the dishes, the stove nook, the little bench and that ISLAND is just so darn beautiful! What a wonderful anniversary gift! I would cry too! I love the blue of the cabinets - It's just gorgeous. I agree with you - I find it very hard to part with anything and love the pieces that come from my family. And how cute are your grandchildren with the "terrible books" ha! That made me laugh! :) Thanks for sharing your wonderful, love filled, beautiful home! ~ Laurie

Kristen said...

I like what you kept. What a great kitchen.
I have something for you on my blog when you get a chance come see.

Lynette said...

I don't remember your kitchen on RMS - I do remember your bookshelves and bedroom. Glad I got to see your kitchen here and to hear the great story about the 3 generations and the memories you are making for your grandchildren!!
Thanks for sharing your sweet story with us.
Lynette

nikkicrumpet said...

Well I'd say you did an absolutely marvelous job on your kitchen. I love the blue Island with that gorgeous...and totally precious mahogany top! Your hubby rocks! And I love the blue cabinet with the dog/grandkids bench. Very special piece! It all comes together to make a warm, welcoming, and beautiful space to cook...and you better be cooking a ton since you have TWO stoves! Sheeesh I only need a fridge, a microwave, and a telephone in my kitchen!

salmagundi said...

I so enjoyed the tour - what a great kitchen with so much charm plus all of the memories make it so special! Have a great weekend. Sally

squawmama said...

Thanks Laurie for stopping by... I always love it when you visit... and I am still in love with Vanna's home...

(((HUGS)))
Donna

Cami @ Creating Myself said...

I think it's WONDERFUL that you are living in your childhood home...how neat & nostalgic & really fortunate!

I hear ya about the stuff. I know my home would look better if I had less but would I be as happy w/ it? I don't think so.

auctiongirlvintage said...

well, dang, Laurie, you've done it again. Every time you show one of your rooms, I go totally nuts over half the stuff in it!

First off, BLUE is my favorite color, and mixed with yellow and white it's divine. When I rented a "second" house a few years ago -- to use as my office and studio, and to claim some non-male-hormone space while my boys were in their early teen years -- I got to decorate everything just for me, woohoo! I ended up with three sofas, all from consignment stores ... two are offwhite and one is a blue, white, and yellow plaid, which sounds weird but is quite lovely. It looks like a giant Martha Stewart linen dishtowel.

I lost my lease on that house after only a year, so the owners could move their daughter in, and rented another 4 br house that's a bit smaller but in a better neighborhood and much closer to home. The plaid couch ended up in what's supposed to be the formal dining room here, though I call it the sun room because it's sunny. It's also pretty small, but it's my favorite room in the house to relax. I added a blue and yellow area rug that has lovely roses, and a wide shabby yellow dresser that I found at Goodwill. The coffee table is a slatted teak picnic bench -- purchase new -- that I painted white, and there are two large white wicker chairs in there as well, plus lots of quilts on display.

or, um, the quilts *would* be on display if the entire room wasn't packed with eBay inventory AND a couple dozen boxes of stuff from cleaning out my mom's and grandma's stuff after my mom died. It may have taken *you* 3 years, but that's because you had the luxury of time, along with other stuff to do.

My mom's house is 250 miles from my house, and I spent more than 30 days in hotels in order to go through all the stuff ... but never did get through it all and finally had to throw the towel in and hand the keys over to an estate sale guy who hauled everything off. By then, luckily, I had been going through stuff for more than a year and had found most of what I was hoping to find, and some other wonderful surprises as well.

I understand the packrat concept, and seem to have inherited it from previous generations. My mom, however, was mentally ill and hadn't been out of her house in years, but prior to becoming agoraphobic she sure collected a lot of stuff, plus all of my grandma Alice's stuff was there as well.

My mom was disabled and quite ill in her final years, and by the time she actually moved out of the house there were huge holes in several ceilings, with ivy growing through them and down into the rooms. Very creepy, very dirty, and very strange that my older brother did nothing about it (he lived there, off and on, for many years). I'll send you some pics or post some online sometime ... the place will leave you speechless ... it sure did that to me, my dh, and our children. I'm still working on getting the estate settled and the probate closed, and have dozens of boxes to go through that are now in the office/studio garage.

Enough babbling, lol ... can you tell I'm avoiding my real work by chatting here instead? Guess I'd better pack some eBay orders and maybe head home for dinner.

Hugs,

Victoria

auctiongirlvintage said...

Can you believe I actually left something out of that long note??? I'll keep this one shorter, I promise ...

I am totally stoked about the two-stoves-side-by-side thing, and had to wait 45 minutes to call my husband and tell him about it, so that he would actually be home for the evening when I called. And now HE's stoked, too! This is such a SUPER idea.

We've been planning -- and putting off -- our move from Calif to Washington for the past 2 years, and really thought we'd be going by the end of 2009. But dh's dad died a couple weeks ago, and now my 87 year old MIL is living alone in Los Angeles, so we may have to push our move back again, sigh ...

We decided last week that we should go ahead and re-do our kitchen, which will be a good investment for when we sell. And now Ray and I are both going nuts on the phone, trying to figure out if we can reconfigure the space to make room for 2 stoves, woohoo!

Love the way you think, Laurie ...

Victoria
xo

Rhondi said...

Hi Laurie
Your kitchen is amazing!! I love it.
Hugs, Rhondi

Nancy said...

Laurie, I have enjoyed looking at this past post of your kitchen. I haven't seen all your posts so I wanted to look around!
I loooove your kitchen...the entire home is gorgeous..so far..what I have seen! Thanks for sharing it. Nancy