Monday, February 22, 2010

Uniquely small quarters...

I live in a fantastic vintage building in a beautiful historic section of the city. Our home is quite charming and cozy with original hardwood tongue and groove floors, a brick walled sunroom that streams in light on a bright day, exposed steam pipes that amply warm our home in the winter, and classic glass doorknobs on the few doors in our open layout. Retro handles on the bathtub that amusingly all have "cold" imprinted on them.
However, I long for the day I have a kitchen larger than the size of a pencil box. Although my home is warm and inviting, I dream of more counter space and even more cabinets. Oh yes, didn't I mention there are no kitchen cabinets?

A narrow butler's pantry houses a built-in glass door cabinet for our common dishes and an open nook that houses our fruit basket and some sterling silver intricately detailed hot plates I received from my Grandmother when I was just a young woman. There's also cupboard shelving for our canned and packaged non-perishables. Above the wall to our mail center (home to envelopes, stamps and daily mail), which happens to be a repurposed scrapping caddy, I keep a bulletin board with the kid's weekly homework assignments, a calendar, coupons, sticky notes, the usual. Baskets nest on the refrigerator and contain cereal boxes and snack food bags. Cookbooks (his, mine, and ours) align the shelf above the fridge.

A handcrafted wooden counter is afixed to the wall and underneath provides a retreat for my spice drawer, a trash can, and other storage. It's tucked away by a beautiful garnet red paisley printed skirt gently pinned to the underside of the counter. A matching one plays apron to the shelf of pots and pans on the opposite wall.
Our window is fashioned with a collection of old glass bottles that once belonged to his grandmother. And next to that a door leading to a balcony on the exterior wall of the established residence. A wrought iron medallion is afixed to the wall above the gas range, where I create my culinary masterpieces.

I often think about the tenants that have embraced the kitchen long before I assumed the position in my uniquely small quarters. Who were they? What was their life like? What kind of dishes were prepared? Were they the ones who left the 1960's era wallpaper left to be found behind the stove when the kitchen was painted? How did they acquire functional & fashionable storage?

Grocery staples, such as flour, sugar, and rice, are contained in clear receptacles on one of two open consoles above our farmstyle one basin sink. I treasure a set of ceramic mixing bowls that I received many moons ago. They are in shades of delightful colors and adorn the other shelf.

Eventhough my space is limited, I am still able to concoct some special dinners to feed our family. And one day when the desires of my heart are met and I am greeted with a spacious kitchen, I'll never forget the way we made it work in uniquely small quarters.

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