Welcome to my new, downsized home. Not everything is in place, not every box is unpacked, and certainly not every room is finished (or even able to be moved into yet). But I thought I’d share with you the progress we’ve made, and how we’re living at the moment.
Would you like to see my kitchen? For comparison, this is the kitchen I left behind.
And here is where we are now. I had to (actually wanted to) get rid of a lot of extra kitchen things: extra dishes, bakeware, seldom used appliances, and a crazy amount of plasticware that I never did really like having anyway.
The mudroom door is to the right of the fridge. The milk bucket on the floor was from Tom’s stepfather’s dairy farm. We’ve hung up our aprons, and the top of the fridge is for the popcorn maker, extra-large mixing bowls, and a crate for supplements and tinctures. The kids are really enjoying having a magnetic fridge for pictures and drawings and so forth. Someday I will trade out this fridge for something that is *all* fridge; I really don’t need the freezer at all but could really use a larger fridge. My chest freezer is in the mudroom (pictures coming soon).
To the left of the fridge are open shelves, and a beautiful cabinet that a friend had in his garage. He even found the countertop for me (LOVE). Someday I am going to put cast iron pulls on the drawers. Notice the walls and ceiling; there are cracks everywhere and I love the texture it gives. We don’t really have to worry about dust on the open shelves because we’re constantly using these plates and things. That’s one of the beauties of simplifying–everything is used, loved, and out in the open to see and enjoy.
Turning to the left, more open shelving, plus tucked in the corner an open bookshelf where I keep a basket for measuring tools, the cheese grater, glass bakeware, and other frequently used things. Someday I would love to remodel and incorporate favorite furniture into a seamless countertop. Don’t we all have “someday” projects? I really like my sink (and yes, there are dishes in it). A sink skirt is due. I am on the hunt for a nice copper pendant to hang above the sink, but haven’t found one that I love yet.
To the left of the sink, we have the dish drainer. I haven’t missed the dishwasher at all. It’s just something else to maintain and fix and repair and replace. I don’t mind hand washing, and neither do the kids: it’s an opportunity to listen to our favorite shows and podcasts on the iPod in peace. On the left of that is Tom’s grandmother’s old kitchen fridge (LOVE), which I am using as a pantry. On top, there is a basket for coffee-making supplies, a basket of straws, hanging mugs, and of course my cookbooks. It may not look it, but I *did* downsize my cookbooks. The scale hanging to the left of all that…I actually use! You can see the living room from the kitchen opening…but I’ve blocked it to keep people from running through the kitchen. I like having the U-shape kitchen.
Ok, turning again. I have a metal red cart on wheels holding tools in crocks, a basket full of potholders, and on the bottom….water pictures and cups for kids. You can’t see them, but I also have jars of tea and a file full of cut-out recipes on that tray as well. The stove and oven work, but *someday* I will replace it for a larger oven with a see-through front and a bottom drawer that’s not broken. I hang all of my pots and pans (some are missing and either getting washed or holding soup in the fridge). All of my baking supplies and seasonings are on open shelves. I love that; it’s easy to see what I have and everything is easily accessible. The dark patch above is from a floor repair; it’s awaiting paint. Oh, and there’s no vent either…that will come *someday* as well.
Turning once again (my back is to the sink), there is a gorgeous table I found at a flea market. On it we keep our everyday utensils and a tray for salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar. There is a shelf I pulled out of the garage that I use for teas and sweeteners. On that table is also where I steep my herbal infusions for the day, and where I like to sit to plan meals or eat a snack or top with cases of produce to can. Underneath, there is a stool and a step-ladder and a basket I use for storing potatoes and other root veggies to eat for the week. I’m not sure about the floors, but I think they are original to the house that the previous owner (house owner #2) refinished. LOVE them. You can see a peek of our dining area (pictures to come!).
Around the corner is another shelf for goods and sauces for the table. The big jar of rosemary is from my old house, waiting for me to get to, to root and plant somewhere here.
There are a lot of things I like about my kitchen. I like the openness for sure. I appreciate that I have running water, a fridge, food to eat and knowledge of how to prepare them. I also like the pottery jars, some I don’t even use, but I enjoy looking at them. I really have an appreciation for handmade goods.
I like having my utensils out in the open; these are a mix of stainless and real silver. I don’t get why anyone would store their silver and not use them. I’ve never polished them (they look fine) and at my old house, I even ran them through the dishwasher without any issues. My guess is that just like using cast iron pans transfers iron into your food, eating from silver has some medicinal benefits as well. So stop storing them in dark drawers; use them!
I like hanging my pans. It bugged me to no end to have to open drawers and whatnot to dig out a pan when I needed it in my old kitchen. I’m so glad I have a spot to hang pans again!
I also like cookbooks. Sometimes I’ll try to make an entire week of meals out of just one cookbook, to stretch my cooking skills and to try something new. My latest endeavor was baked clams. I was so proud of myself that it worked! And it was GOOD!
Open shelves aren’t just for everyday dishes. They’re also for those “fancy” dishes. I’ve given up hiding my “good” things to use for “special occasions”. Every night I have my entire family sitting around the dining table IS a special occasion. Someday these children will be grown and gone and my table will be more empty. I’m currently very happy to have a ton of plates that we all use.
I like making room for items that have a family history. I don’t care that it’s *old* or *used* or whatever; it reflects our heritage and I like to honor that by keeping things that are either tangible (like this fridge) or emotional (like the memory of my YiaYia’s hot chocolate made with goat’s milk). I’m thankful I had a happy childhood, and want to honor my husband’s history as well.
A question I ponder a lot these days is how much space I really need. The side by the oven is plenty for a stirring spoon, a bowl of prepped vegetables, a pot lid. I don’t really miss the miles of counterspace I previously had, but it IS true that I have to clean more often now. Ask me in a year how I feel about that.
Things are quirky in this house, and many projects need to be done. I’d like to replace the single paned (and cracked) windows, but in the meantime, I’m very grateful for them, for the light they bring, the sweet summer breezes coming through the removable screens, the beautiful views they give.
Some people focus on the cracks and projects to be done and challenges of living in a small house. Some people have nothing good to say at all. I choose to appreciate the opportunity and am hopeful that we can be happy here.