Over the last century, kitchen design has evolved from being a secluded room at the back of the house, entirely divorced from all social and eating areas, to becoming the hub and focal point of the house. In our house, a tucked away kitchen can’t be further from the truth! It’s common practice for our guests to help with meal preparation (drinking wine in other words) or just keeping the host company and chatting away.
In order to get to the entertainment area, our guests move from the entry, through the kitchen, to the entertainment area at the back. For some reason, most of them (you know who you are…) get stuck at the benchtop that separate the informal dining and kitchen area. Well, we needed to fix that! Can’t have guests sitting down, drinking wine in the kitchen all night! My husband (who needs lots of space… he cooks with more gusto than most…) and I, both love cooking and entertaining. I wanted to create a space that would be functional for both of us to cook in, as well as a little easier on the eye than peeling, laminated kitchen cupboards and a yawning oven door…
So here’s what we’ll do:
So, getting from the old design to the new design, quite a few changes needed to be made. Question is, will our guests still want to hang out in the kitchen with us? One can only hope…
I believe that your kitchen should not just be about functionality. If you want it to be a gathering place for friends and family, you should add a touch of your memories and items you feel sentimental about. Don’t be afraid to show your personality in the form of possessions you’ve borrowed or inherited. Always add something that’s alive (not insects… focus on greenery such as herbs or flowers). I knew that I wanted our kitchen to feel the way my Ouma’s (Nanna’s) kitchen felt when we visited her as kids. She lived in a gabled Dutch style house on a farm just outside of Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Her kitchen had an Aga coal stove as you walked in the door, that always had a kettle boiling with rooibos tea. The kitchen cabinets were painted dark green and in the centre of it, stood a large timber table and chairs. This was our gathering place, listening to stories about the gorillas in the vineyard (she was such a liar!), drinking hot chocolate and cutting pictures out of magazines.
Although I opted for black cabinets (not green!), I tried to impart some of our South African heritage and rustic charm with dark timber flooring. We reused a number of vintage and antique items that my husband and I had gathered over the years, in particular an old butcher’s block. Other items are from Council clean up that I’ve painted (but we’ll keep that a secret), and several are lucky finds from Vinnie’s and Salvo’s (I’ll show you those later).
Next time, I’ll show you how the kitchen has progressed and where we cooked while undergoing the renovation.
If you would like to see what we’ve done with the upstairs part of the house, follow these links:
Cheerio ’til next time!