Kitchen Tour



Following your positive response to my fab new kitchen floor I thought that maybe some readers might like to see a bit more of my kitchen. It is after all where most of the material for this blog happens.

I like my kitchen a lot. I don't dream of 'the perfect kitchen'. I love old farmhouse kitchens with stone flagged floors, agas and big scrubbed tables and doors which open onto heather moors but I do not love them so much as to be discontented with the one I've got. I am always mindful of how bloody wonderful it is to have running water, electricity, refrigeration, and cupboards full of food.


Our house is twenty years old and we have been in it seventeen years. We have replaced nearly all of the original kitchen, the  only 'original features' are the door to the utility room, and the tiles which I would not have chosen but do not hate enough to put up with the mess of having them replaced. I do hate the utility room door though and that is next on my list to be replaced or renovated.

The kitchen units, cupboards and worktop were bought from Homebase about ten years ago (or was it before Katie was born? might be as much as fifteen years ago). Charlie fitted them. He can do stuff like that. The drawer unit in the picture above was originally a space for a dishwasher but I have never wanted a dishwasher, I'd much rather have the storage space.

This corner of my kitchen (above) is my baking centre which I wrote about in more detail in this post four years ago. There is a light under the wall cupboard which I find tremendously useful. This is where I keep all my baking tins, mixing bowls and measuring jugs. My baking ingredients live in the wall cupboard and I also keep my electric gadgets here. My Magimix is always ready to use, I love my electric beaters, my stick blender, my yogurt maker and my ice cream maker. I wouldn't want to be without any of them. In the past I have tried out a breadmaker, a slow cooker and a deep fryer but found them all wanting and not just because they all took up so much room. A subject for a future post perhaps.

I am very glad the sink is underneath the window, washing up is so much nicer when you have a view. This is the business end of the kitchen where the cooking happens. I chose a hob kettle to reduce clutter on my worktops. 

Just out of shot is another doorway at right angles to the one you can see, it opens onto our front room and the one you can see opens onto the dining room. There are actually five doors in the kitchen as it is a thoroughfare to the garden and the garage (it's no wonder we needed a new floor). I like being able to stand at the cooker and feel part of what's going on in the other rooms, this was particularly useful when the children were little. The central position of the kitchen and its connectedness to the other rooms makes it feel very much the hub of our home. It's my command centre.


The door in this picture is to an understairs cupboard (also with a lovely new red floor). I wrote about my fridge here, and yes, it is still tidy. I like order, it's so much easier to accomplish things when you have order. The door in the corner leads to the garage. Our garage like many others is home to everything but a car. In it we have five bicycles, one motorcycle, an entire wall of shelves full of tools, cupboards full of empty jam jars, shelves full of full jam jars, a large chest freezer and a Sylvanian Family treehouse which Katie has finally conceded she has outgrown.


The area connecting the garage door and the utility room door was dead space until Charlie constructed a drying rack across it. As it is above the radiator it's ideal for drying clothes when they can't be hung outside. Clothes stay surprisingly free from cooking smells, I don't go in for a lot of frying and the window is invariably open when I cook. I also keep my ironing basket in this part of the kitchen.

The utility room (below) is tiny. There is room for a dryer, which is another appliance I have never wanted. We use the space to house a little set of drawers which is full of cleaning cloths, hats, gloves and scarves. The microwave lives in the utility room and is used almost solely for heating up wheat bags to ease aching muscles. The toaster is also kept here so that it doesn't take up valuable work space, it's on a tray so we can just carry it into the kitchen when we want to use it. The utility room also acts as our cloakroom, but I wish we had somewhere else to hang all the coats, they prevent the back door from opening fully. You can just see my herb patch through the door, near to hand when I need a bay leaf or a sprig of rosemary.


Details


My kitchen noticeboard is where the only existing example of school artwork by one of my children is displayed. The chalk drawing of daisies in the bottom right hand corner is by Tom aged five. I did not save every offering brought home by my children because otherwise we would be living under a sea of crap made out of the contents of my recycling bin. My policy was to display the offering for a week or two before saying 'do you still want this?' to which the answer was always 'nah'. Tom didn't want this drawing but I think it is charming and, more importantly, takes up no room.

The thing in the bottom left hand corner is a job wheel. Made by George at my request to end arguments at dinnertime about who's turn it was to do various jobs. When George leaves for university in a couple of weeks we will have to merge two of the jobs (laying and clearing the table) and alternate them with drying up. This, theoretically, should be easier to implement.

Also on my noticeboard we have a collection of beer bottle tops, a picture of Charlie doing a wheelie, various postcards depicting wartime posters related to the kitchen front and some stamps.

I look at this poster every day and think about what it means. Sometimes I think I should get a nice frame for it, but buying unnecessary stuff isn't really living simply is it?


Our hot drink station. The real coffee is kept in the fridge, that is decaff for after dinner, the sugar is for the kids, I dread to think how much Katie puts in her cocoa which is kept in the fab London Underground tin.


Cooking friends next to the hob; flaky sea salt, peppermill with black peppercorns, olive oil for drizzling, garlic in a garlic pot and a bunch of utensils.


My recipe box, made for me by lovely Diana and in constant use. The biggest section is the baking section. I may need to subdivide.

The following four pictures illustrate my taste for retro kitchenware. I like Cornishware, but not too much of it, old tablespoons, Golden Syrup tins, enamelware -old and new, vintage cutlery and Mason Cash pudding basins. That's enough though, no more, I don't want to cook in a museum, neither do I want vintage florals all over the blimmin' place.






Naturally I have shown you all the nice details. They are not the whole story though. Look closely and you will see the horror story that is my kitchen radiator, my garage door and the utility room door. Aaagh!!





Comments

  1. Your kitchen looks just champion to me.
    How do you get the bottle tops to stay on the noticeboard?
    Oh, and I have exactly the same fluff coming out of the bottom of all my radiators. often with lego attached!

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    1. They are delicately balanced on drawing pins.

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  2. Thanks for the tour Sue, it looks a fab place to be in, don't we all have a little horror in our space that we're not happy with,i certainly do too (not that i'm sharing tho')!
    Best Wishes
    Sue x

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  3. I loved this tour through your kitchen, Sue. I'm so fascinated by how everyone uses their kitchen. You don't need a dream kitchen. I learned to cook in my tiny shoebox flat in New York City many years ago. It was a galley kitchen and so narrow that everything--fridge, oven, cupboards was along one wall. Somehow I managed. Your not-so-nice photos of your radiator, etc., are hilarious.

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  4. I like your idea of having a stove top kettle to save on clutter on the worktops. Makes a lot of sense. I like your poster too. Great for reminding one not to be wasteful and to be grateful for small mercies. I could do with something similar. I may just write something on our blackboard to remind me. The drying rack is inspired. I too dry in house in the winter and don't own a tumble dryer. It's been lovely to take a look at the room where all your lovely food is made.

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  5. Love your kitchen, really love the "horror" pics - now I feel normal!

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  6. My kitchen is really tiny but you've just given me an idea to create more space. I too hardly use the microwave, so I might just move it into the utility area. Thanks:)

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  7. I wish I had a utility area! Our bathroom radiator is in a sorry state. If it doesn't leak this winter, it will have to be replaced nest summer.

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  8. WindingWays6:35 pm BST

    Thank you for the lovely tour. What is the box hanging over the clothes washing machine? Maybe we don't have this in my country.

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    1. It's the central heating/water boiler -without it we would have no hot water or heating.

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  9. Thank god for the radiator fluff - I was starting to feel inadequate!!

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  10. this is a great post. I feel as though I have visited with you and you have answered all the nosy questions I would want to ask as we looked around your kitchen.

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  11. Anonymous8:27 pm BST

    My flat is all like the bits you left to the end. Well worse actually.

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  12. Have you started a trend? Kitchen confidential. That was a right proper look round. I have just been clearing up after builders and noticed that bit of the radiator up close. My radiator vacuum attachment doesn't reach there either.

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  13. I really enjoyed that post Sue. So interesting to see the comfortingly homely and nice space from which all your fabulous food appears! x

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  14. Love your kitchen. Can we trade? My kitchen is so small I can reach everything in it without fully extending my arms. Oh well, it has kept this family of four well fed for 21 years. I need to take the words expressed on your poster more fully to heart. Thanks for the tour.

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  15. I'm with you on vintage florals and how lucky we are to have water, electricity and food. I really love your little poster, a great reminder. It's a really lovely kitchen Sue, and I can see it works really well for you. It's so nice to see where you prepare all of your delicious things. CJ xx

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  16. I love posts like this I'm sooo nosy lol - thank you for sharing xx

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  17. Oh so relieved to see your doors and radiator fluff! Smashing post, what a homely, working kitchen you have. Just as it should be fellow Cornishware friend x:)

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  18. Kitchens vary from country to country and culture to culture. Yours is soooooo English. Since we moved to a high rise flat where daily temps are cooler we can now have fruit on the table for a few days at a time. My kitchen was designed by some bloke who must have lived his entire life in a hotel. Not enough room to do much but it looks elegantly modern. To change any of the fixtures is out of the question, too expensive and incredibly inconvenient due to security, lifts, parking, etc.

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  19. loving picturing you in your kitchen Sue, and have just spent quite some time in your archives having gone back to read the baking corner post and realising it was before I found you.

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  20. I did enjoy this post! Some really good ideas, and a radiator just like mine too!

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  21. Thanks for the tour Sue. It is so interesting to see into other people's kitchens and better still have it all explained to us. There are similarities and differences to Australian kitchens ( in fact houses) and the biggest difference I think is all the doors. On the whole we don't have doors between rooms here ( well in Queensland anyway !) . We just have the doorway but no door to open and shut. I guess you need them to contain warmth ? while we have eliminated them to promote airflow and ease of movement. They take up so much space !! Of course we have them on bedrooms and bathrooms etc but the living areas of the house are usually doorless . Otherwise Aussie kitchens and modern English kitchens are pretty similar. Of course in Queensland we have cooling instead of heating ! Cheers .

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    1. It certainly is interesting how kitchens vary across countries. Yes our doors are to keep in warmth although I never have the doors from my kitchen to the front room and dining room shut when I'm in it. On autumn and winter evenings when we sit in the front room we shut the door to the kitchen because it is cold otherwise.

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  22. Anonymous4:28 am BST

    This amused me! I too have no need for a dishwasher, dryer or microwave. I do, however, have more of my children's artwork!! I also have some Cornishware etc. You seem to make good use of your space. My kitchen still needs a little work to achieve efficiency (probably just getting rid of a lot of stuff would help!) One issue I do have is with wire cooling trays & baking trays. At the moment, mine are just leant up together on the floor in the space next to the fridge. Any ideas?
    Thanks, Jane in Victoria (Australia)

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    1. I just keep them on top of other similar sized things. My cooling rack are on top of a stack of muffin tins and rectangular tray bake tins in my baking cupboard. My big baking trays are in the cupboard next to the cooker on top of my roasting tins. I use these so frequently I need them to be easily accessible. Anything I use infrequently is stored in the least accessible part of the cupboards -the bits which are at right angles to other cupboards -the ones you have to put your head into to see what's there.

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  23. Wow, loved that kitchen tour, it made perfect sense how you have it organised and I can totally see how that works for you. What a lovely idea to have a hob kettle - I had never even given that a thought. It was also great to share in the horror pictures - they are a fact of life! My radiators look exactly the same. Its not something that I think about and don't really take much notice of from afar, but when I'm using our cloakroom I sometimes become obsessed with how awful the radiator looks.

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  24. Anonymous7:47 am BST

    I lived with my kitchen for 25 years (it was a very good quality one) before we did something about it, I hated it. The kitchen designer who came must have hated me because I knew just what I wanted. It has no doors to the outside and no sink under the window. Instead I have a very long worktop, clutter free (on the whole) where I do all my food prep and baking. The sink faces a blank wall because I do love my dishwasher. I do have a microwave tucked in the corner but only used for heating up beans and soup etc. My kitchenaid stays out all the time, as does the toaster but everything else, including the bread bin is stored away. We have a boiling water tap, so no kettle and everyone who visits wants one.

    I love my kitchen now.

    Sue (who posts very infrequently)

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  25. I have no dryer either as the Aga produces enough heat to dry clothes that can't go outside. I love your drying rack. It makes good use of that space.

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  26. Love that poster, very interesting post.
    Aren't those golden syrup tins fab, bought the Proudly British smaller ones as stocking gifts one Christmas.

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  27. What a wonderful post, Sue; a real delight to read and look at. I love your kitchen (have admired glimpses of it on previous posts too) and the idea of it being the control centre of the house :-)

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  28. Oh Sue, I enjoyed this SO much, thank you! I love seeing other's kitchens and yours is charming. Ours is tiny and has three doors which makes everything a bit of a challenge. I'm also drawn to farmhouse style kitchens, but mainly it's the space I envy. If i had double the cupboard and worktop space I'd be one happy lady. I have to say I love my dryer and dishwasher very much and would rather have them than extra cupboards.

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  29. Love your blog Sue, for its conciseness and honesty! Nice to have a peek at your kitchen (I'm a nosey cow!) x

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  30. Oh I so agree about the dishwasher, Sue! Lovely kitchen. It shows that you don't need a designer kitchen, costing thousands of pounds, to produce lovely food in a homely atmosphere.

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  31. Great photos! And i love the grim ones too - we have those! And we have the same kitchen units and I am TOTALLY with you about preferring drawers to dishwashers - why bother?? Thanks for sharing.

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  32. What a lovely post, zi really enjoyed reading this!

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  33. Stereotyping alert...
    I am sure that radiators were designed by men as surely a woman would not design something so tricky to clean...?
    I like the blue and red reflections on your cutlery. Did you get the ceiling done at the same time as the floor?
    Ax

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    1. Took me a while to work out what was causing the red and blue on my forks. It's the Le Creuset pots which are stored on corner shelves above my cutlery drawer.

      I tried emailing you but my emails are failing to be delivered. Have you changes your email address?

      By the way, I have beside me the new Jimmy Perez 'Thin Air'. Cannot wait for bedtime!

      Sue x

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  34. I dislike my kitchen immensely. We live in a silly upside down house where the kitchen was originally on the first floor. The quirkiness that originally attracted me soon got replaced by irritation at its impracticability. We moved it downstairs about seven years ago into what was the playroom and it drives me nuts. In fact, I have refused to cook any more Sunday roast lunches until the situation is sorted. I have no working space whatsoever - less than half the amount you do. Anyway … I love your cutlery, your enamel dishes, your utility room door (yes, all that lovely light it lets in) and the daisy drawing. The thought of not having a dishwasher though, shudder.

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  35. Oh! How nice to have a tour of your kitchen. So bright, pretty, organized, & full of personality. It must be a pleasure to work in. Thank you for giving us a look.

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  36. Hello Sue
    Congratulations on your beautiful red floor. I have enjoyed your kitchen tour, you have used your space very well and this has given me some inspiration. Another inspiration is the blackberry muffins (above), I tried a recipe for blackberry muffins recently that was a disaster, though this could have been the fault of my stove who cooks unevenly. I usually have much better luck with your recipes, even with the dodgy stove.

    Best wishes

    Cicely

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  37. I love your kitchen and how you have made what must really be an awkward working space, with such a super-abundance of doors. I love the red floor. I've just had a black floor put down and this was a mistake, it's far too dark, but I couldn't think of a suitable alternative with our wood cupboards and terracotta/cream tiles and terracotta/black faux granite worktop. It looks smart but is just dark. But then our kitchen is dark as there's a huge walnut tree right outside!
    I love the way you have organized your various work spaces, too; you are very organized but then, that is the best way to be as it saves time searching for things.
    Margaret P

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  38. That first photograph gave me a nano-second shock - my hair (artificially coloured) is sun-bleached to about the same shade, and I'm wearing a very similar striped top - the instant thought was that somehow you'd got a picture of me against your (covet, covet) Magimix! Nice kitchen; I love a look round such heart-of-the-home rooms. We've gone over to old knives like yours, although The Gardener balks at the old-style forks that go with them, calling them throat-stabbers. But you are sooooo much tidier than we are!

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  39. Thank you so much for the tour--much I can relate to including bits on hob kettles and microwaves! xx

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  40. I've been dithering for about two years about a new kitchen and this post has provided all the answers to the major niggles, especially the floor! I love the pale units and the red floor......that's for me, now! My other definites : drawers, not cupboards ( I hate having my head in a cupboard, looking for stuff..) , a tall fridge to replace the aged under-counter, squash- things- in- on- top-of - each- other current fridge, and a general ruthlessness regarding the collection of Things Never Used

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  41. I have a Trick or Treacle black treacle Tate and Lyle tin from a couple of years ago...that's a keeper!

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