Kitchen Dreamin’-Crumbs along the path

  • April 28, 2010 1:50 am

I am a very fortunate woman indeed. My husband who understands the better part of valor, has ceded the field long ago and left all house decisions entirely up to me. For better or for worse. I know he is somewhat (no, correction-entirely) discomfited with the Schiaperelli pink walls in the hallway of our 200 year old house on Cape Cod but he has learned that it’s a far far better thing that he holds his tongue.Last year I came upon this photo of a kitchen featured in British House and Gardens and was gobsmacked by the fabulous gramophone horn lighting. After finding our new house I was naturally obsessed with finding some gramophone horns of my own.

Nabbed two similar horns on French Ebay, struggled with many complexities dealing with unwieldy French postal system. One  day it arrived  in an enormous box. Huge and delightfully rusted-a gem!

Being a fan of the concept of the unfitted kitchen I’ve been looking at various salvaged cabinets to fit, or rather, not. These lovelies in the photo below left looked just the ticket. I could see covering the lower cabinets with a long group of simple curtains made from antique French bedsheets, the kind that

German Silver Sink

German Silver Sink

swoon from their sheer weighty drape.

Stored in my garage are two treasures that I have been saving for the moment when Mr. Right House came along; a German silver sink (another Ebay piece of serendipity) and a Quality stove from about 1915 or so, originally from a brownstone in New York but purchased  in a local thrift shop and restored to a fare-the-well of black and white enamel, nickel, and some accents in brass.

We’re in and the deconstruction party begins!

Promiscuous Assemblage

  • April 25, 2010 3:19 pm
  • This installation was commissioned by the Yale Center for British Art to accompany the exhibit Mrs. Delaney and Her Circle

    A recent exhibit at the Yale Museum of British Art, Mrs. Delany and her Circle, tells the story of Mrs. Delany, a highborn lady from the 18th century and a masterful designer, collage artist, embroiderer and wonderful friend. The exhibit was gloriously produced but what stopped me in my tracks was an art installation in a room at the very end by Jane Wildgoose, a British artist, which celebrated the friendship of Mrs. Delany with her great friend the Duchess of Portland Ms. Wildgoose pulled together what was called in the 18th century a promiscuous assemblage, a name this diary proudly bears.The room contained on one side handpainted floral wallpaper with a few butterflies attached to the flowers, one side a set up of an 18th century auction viewing, one side wood boxes with collections of shells and butterflies. The last side was the largest source of amazement. Yes, an assemblage in a large wooden case that filled the entire wall. Beautifully arranged curiosities: faintly marbled elephant eggs, stuffed songbirds, a small picture by an Indian artist who sewed with human hair, real coral and garlands of flowers made from tiny shells. Wonder at the natural world, a desire to own a piece of it, haunting sentiment, a love of natural beauty and its opposite: all these were encompassed there.

Mrs. Klein Found Herself a House

  • April 23, 2010 9:59 pm

After years of fits and starts I have found a wonderful new house which meets all my requirements. For many a year I searched for a house that was large and roomy, with beautiful details and many fireplaces, plenty of bedrooms, and that was basically left unremuddled (a term I love from The Old House Journal). A house in a state of deshabille, in short, a house that needs a rescue.The kitchen is everything I dreamed of : a mishmash of the past with remnants of the original kitchen, the butler’s pantry, subway  tiles and a white hex tile floors living companionably with cabinets from an indeterminate age, possibly circa Mrs. Cleever.Happily, none of this is worth saving and I feel no compunction about tearing into it with a chain saw and ripping out its guts. Two sun porches, one huge one with the most glorious exposure (Southwest), and a small one off the dining room (Southeast exposure).The latter is begging to be a breakfast room. The kitchen is asking me to break the wall down that separates them and join them together as God intended.

And there’s so much more. I can’t stop thinking about it. If you’re that kind of person (and you know who you are), a house can be a fury of obsession.  The wonderful Tabula Rasa that invites you in and you listen, and ponder, and seek, and meditate, all until you make your move and seize the day: choose a paint color, consider a lamp, whatever to do with the floors. And it’s not quite a Tabula Rasa because there is already ones furniture, and books and all those things.

Behold, the object of my affection:

Sleeping Beauty, shrouded in cobwebs, slumbers on.

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