I've been thinking so much about kitchens lately--specifically that, of all of the rooms in a home, it's the one that must be equal parts function and beauty. When you love to cook you begin to learn how to move around a kitchen, how to store things, what to keep within reach, what makes for a good design. A functional kitchen is such a big part of feeling comfortable cooking night in and night out. Interestingly, I ended up loving my dainty (a euphemism for minuscule) NYC kitchen because everything was so handy and close by. I could stand at the sink and take a tiny step right to reach the fridge, a tiny step left to get to the stove, reach straight up for spices and olive oil and all of my dishes. Having a shoebox of a kitchen was so much more efficient than you would think. It surprised me in the best possible way!
My current kitchen isn't horribly un-functional but it isn't terrific. A lot of the material choices--white countertops, weird pinkish tile flooring, flat paint on the walls--are really hard to keep looking clean, which is a big part of function. Even if I scrub and scrub it's a difficult kitchen to make spotless. But I'm glad I've had this experience because it's taught me a lot about what I don't want my someday-kitchen to be like.
So, a functional kitchen is important. But beauty, at least for me, has just as big a role to play. A kitchen must feel good to be in. Pretty things should be displayed, and good natural light is a huge bonus. Art should hang in the kitchen, a soft, colorful rug should be on the floor. You should love your dishes and maybe have a few open shelves for showing off your favorite ones.
I've slowly been growing my collection of what I think of as "beautiful kitchen things." A lot of them were wedding gifts, which we still don't have here with us but they're being moved out of storage very soon and we'll be reunited with everything when we relocate.* A lot of my own additions were found at thrift shops, or they were DIY projects, or hand-me-downs. (Examples: my vintage wire basket, DIY Cook's Illustrated art, these yellow and ivory dessert plates.) It makes me happy to fill my kitchen with eclectic, vintage, pretty things!
Anyway, at the estate sale I went to last week, I found a few more pieces to add to my "beautiful kitchen things" collection.
This miniature copper and brass footed colander stole my heart the moment I saw it (in all of its grimy glory). I knew it just needed a good cleaning to look its best again, and I'm all about a nice aged patina anyway. I can imagine it sitting on a shelf next to bright white dishes and using it to rinse strawberries. It's adorable, right?
And I couldn't resist these pink glasses. I passed them by on my first round but came back because I kept thinking about them. I've been so attracted to colored glass lately. You better believe that come summertime, my first batch of iced tea will be served up in these beauties. I only wish I had four!
I'd love to hear from you--how do you keep your kitchen both functional and beautiful? What does your dream kitchen look like? What sorts of things fill your shelves?
*I hope to share more news on that soon! It's been killing me to keep such exciting news bottled up inside!