When you live in a 100-year-old home, something always needs to be fixed.
Put on a new roof? Great. The driveway needs new gravel. Power-washed the front facade? Awesome! The porch railing needs to be painted. Installed a new hot water heater? Ha! Ha! Your furnace is about to die.
It’s always something.
Because the whole picture of what needs to be done is just too depressing to take on all at once, I break it apart into sections — rooms really. One room at a time.
The bathroom was remodeled last year, so that’s one that can be checked off the list but for some time now I’ve had my own project: I am slowly re-making my kitchen.
The kitchen is easily my favorite room in the house. Coincidentally, it’s also the room that I probably spend the most time in.
You will find no stainless steel appliances, carefully wiped clean of smudges and fingerprints, or fancy cappuccino machines or Keurigs on my counter tops. And speaking of counter tops, mine are certainly not marble or granite or whatever the heck material is deemed “top of the line” nowadays.
I don’t want a sterile, industrial looking kitchen. Sure, it needs to be functional, but it should also be warm and homey and welcoming — not like the kitchens in magazine photos with nothing on the counter but a bowl of lemons and a single washcloth carefully folded and draped over the sink.
You walk into my kitchen and you can tell that someone cooks there.
The fridge is covered in kids drawings, concert ticket stubs, photographs and newspaper clippings — all secured with random magnets collected from various locations over the years. My counter tops are stained with coffee rings, Kool-aid powder and age.
A wooden rack, nailed to the wall, is overflowing with spices, dried herbs and bottles of differently flavored baking extracts and although there is plenty of counter space, much of it is occupied by canisters, cookbooks and cookie jars.
The walls are painted brick red in direct contrast to the authentic, vintage pressed-tin ceiling. Colored bottles and vases line the top of my cabinetry.
If my home had a heart, surely it would be the kitchen.
Not wanting to freak my husband out too much, I started small by gradually replacing the cabinet knobs and drawer pulls. Now, a normal person would probably just go to the hardware store and buy enough to switch them all out at once, but I have never been too keen to do things the “normal” way.
The problem I ran into when looking at all of the different cabinet knobs was deciding between the three different ones I liked. So I didn’t, I bought all three, took them home and installed them.
As it turned out, I liked the mismatched “look” so much that now, whenever I’m out at a hobby shop or thrift store or garage sale, I keep my eyes open for oddly shaped or unique drawer pulls. When I find ones I like, I bring them home and replace the boring old plain ones.
I have over a dozen now ranging in everything from a padlock (complete with key) to a wooden owl. Others include a globe, a stone carved like a dog’s head, deer antlers, an elephant, an iron fleur de lis, different polished stones and of course, a pair of crossed light sabers.
The idea behind my kitchen plan is simple: if nothing matches, everything matches. I have followed similar suit with my dishes, bowls and coffee mugs. Everything is in rich tones of deep blues, reds, browns and gold and no two pieces are the same.
I have the patchwork quilt of kitchens.
It’s not done yet, but I’m off to a decent start. Besides, with a decorating scheme like this, I’m not sure how you really know when you’re “done.” Things kinda just keep getting added to the mix.
In the meantime I’ll keep hunting down weird and obscure kitchen tools to hang on the walls, debate paint schemes for the cabinets with my husband and continue to try to sell him on the perks of having a floor covered in pennies and sealed in polyurethane. He’s not convinced.
But if he thinks this is bad, he’s in trouble … Wait ‘til I start on the living room.
Kasie Strickland is a staff writer for The Easley Progress and The Pickens Sentinel and can be reached at [email protected] Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.