Sunday, November 8, 2009

This Old House: Kitchen

I am just going to call our old kitchen:
'circa 1962 schizophrenic pink cocina'
(not sure why it is Spanish, there was nothing Spanish in that kitchen--oh well... )
By the way, if you watch the old Brendan Frasier, Christopher Walken, Sissy Spacek movie, 'Blast from the Past' you will see an almost identical kitchen to our old kitchen in their "bomb shelter". And come to think of it... we have a bomb shelter too. It's not under ground and it doesn't have a kitchen, but hey, no bomb shelter is perfect :).
Wow, when I first saw this house, not even dreaming that someday it would be mine, I was blown away by the kitchen, and not in a good way. The kitchen was horrible. I mean at one point I'm sure it was the epitome of what every cookie baking, casserole making, happy little housewife would want. But really, after 30 years of hard labor, this kitchen had definitely seen better days. There were also some interesting design oddities in the kitchen. For example, to the left of the sink on the floor below the set of drawers that are sort of visible above, there was a little metal door that could be opened. It took me months to realize what this actually was. It was meant as a little dust pan for floor debris. You just swept everything from the floor into this hole and it just magically disappeared--actually it went into a little metal bin attached to the ceiling in the basement that you would then empty when it was full? Okay. Really? It was just easier to sweep it into a regular dust pan and throw it in the kitchen garbage. Seriously. Also the bottom drawer was actually a little dirty towel laundry chute. Really? There was also a regular full size laundry chute right around the corner in the closet. Even I am not that lazy.
In the above photo, I am not even really sure what the whole contraption in the corner was. I think it was a fancy rotisserie thing that popped up from the counter top... there was a fan above it and everything. By the time we acquired the house, however, nothing was working and I really could not see any point in reviving it. It was not in my "ultimate kitchen" plan so we used it as an elaborate throne for our teeny tiny microwave oven.
And yeah, just about everything was pink... the floral wallpaper, the walls, the kitchen cabinets, the range, the refrigerator. Speaking of the wallpaper, like just about every room in the house there were 4-5 layers, of course. One of the layers was a dark brown and forest green log cabin print. I wish I had taken a picture of that. I cannot even imagine the kitchen at that point. In the winter months it must have been the darkest kitchen in Portland. The floor was the worst though. Amazingly, it was not pink. What it was, was the worst looking linoleum I have ever seen. No matter how much you scrubbed it with bleach, it looked dirty... really dirty!
The range/stove/cook top, whatever you want to call it was pretty cool. It had a pull out 4-burner cook top. Presumably it was designed for narrow galley style kitchens like ours so when you weren't cooking on it, it didn't take up so much room in the kitchen. It also had double ovens on top. Only about half of the whole thing worked and none of it worked very well, but the original design was awesome I think. The bottom was pot & pan storage and yes, it was a lovely shade of pink.

So, we lived with this retro pink kitchen for a number of years. I went to home shows and kitchen showrooms and bought kitchen remodeling magazines and made plans and changed plans and eventually came up with a design that I loved. I ordered the cabinets, remember those ones that sat in the living room for months? I saved and saved until I could afford the 48" Dacor range of my dreams. We painted the walls my favorite color and put in the nice eco-friendly cork floors that have ended up being wonderfully comfortable on the feet.

Below is one of my favorite pictures taken in our then new kitchen. A few things have changed since this picture, noticeably we have traded out the big white counter top TV for a flat screen that folds up under the cabinets.
Below is our kitchen today. It has definitely stood the test of time. I still very much love it. I wish we had had the extra $100K to expand it out and make it big and beautiful but alas, we did not. It is pretty much a one cook, galley kitchen which usually works out well in our house.
Below: my dream range. I use it every day.
I really enjoy my farm house style sink and although I like the concept of the Fisher & Paykel drawer style dishwashers--mainly because after a party you can load one with pots & pans and wash it on heavy at the same time you load the other with fine china and wash it on delicate--we have definitely had some issues with the electrical system and it is more of a dish sterilizer than a dish washer (in case anyone was wondering). Like the cork floors, it was one of our eco-friendly options in that it has great water saving technology.
The kitchen takes full advantage of our view--which is nice:Our "new" kitchen is now about 8 years old and I still love it.

And recently, for purely practical reasons I had the kitchen chairs reupholstered and added a chair rail to the wall. Light pink cotton fabric, sturdy chairs and a tight corner plus years and years of little boys and friends turning into big boys and friends, well, frankly the stains and dents and chips were just driving me nuts!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ahh! I remember it well. I actually have a pink flamingo mug from that kitchen that I use everyday in my bathroom. Lots of good memories in both the old and the "new kitchen." I loved the chanukah candles burning on the window sill, and Michael had hair!
Here's to lots more good memories, the kitchen is truly the real living room of the house.