When I was a poor university student we lived very simply. Instead of a couch we had large floor pillows that I covered with gold velvet salvaged from a church renovation. I still have those floor pillows although I’ve since re-covered them with grey wool and chocolate corduroy. We had industrial shelving to house our books and cds, and we had a lot of homemade art around the apartment.
I took a cue from Oppenheim and covered my old school television with leopard print fun fur so my beloved cat could have a warm furry perch. It was pretty challenging to watch anything on the screen with her tail twitching across it but it made for a good conversation piece and it turned out to be a life changing piece of “art”. Peter often says that when he saw that TV he knew I was the one for him. Needless to say, add a lot of wine, good music, good friends and we had quite a lovely, simple, bohemian life.
Of course time marches on and careers, children, and life make us busier and busier and those simple times are forgotten. Gone are the days when a simple pasta dinner and a checked tablecloth marked an elegant time. Last weekend we found ourselves going back to those simpler days and being grateful for what we have.
We’ve lived in this house for six years and suffered with the DIY from the previous owners. The kitchen in particular has been one of the worst rooms in the house with unsafe electrical, broken down cabinets and plumbing that snakes it’s way in and out of most of one side of the kitchen, making the cupboards pretty much unusable. In order to drain the water actually needs to defy gravity (you can imagine how well that works). So we have decided to renovate as simply as we can with stock cabinetry and by doing as much as possible on our own. I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to watch the cabinets being pulled out one by one and to be able to see the guts of the house, clean those guts and put it all back together. This was my kitchen last week in preparation for the big rip-out with cabinet doors removed and everything (except the essentials) packed up.
Peter has been really patient and great at pulling everything out. I think he may even secretly enjoy it. Perhaps he shares my enthusiasm for taking on a project like this and really making this place ours.
So here we are today, without cabinets, with everything out and ready for use just like the old days of industrial shelving in the living room. And you know what? We are really enjoying it! The kids can access everything they need. I have found a new rhythm to my cooking, and it’s really easy to clean up. I guess you can survive a kitchen reno without losing your sense of humour. All this disorder has given me freedom to let the rest of the house go a little bit too which has meant more park visits, more wooden trains set up in the living room and more storytelling. Not a bad little perk.
But if I need a little bit of serenity, I can always glance over to the dining room where things are calm for the time being anyways.
I hope the rest of this journey continues to bring us unexpected gifts. I’ll continue to post photos to flickr in case you want to follow along.