Tuesday, September 21, 2010

21 September 1956 “Small Kitchen and Early American”

I have mentioned before how my home, which is quite old, has a very small kitchen. It was most likely added around the turn of the 20th century. It’s cabinets show that it was updated sometime in the 1950’s but unfortunately it is in a sad state. At some point the whole thing must be redone.
I originally had thought of making it larger and every time I draw out plans I continue to scale it down. In fact doing the opposite of what happens in my favorite movie “Mr. Blandings Builds A Dream House”. Mr and Mrs. Blandings (played by Carey Grand and Myrna Loy)are in their architects office just to ‘look’ after having to give up on their antique home to the bulldozer. By the time they leave they have added extensively to the basic plans. At one point Mrs. Blandings exclaims, “I will not subject my daughters to live in a home with less than four bathrooms”. Though, they currently live in a one bath two bed apartment in NYC. It is a great movie and really shows the beginning of the American move towards the bigger home. Though, it won’t really come to fruition decades later for most of us.
So, to my point, in one of my vintage interior design books, I found this kitchen.smallkitchen1It is so tiny yet so pretty. It has even made room for an eating area for two. Here is the blueprint of the room.smallkitchen2Yes, you are reading that correctly. Roughly an 8 x 8 room. That would be a walk in closet in a modern home! Yet, my own kitchen is just about 10 x 10, quite small. I have no problem whipping up all kinds of lovely dinners and desserts in there. It has its quirks of a floor that slants to the right. I have to prop up my cakes in the oven with little rocks so it sets evenly, but I deal with it.
So, the more I think of any of the expense that will have to go into this room shall be in the basics such as tearing up the floor to have new joists installed and a new subfloor. While doing that I might move the door and simply rearrange the layout of the room to fit my needs based on various ideas from my vintage magazines and books. In other words, the smallness is really growing on me.
I also have really come around to the Early American look. I have talked of this little discussed decorating style of the mid-century. It was a modern/quirky take on colonial furniture. Copper jell-o molds, colonial inspired fabrics, knotty pine and anything ‘old’ made into lamps and tables such as spinning wheels and butter churns. There is a very tongue in cheek quality about it that I have come to appreciate.
Since my own home is from the actual New England colonial era, I think it a very fitting look for my new vintage kitchen when that time comes.
 knottypinekitchenI love the use of the bright red counters with the knotty pine. I think I would have my trimmed in either the 50’s aluminum or see if I could get a vintage aluminum dipped in ‘copper’. And though I am going to have a new subfloor, rather than put in heart of pine wide boards like the rest of the house, I want real linoleum (not vinyl). This is actually kind of expensive, but again, if I were to keep the room it’s original small size, than one could have nicer quality items as it would be used sparingly. Even a vintage roll of wallpaper can be as costly as 100 dollars a roll, but when one only needs one roll to do one wall and maybe the back of one open set of cupboards, a realistic expense. The same goes with vintage fabric, which is often hard to get in large amounts.
How many of you are unhappy with the size of your kitchen? Could you be actually happier with less space, but better laid out with your own choice of nicer appointments which would be less expensive due to the smaller space. And as always with small spaces, less clutter when one had less space to accumulate, right?
What are your thoughts on smaller vs. larger in the kitchen? How much space do you actually use in the kitchen? Are there cupboards or counters that actually just hold ‘junk or mail’ and don’t actually serve a practical purpose? It is a fun project to look at a room and think, ‘hmmm, what if it was smaller, what would I keep?”
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