Monday, October 27, 2008
My Eclectic Cottage—The Kitchen, Part One
No, this isn't my house, but it would be awesome if it were!
You probably noticed that I don't talk much about interior design in my own home, even though I'm a devoted reader of design blogs, but there's a very good reason for that. I live in a rental home that is falling apart, and is pretty much a big storage unit, with stuff in boxes, and most rooms unassembled. We are house hunting, and we plan to stay (hopefully!) in our current neighborhood, whether it's in this house or not. But until then, we're in a holding pattern as far as personalizing our space is concerned. It's difficult to live this way, so I tend to use reverie to focus on photography, fashion, shoes, pets, and my goofy (but lovable) husband Pete.
But I wanted to start sharing a glimpse into my inner interior designer with my readers, because I'm always bursting at the seams with ideas, must haves, and inspirations, which can be very frustrating. I have a style which my sister has dubbed "Eclectic Cottage", meaning I adhere to many principles of most cottage decor (simple and efficient spaces, cozy furniture and accessories, lots of color, texture, and pattern, some retro furnishings, etc.), yet I put my own spin on things. I like to include a touch of different styles in my surroundings, from Victorian to modern, and I love mixing and matching colors and textures, too.
Don't be misled by the term "cottage". If you think this means overly cute with lots of doilies and country decor, it doesn't. Cottage interior design can range from English countryside to urban sleek. Cottages aren't required to be painted bright colors or to have an overabundance of knick knacks. Some of the best cottages I've seen are rather modern, simple dwellings that make efficient use of space and light, and the frills are kept to a minimum. But the whimsical and quaint cottage is the other end of the spectrum, and its aesthetic is no less valid. And many people choose to outfit their homes with a blend of styles to suit their tastes, which is exactly what I prefer. I tend to buy what catches my eye and what makes me happy, and if this falls into a particular style or category, so be it.
Anyhow, I will begin featuring posts about my favorite things for each room, some of which I already own (and are in storage) and others which I just dream about at the moment. And I thought I'd start with the kitchen, because it really is the center of the home, and because we already have so much for this room just waiting to be used in our future home. The centerpiece of our kitchen is our beloved Magic Chef 1000 stove, affectionately nicknamed "Millicent" by the man who sold her to us. She's currently resting in our living room on a platform dolly, waiting for the day she will be installed. Here's a picture of her in her former home, still looking lovely after 83 years (she's a 1935 model):
Millicent is a formidable presence in our home, but in a good way. I think when people see her, they think of warmth, family, history, good food, and that which is to come. She certainly has a lot of history, having spent most of her life in a gorgeous mansion in Alton, Illinois, faithfully serving the families that lived there. And while Millicent is indeed a lovely stove, the beauty of the mansion she came from makes her pale in comparison. I had forgotten to take my camera when I toured the home, but I can tell you it was full of floor to ceiling windows (and we're talking 20 ft. plus ceilings), gorgeous moldings, chandeliers, winding staircases, marble tubs...I can go on and on. Needless to say, I cannot WAIT to begin decorating my future kitchen, but until then, I must continue to collect little treasures (and cool appliances) like Millicent for that future time.
Besides Millicent, here are some more things I have either purchased or would like to purchase for my kitchen. And many of these were bridal shower gifts, so we were fortunate to get a good dose of great things this way. Most of this stuff is from Target, Anthropologie (I adore Anthro's home goods!), Crate and Barrel, etc.
One way I am organizing the decor of my kitchen is via my china, "Chirp", by Lenox. There are so many more pieces of this line that I need to add to my collection that it isn't funny. But I do have a few place settings, so that's a start. Anyhow, I absolutely love the bold colors, hand-drawn quality of the design, and of course, the birds! The teal, brown, black, yellow, red, and other colors in this gorgeous (and fun) china, as well as the styling, inspires my decor. It's contemporary yet traditional, with lots of detailing on a very simple china design. It's a mix I love, and which very accurately describes my taste and style.
Next: kitchen basics (plates, mugs, bowls, decor)
(Cottage photo courtesy of Cottage Living)