Thursday, 23 February 2012

Our kitchen - Then and Now

We received a random letter last year, a few weeks before our wedding, from Spain.  It contained a lovely, polite, hand-written letter explaining that the writer had previously lived in our flat with her husband and young son before they moved to Tenerife a few years ago.  They were returning to Scotland for a holiday and were keen to return to the home they remembered fondly.  It was a bit of a strange request I suppose, but I loved that and can totally relate - I would love to return to my old homes and see what has been done with them and remember the good times I had there.  They included a picture of themselves in the kitchen here and explained that they were the ones who did a lot of work on the flat, changing some of the rooms around (ours is the only one in the block where the kitchen, bedroom and living room have all been switched).  They provided an email address asking for a reply to their random request to come and visit some time in August.

I immediately replied - it was a welcome break to all the last minute wedding planning chaos and nice to think about life after the wedding mayhem!  I explained that we were literally about to get married and would be on honeymoon for most of August but if the dates suited then we would be happy to let them come and have a snoop round the flat.  It turns out that there were at least two other owners in the time between them leaving and us moving in as they didn't sell it to the same people we bought it from.  I couldn't wait to hear about their time in the flat, especially as they had said they were the ones who did so much work on it and would bring pictures!!

When they came round, they were so lovely and friendly and it turned out the dad is also a doctor who worked in some of the same places as Nik when he was living here!  They have kindly scanned in the pictures they brought with them and emailed them to me since.  I decided to share them here, with their permission, and have also got a few photos of how the flat was when I first came to view it when Sarah lived here.  I love looking at how different people design spaces and add their own personalities to their homes.  I am fascinated to be able to see that done in the same place by three different families (if you include us).

Living room before it was a kitchen!
Kitchen when they finished it it 2001
Kitchen in 2001
Kitchen in 2001
And this is how it looked before we bought it in 2008...

The kitchen as Sarah had it in 2008 (from schedule)
Sarah's kitchen in 2008 (at viewing)
Luckily it turned out that Sarah and I had very similar tastes (we even had the same fruit bowl!)  We didn't even need to paint any rooms when we moved in.  The only things we have done since are the bathroom and recently the study.  Here is how we have the kitchen now - the walls are the same (they look slightly different due to my pictures being taken in the dark), ours is perhaps a bit more cluttered though oh and we also added a light above the 'peninsula' as we have christened the bit that's almost a kitchen island but attached.  We also took some of the cupboard doors off the back of this bit to make a wine rack.

Our Kitchen in 2012

And since I couldn't decide if it looked better in the daytime, here are a few more...

We absolutely LOVE our kitchen!  It has amazing storage, LOADS of surface space for chopping and baking and plenty of room to host dinner parties (we have extension leaves for the table too).  I am so glad that lovely Spanish family decided to completely change the flat around.  It works so well and their work on it was so obviously done with love.  He built the whole kitchen himself - so impressive!

And just because I love my details so much, here are a few more little touches I particularly love in our kitchen...

Our egg coop - saw this in a friend's kitchen and fell in love with it's quirky cuteness!
(managed to source on ebay)

My gorgeous green KitchnAid!
(Pressie from amazing In-Laws for Christmas)
One of the display cupboards for my pretty glasses, teapot etc. 

My cheese mice on display with the jugs/decanter  :)
(I felt so grown up getting a decanter - think we've used it like, once!)

Love my ceramic milk jug!
(Birthday pressie from Sarah)
My FABULOUS Tiki Head glass
(which may or may not have come from a bar called Dragonfly in Edinburgh years ago)

Our lego 'us' cake topper and stunning African etched bowl from Grandmother-in-Law

Slate Heart Message board
(and cute pear decoration from Sarah at Christmas)

Stained glass hanging art
(from a furniture shop in Edinburgh)

Totally in love with this candle holder from John Lewis (which always surprises everyone who asks)
which looks spectacular at night with all eleven candles lit.

Stunning painting by the lovely Jim Byars
(who I met when I did craft fairs, he's also an actor)

Twig heart from my lovely  friend Claire as an engagement present
(used as a prop on our e-shoot)

My very old wine rack from when I was a student, I like the effect of the bottles lit up from behind
And one of my pictures on canvas

A painting we bought in Egypt on our 2nd trip there

Some more of my pictures - all the shrooms that I love
And our very funky watering can!

And finally, some pretty silk painted cards I had made in Kuala Lumpur for Nik
when I went to Malaysia without him  (Cinta means Love)
Oh, and that's a magnet of my old dog, Gigha, who I loved to bits!!

So I think that's enough of my clutter for you!  I love having these little details around our flat, they're what make it our home.

I will share the photos of the other rooms soon (when ours are tidy enough to take current pictures!!)  ;)

1 comment:

Alicia said...

Becky, what a lovely post. It is amazing to look at the photos of the different stages of the kitchen. If you think that the tenement flat was built at the turn of the century, just imagine all the lives that those walls have witnessed, all the conversations, the cups of tea, and even only in the last decade, since the room became a kitchen, the number of hours spent chopping, scrubbing, baking, cooking and chatting over a glass of wine in the evenings...
I remember well when we stripped the walls of their many layers of wallpaper- there must have been six or seven. Underneath the very last one surfaced the original, stencilled terracotta-coloured wall, unfortunately too damaged to be saved. I stood in awe, wondering what the room was like just one hundred years before, when the small pantry was, presumably, where the maid slept, can you imagine? What kind of family would have lived there? Did they have electricity? What kind of a bathroom would they have? What did the street look like when one went outside? The noises, the smells, was it all different?
Anyway, I do love your kitchen so. Thank you for sharing all the small things you love, what a great idea! I specially enjoyed seeing Jim Byars' painting, and I had a browse through his website- he does paint beautifully. The twig heart and the slate heart I remember well, because I thought that they were sweet- rough, hard materials shaped so tenderly. your photos are fabulous- and I love your KitchenAid mixer! Indeed a wonderful Xmas pressie, lucky girl...
Thank you for being so kind to us when we visited- it was really a special visit for us. And for sharing now in your blog!

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