Raymond and I spent New Year’s in North Hatley, Que., and one evening were invited to drinks at the home of friends. They had recently finished redoing their kitchen, and we were very interested to see it. And oh my! Absolutely gorgeous. The best appliances (huge gas stove complete with grill, big fridge, and not one but two dishwashers, one tiny and cute!), lovely dark wood countertops, great lighting fixtures and furniture (including stools for guests to sit and nibble and sip and gab at the counter while the cooking goes on – and very fine cooking it is, too), the microwave in what I think is a great place for a microwave – a drawer, out of the way – and a small thing that I was most taken by: bins built right into the countertop so you can toss your compostable material and collect it for when compost pickup happens (as it does in civilized places).
But the absolute best thing was how beautifully the kitchen was designed and laid out. It’s not a terribly large space, but it doesn’t feel small because every inch is well and elegantly used, and everything is in its place. It was really gorgeous, and it gave us lots to think about for the Manse kitchen. Which has, you know, a way to go before it reaches anything remotely resembling gorgeousness:
While we don’t have the same space constraints that our friends did – the main kitchen at the Manse is quite a large room – I think it’s still very important to use the space well. We had hoped to use the small pantry off the kitchen as a work area, opening into the main room where there would be a sink and more work space fronted by a higher counter for guests to sit at, like our friends have. But then there’s the rest of the room to think of; how would it be configured? Somewhere in there we’d like to have a wood-burning stove – whether of modern or traditional design (a conundrum I wrote about here) we still haven’t decided – and presumably a comfortable seating area around it. And also a table and chairs, if only for old time’s sake; the kitchen is where my family ate all our meals together when I was growing up at the Manse. (The dining room being reserved for when we had company.)
Anyway, there is much work to be done, and before that much planning. I think we will be going through a lot of graph paper before the exercise is over. But it’s fun – and cheap! – to dream.