It was a long old time ago that I first began thinking about improving our kitchen corner. You might remember this post here. Even if it weren’t clearly dated, I would still know how long ago it was, because the coy reference I made in it to being a ‘bit under the weather‘ was in fact my being wracked by absolutely horrendous morning sickness, the result of which is currently 6 months old, and angelically asleep in her grobag upstairs.
Remember this corner?
The wardrobe was bugging me, and accumulating rubbish. The whole thing had some potential, I thought, as a display place for children’s art. So I ebayed the wardrobe, flirted briefly with the idea of putting an old telephone box there, and plotted. My ideal of putting an easel in the corner, and painting a bit of the wall in blackboard paint, was rather thwarted by not going to Ikea to buy said easel, and by the double whammy of not being quite sure where our blackboard paint is, and not having the time to do any painting whatsoever.
So I decided to put stuff up on the walls. Of course. (Turns out I am a bit fond of doing this). And here’s how it looks now.
You’ll note the appliance on the floor. Turns out that a tumble drier, whilst not exactly essential to modern existence, is pretty damned handy when you have three children. My long-term plan is to convert the downstairs bathroom into a toilet room and small utility room, and the tumble drier can then find a permanent home there.
But for the moment here it is, churning out dry towels and bedding in industrial quantities and saving the day – well – daily.
IT all started with finding a way to display the copious amounts of art that the girls now produce. It’s been accumulating on the fridge, and looking a bit scruffy. I had decided on a clothes-line type solution, and planning to buy a curtain line from Ikea, when I suddenly decided I should, for once, stop putting off home decisions until after I’d been to the Swedish superstore of dreams, and instead just do it.
I decided to use ribbon, and hooks. I was half-resolved in this plan of action, then became totally determined after seeing two friends with clothes line-type set-ups in their houses (thank you Sarah, and Elli) and suddenly fearing that clothes lines with pegs and children’s art might be having a moment, and that I was missing out. I also reasoned that if I didn’t like it, it would be cheap to replace, and easy to remove.
And guess what? I love it. It does everything I need it to. I can quickly change around and remove the artwork, it holds art of all shapes and sizes, and it turns it into a bit of a feature rather than just clogging up the fridge.
My ribbon bag (have I mentioned my ribbon bag? I love my ribbon bag.) was stuffed with red gingham ribbon after a Christmas wrapping frenzy involving this, brown paper, candy canes, and tiny bells a couple of years ago. After spending far too much time thinking about different kinds of hooks,in the end I just used little cable clips to fasten the ribbon to the wall. I honestly can’t believe this didn’t occur to me before. They are so cheap as to be almost free, tiny, and basically invisible once I’d tied the ribbon in a bow.
These pictures show the ribbons adorned with slightly sad, weather-beaten grey-brown wooden pegs. This was because I was on a roll, and not to be held back in my zeal by missing materials. So you will have to trust me (and await an updated photo) when I tell you that I have since ordered red and white polka-dotted pegs from ebay, and pretty splendid they look, too.
I am especially pleased with the plates above the ribbon display. For ages I’d been staring at these two empty walls whilst I ate, weighing up the relative benefits of hanging up my Rob Ryan plates there, or putting artwork up, when suddenly in a Damascean moment one day I realised I could in fact do both. I found these rather brilliant plate hangers which glue onto the back of plates, and promise faithfully not to fall off, and then just tapped little picture hooks into the wall and – voila!
Once this was all sorted in my head, I just needed to decide what to do on the other wall.
I spent quite some time arranging these frames on the kitchen table, trying to get a balance that looked right. I went through my frames pile and pulled out ones that were white or largely white, and then moved them around, and moved them around. It was frustrating as they were almost there,but not quite. I kept shifting, squinting, and shifting, when I suddenly let out a ‘Eureka!’ and ran upstairs, coming back down moments later with two small heart-shaped ornaments in my hand, to the visible bemusement of my husband.
The hanging hearts (originally in our bedroom, but since it was redecorated, awaiting a new home) were perfect. They are pretty, light, and white enough to link in with the rest of the frames. I love the look of hanging up small items in amongst pictures, and on the right hand side they provided just enough balance to the rest of the frames. Once I added them to my kitchen table configuration, suddenly the whole thing worked.
These picture frames I picked up in a second hand charity sale in my local church for a pound or two. They were a brassy gold colour, with old postcards in, but I spray painted them white thinking they’d come in handy one day. They need another coat or two, and I am not sure what photos I will put in them eventually (these pictures are just placeholders), but they are making me smile in the meantime.
This multi-aperture frame was another Christmas present, and like the mirror has been languishing in the ‘pile of stuff to be put on the wall’ which has been threatening to take over one corner of our study.
This leapt into my hands when I was last in a branch of Tiger, and I bought it before I really knew what I was doing. My sister and father thought it looked like a dolls house (and in fairness, perhaps that is why I like it) but I think of it like a modern take on a printer’s tray. I’d like to fill it with very small, white things. I have a vision of a little tiny white teapot in it, and a tiny white silhouette of some kind. But as with the clothes pegs above, I also didn’t want to wait. So for the moment it contains one Barbie shoe, one fairy ornament, and not a whole lot else. I do like it, though. I like it on its own, but I particularly like how the square shapes of the tray mirror the boxiness of the multi-aperture frame, above.
This wooden moulding was from Cox and Cox. Since I bought it, in a moment’s indulgence, I have at various points planned to put it in almost every room in our house. It seemed for a while as if there were not one single space in our home that might not benefit from a random piece of moulded wood hung up on it, and I struggled to think how I would choose where to put it. But when I first hung the frames up, there was a space at the top. Like so:
And when Oli saw it, he paused and said, “Doesn’t it need something at the top?”
And I was annoyed with him, because I feel myself to be rather superior to him in matters of the home, so I snappily said, “No. Why?”
Then I looked at it again, and saw he was right. And this was somehow even more annoying. But once I’d admitted it to myself, and to him, I hung up the wooden moulding and we both relaxed a little. Ah! There it was.
And here it is. Our new kitchen corner. It is undeniably ‘busy’, but I think a certain kind of happy busy-ness will undeniably be part of our kitchen, especially whilst the girls are small. Whilst I keep being drawn to, and resolutely pinning pictures of beautiful, monochrome, minimalist kitchens on Pinterest, I don’t think that this look is necessarily either achievable or desirable for us right now.
Our kitchen has always had some blue in it, and lately also a bit of red. But in hanging up the printers tray, and the artwork, I started to see how our kitchen might look in the medium term if I can do it up a bit: a white background, white painted wood, with multi-coloured accents, largely of red and blue.
Another small pleasing thing in this corner: my KLM Delft house. I spotted a row of these at a local market, baulked a little at the price, and subsequently snaffled this one on ebay for about a fiver including postage. I confess that I have since bought one more, which is on its way to me.