Monday, November 9, 2009

where i cook: a kitchen in denmark

a little over a year ago, this was how my kitchen looked. you'll notice the lack of kitcheny bits one normally expects - sink, stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, countertops (i could go on).  it was a long spring and summer, i can tell you. i've already mentioned before that i did a lot of cooking outside on an old stove we picked up from an antique dealer. we also ate quite a lot of kebabs and pizza. it wasn't much fun and it got me dreaming about the kitchen appliances i would have when the kitchen once again was back to normal.

things slowly moved towards normalcy. we actually moved the kitchen from one side of the room to the other, so pipes and drains had to be changed. at one point there was a giant hole dug under the stairs. i was rather alarmed one especially stressful day that it appeared that my chopped up body might fit very nicely into it, but thankfully that feeling passed. oak flooring was laid. the sink was moved and functioning again. the walls repaired and prepared for a fresh coat of paint.

and then those appliances we had ordered were delivered. that was a truly joyous day. especially when the red retro smeg refrigerator was in place. and the dishwasher (it's a miele, because we love that top silverware drawer, so much better for the silverware than those baskets). so we were using free containers that came with the cat food as our trash cans, big deal, there was counter space and a dishwasher and a cheery tile backsplash.

and although the layout may look a bit strange, with the stove at the end of the big island, which is made out of a wonderful 21-drawer antique counter from an old village shop on which we put an oak countertop, it actually functions really well. there's a deep window sill right behind where i keep the olive oil and other cooking essentials right at hand and i tend to put a tray on some of the unused burners for a spoon rest while i'm cooking. it works really well, as i don't often use all six burners at once. the stove is smeg, like the refrigerator, and has two ovens. i wanted a stove that could handle thanksgiving and i'll find out this year if it can, as we're hosting a large thanksgiving feast.

another of the items i considered essential was a kitchenaid mixer (i had an ugly, tho' heavy-duty electrolux one previously). and blender. and food processor. we husband drew the line at the espresso machine (with me kicking and screaming about that one), so we still have to go out for lattes or make them the old-fashioned way with a bodum stovetop frother. the food processor doesn't show in this picture, as i keep it in the pantry when i'm not using it. mostly because it's black. they didn't have a red one in stock and i couldn't wait, so i settled for black (i also got a discount on the display model, so call me cheap). i use the food processor less often than i use the mixer, tho' it comes out at least once or twice a week, as does the blender (which lives on top of the fridge).

and this is pretty much how it looks today. i'll admit i was resistant to having the big-ass t.v. in the room, but it has turned out to be quite ok. it means that sabin can be there, playing the Wii while i'm cooking and we can interact and spend time together that we might not otherwise spend if she had to play in another room. the kitchenaid mixer is something that i use nearly every day, which is why it gets a place of honor on the counter at all times. down in the the far bottom drawer you'll find the toaster. it's a longstanding tradition in husband's family to keep the toaster in a drawer, so that's where ours is. we just leave the drawer open while it's toasting.

the lamp you can see above the stove is actually an ingenious fan - one that doesn't need a bunch of ugly ductwork. you just regularly send the filters through the dishwasher (it blinks to tell you when) and it absorbs cooking odors and grease. totally brilliant design from elica.

one thing that is, for some (e.g. my mother), curiously absent from my kitchen, is a microwave. i haven't had one in over a decade and there hasn't been a single, solitary time that i've missed it. if your cup of coffee or tea has gone cold, make yourself a new one for heaven's sake, it'll taste better anyway! we even managed to relearn how to make popcorn on the stovetop and so we never suffer without a microwave.

we love the drawer unit that makes up the island. it's big enough that you can have people working on both sides, especially when it's time to make lots of cut-out cookies. while i'm preparing dinner, the guests can sit on the other side and talk to me while they sip a cocktail. it makes it a very social space, which is how the kitchen should be. it's really the center of our home. and although the house is for sale, we will try to recreate such a space in whatever new house we move to.


Molly said...

Inspiration! Just as our builders start week 2 of kitchen renovations - and in the rain! Thanks Julie, I know our new kitchen will become the hub of the home too - just got to keep my eye on the end goal and not the mud!
(Tho I wish I had a red Smeg fridge coming my way at the end of it too!)

Jelica said...

I miss your gorgeous kitchen :) I think all those weeks on kebab and pizzas were worth it!

Sandra said...

LOVE your kitchen!

TBM said...

What a gorgeous kitchen! I love all that RED :-)

MissBuckle said...

Big Man wants a red Smeg that is on sale at our local gourmet kitchen shop, but it feels wrong.

Red Smeg=Julie.

But I'm trying to convince him on a yellow kitchen aid... I think I have to promise to bake all aour bread to make it happen.

I totally love my new kitchen it is o he hub of our house now.

Anne said...

Well. If that's not picture after picture of love at first sight, I don't know what is. That fridge! That stove! That drawer/counter/island unit! The open space so that you can have company while you cook! I love red (when I get a KitchenAid mixer, it shall be red; and if I hadn't gotten my Cuisinart as a hand-me-down, it would be red as well) and that fridge has got me a one-way ticket to join Paolo e Francesca in the second circle.

Are you taking the fridge and/or stove with you to your next house?

rxBambi said...

I absolutely love the kitchen island. I am a sucker for big furniture with a lot of drawers or cubbies. Strangely enough, I don't have any, but that's what always draws my eye. I think I'm afraid of trying to get big purchases like that home without hubby finding out.
thanks for the sneak peak. We need to discuss another bc so that I can experience the yellow/cherry red kitchen and of course the blue room. I won't feel like a real live blogger until I've seen it first hand.

Magpie said...

I love your kitchen.

Nimble said...

Thanks for inviting us in. It's a treat to get a look at someone's kitchen. You all have done wonders with that room. I hope the next one is easier/quicker to complete. And by the way, a toaster in a drawer is completely ridiculous and charming.

Bee said...

Red and yellow is such a good color scheme for a kitchen. I'm jealous of your red appliances -- especially that refrigerator! (You know how tiny mine is.)

I feel sad that you are moving; but on the optimistic side of things, you now have the chance for a do-over. Anything that you would add, fix or change?

kristina said...

I love your kitchen - who doesn't? :-) but it's not just the place, it's also the people in it who are lovely!

KathyB. said...

WOW! I love your kitchen!

Su Sahib said...

What a lovely kitchen, one that says I belong to someone who cooks ! I just purchased a Smeg cooking range, absolutely love it but been reading mixed reviews on the web. How did yours fair with heavyduty cooking over thanksgiving ?

Elizabeth said...

Was just browsing around and came across these beautiful pictures of your gorgeous, inviting old kitchen.
At the moment even I miss it!!!! (haha)


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