The Kitchen: How to Make it Look Like Old

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What I love about our home is that it still has the old-fashioned character of the era it was built in. I love the wood floors, the super-cool fireplaces, the antique knobs and hinges, and the tile flooring. So many places like this have had their insides virtually erased and covered over with really blah walls, floors and built-ins. While our kitchen has my ideal flooring (terracotta tile) and some original windows, it has been updated quite a bit. I’m sure that the changes helped with its functionality, but I have to say I am not a big fan of all the fake wood veneer, cream cabinets and tile and modern fixtures. Overall, it is not bad (I saw much worse!) but the effect is kind of modern, boring and masculine. So my challenge in this room has been to soften and brighten the room, and hopefully give it more of the nostalgic feel of the rest of the house. As a renter, I can’t do anything major like changing cabinets or fixtures, so it has to be accomplished just with decor. I guess we could paint, but we haven’t gotten there yet. Here it is with the owner’s stuff in it. Nice enough, but do you get what I mean?

 Just moving our things in helped. In the kitchen, I want to see a lot of nature and food. I want to think about eating when I am in there, and be inspired by the ingredients. Most of what we eat is perishable, and I always love seeing an ever-changing display of produce out on the counter. Today was a market day, so there is plenty! What could be more beautiful?

One of my personal quirks is that I really don’t like to see lots of words everywhere. In the kitchen, especially, everything tends to come with labels and visually irritating packaging. I try to buy in bulk or fresh, and then the things that do come home in packages I usually put into clear jars. Once again, what could be more attractive than actual food? I love seeing the spices like this.
  My other kitchen quirk is that I really, really hate seeing appliances in the kitchen! There are some cool looking ones out there, but in general, I’d just rather keep them hidden. We can’t quite do that, but I have gathered our espresso machine, electric kettle, and water filter over into one isolated station– which is super convenient, since we use all three when we make our morning coffee.

One big improvement we made was to put up this little shelf and the rack on an otherwise blank and unused wall. This really warmed things up, and I love displaying little objects there– so cheery!

The wooden cheese boards were our souvenir from Bellagio last year, the painted plate was a gift from my sister, and the vintage copper kettle is a flohmarkt find that I use to water plants with.

 I painted these strawberries one afternoon when I was pregnant, and when Jeff came home I lied and told him they were from a friend, since I really wanted him to be honest about whether or not he liked them! (Yes, I have some issues with sharing what I have made!!)  He did like them, and ever since then, they have been tacked onto my kitchen walls.

 There are these funny cubbies here, perfect for displaying dishes and teapots…
And this is the last thing I did to try to cover up the washing machine. I actually did this just now, while I was looking at pictures of the kitchen. Hopefully it won’t be super inconvenient.

The kitchen is always the first room that I get to work on, since I like to cook in a cheerful, orderly space. This one is very, very functional, with plenty of cupboard space and room to work. I absolutely love all of the light that comes in, and I look forward to cooking many, many meals here!
If you would like to see a couple of my previous kitchens (I can’t seem to hold one down for long!) you can have a look here and here. Once again, thanks for the visit– and thanks for letting me chat with you about this!

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17 Responses to The Kitchen: How to Make it Look Like Old

  1. greatdana March 21, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    Wonderful! Love the green shelf and the strawberries – How nice to have a piece of pregnancy with you in all your kitchens. I love the french doors and all the light too and the cloth in front of the washer – dishwasher, right?

    • Ariana March 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

      Hi Dana! It’s actually a washing machine– no dishwasher here. Actually, no one even has double sinks for washing dishes. I have mixed feelings about the washing machine in the kitchen, for sure, and having the dryer down the stairs in the basement isn’t ideal either! You can’t have it all. 🙂

  2. alexa March 21, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Very Cute! Really liking these photos of your home. It looks super cozy.

    • Ariana March 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

      Thanks Alexa! It’s fun to share!

  3. Jenny March 21, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

    Your strawberries are so beautiful. I love all your “homey” touches- those are the things missing in my own kitchen.

    • Ariana March 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

      Thank you Jenny. I am really glad I decided to keep a lot of the small things– it makes such a difference to have little odds and ends from different times and places in my life.

  4. Great Aunt Gretchen March 22, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    Love the way you have made it so beautiful!

    • Ariana March 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

      Thank you, Aunt Gretchen!

  5. Kristen - March 22, 2012 at 12:59 am #

    I’m loving your home tour! And love the fruit and vegetable corner! This screams! Spain to me. It looks exactly like both of my Mother-in-law’s kitchens. The light is perfect.

    I hate appliances as well. My U.S. kitchen looks bare and naked. But that might have more to do with the fact that I am recreating my kitchen from scratch 🙂

    • Ariana March 23, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

      Kristen– I didn’t know that about Spanish kitchens. I hope to be invited into one someday, to see for myself!
      Good luck setting up your home, I hope you have fun with it!

  6. Kimberly March 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    It sounds like you are having fun making this your home. I love the photos and the dialogue. 🙂

    • Ariana March 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

      Hi Kimberly,
      Thanks so much for coming by and taking the tour. It is really nice to share, since we are not “there” yet socially in our new city. Having virtual visitors is just one more reason I love blogging!

  7. Great Scott March 23, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

    You mentioned Bellagio – SQUEAL!!! One of my very favorite places on earth. We must compare stories one day. Anyway, back to your post – love that you are such a foodie. We are too and there is nothing that makes me happier than a bowl of fruit or a head of garlic in a glass jar …. and your spices (swoon!). Love the little rack and the strawberries. Such a warm and cozy space you create…

  8. Ariana March 24, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

    Sarah, thank you for your sweet comments! We went to Lake Como on our way back to the States from Germany last spring. It was so gorgeous, and I just kept thinking I’d love to go back when it’s warm enough to swim in that gorgeous lake!

  9. Restaurants in Steamboat June 2, 2012 at 8:22 am #

    Lovely kitchen. In our kitchen there are so much more glass bottle with species. My mom loves more species food.

  10. Maggie October 24, 2018 at 11:27 am #

    It’s a very nice kitchen you have. I love all the fruits and spices on display. It makes the space more cozy. What I like the most about Home Expert in Aberdeen is that they present interesting ideas and inspirations on home decor on their website. I think your kitchen could easily be one of the inspirational posts there. Wooden cheese boards are my absolute favourites.


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