It still breaks my heart to go through old pictures of my first house. The pictures of the kitchen, in particular, are the most overwhelming because it’s the last place that I took a picture with my father and it was also the home to the last gift I ever received from my parents as a unit. It was pretty grimy and gross, but two weeks before my father passed away my mother dragged him out of the house carried him into the kitchen, popped a bottle of champagne, and there we toasted my first home purchase.
My parents very generously offered a set amount of money to be put towards the purchase an appliance as a housewarming/Christmas/birthday present because everything was pretty old and beaten up when I moved in. Fact: during the entire two years that I lived there I never had a shower that lasted longer than 10 minutes because the water heater was always on the crapper, but never fully gave out. I never once had freshly shaved legs AND clean hair – there was only time for one or the other.
The stove, though. Right after closing my mom and I were pouring through the aisles of Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore on Division where there are building supplies and large appliances, when we stumbled on a mint condition, vintage stove for $250. If you’ve never been, the Habitat stores are incredible – the staff is friendly and helpful, the stock is ever changing and really great, and the prices are BUENO! People would walk into my house and make a beeline for this stove. It was huge and wonderful and then I forgot to put it on the list of things I was taking with me when I sold and I had to leave it behind.
I try not to get too attached to materials, but that loss crushed me…
The checklist wasn’t too bad for the entire room. The existing stove went on Craigslist, the fridge got moved to another wall, upper cabinets were pulled down, open shelving got installed, and the lower cabinets got some fresh paint and hardware. Once my knicks and knacks were in place the entire space felt much homier and was so much more functional.
A lot of cooking and entertaining went on in there. I perfected two of my favorite recipes in that kitchen (mulberry jam and butternut squash soup) and learned how to can both so that I could give them as presents or have the cabinets stocked for any random group of hungry friends who might show up.