Archive for the kitchen Category

of finish lines and mirages

Posted in Derelict house, kitchen, Renovation, Uncategorized with tags , , on August 3, 2013 by pimpmybricks

Good Morrow Ladies and Gents all

I have been nudged into wakefulness and summoned to my laptop to write a post (for which many thankyous – it’s good to be missed).  And so, like some crumpled old genie I emerge from my suburban bottle in a poof of wattle pollen.  But I must warn you that this will be a post thrown together by a distracted mind.  Caveat emptor!  Abandon ship all ye who enter here seeking order, coherence or even linear thought.

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But first, let’s do the ritual  sozzas for being late and get that out of the way. Ladies and Gents,  pray silence for the solemn reading of the Proclamation of Lamentations.   Items one to six – issues arising with the Regency Wreck.  Items seven to ten – other matters.  One such other matter, in fact, being the complete and utter lack of internet for five weeks.   There has been much eating of cold turkey around here and it hasn’t been a pretty thing.  It’s not until you’re without it that you realise the full and alarming extent of your dependence.   Mr P, normally the most equable fellow you could ever wish to meet, took to posting boxfuls of his torn out hair to call centres in Manila.  The eventual upshot being that  our illustrious ISP has now supplied us with a dongle (do you not love that word?), and so here I am, bashing out said post.

So then. Life has been somewhat Sisyphean of late.  It’s been tough on the Regency Wreck front – that’s axiomatic, innit – but also across the board really.  There has been some pretty awful news in the family and my own health issues have resurfaced from all the on-going nonsense.   A veritable tsunami of stress, all in all.   Mr P, I have to tell you, has been a Super Trouper of the First Order, with gold medals and epaulettes and everything.  But I, the ex-stress junkie, have been coming apart at the seams just a little.  Madame Flaketastic, wibbling and wavering all over, like a too-heavy thing on a too-slender base.  Hence, you know, the lack of posts.

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And what of the the jolly old Regency Wreck?  Well, it finally resembles a house (more or less), and, in fact, has been hovering within co-ee of the finish line for some time now.  Hovering but not advancing very fast.  Indeed, the very definition of ‘finish’ is something that is hotly contested at present.  And so we are still waiting.  And waiting.  Parables of tortoises and hares spring to mind.  Rather fed-up tortoises with tired legs, I tell you, having staggered around these past two and a half years (I know! really!) under the weight of that big old unliveable house.  And no, that’s not the wind in the trees you hear; it’s the strains of violins.  Overall, the situation with the RW is still…shall we say, somewhat powder keggish… and because of that I think I shall be prudent for once and stay schtum about the whole thing.  Just for a short while longer, if you’ll forgive me. But, as they like to say, watch this space.  I promise posts with pictures and sentences that make sense and no smoke and mirrors.  Maybe even a theme or two.  Soon.  As soon as a spoon.

finish line

In the meantime, let’s look beyond that disputed finish line at the piles of kitchen, pantry and laundry cupboards that are still in the UK, but due to be packed on Tuesday and bundled onto a boat to make their seasick way out here.  I know that it seems an utter lunacy to have a kitchen made on the other side of the world but in fact, even with the shipping costs it’s cheaper and I got rather tired of hearing that no, I couldn’t have real hinges but I could have fake ones with those flat pack affairs behind them.  I mean, really!

In the end we did go with the pink island.  The actual colour has more yellow in it than appears in the photo; a sort of stewed rhubarb hue. At least I’m hoping it does because in the photo it looks a little scarily…pink. IMG_0458

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This last cupboard is for the laundry because – confession time here – I’m a bit of a closet washermaid (without the mob cap) and the pinnacle of my laundressing aspirations (other than, you know, a housekeeper) has for years been the idea of a cupboard into which I can sort clean and dirty washing.  In colour categories, mind you (for dirty) and owners (for clean).   You may call me anal – but let me remind you that Mrs Beeton would have called me organised.IMG_0463So then one pressing question on my mind (that small portion not taken up with matters of porcelain or semiotics, which is another story)… one pressing question is whether copper would speak nicely to the pink island in the kitchen.  Or not.  Because I am having a little love affair with these lights which look to me for all the world like slightly deliquescing jellies:

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And further, whether the pink condemns me to sensible honed granite worktops in grey, and all matters relating thereto.  And on that lovely prosaic note, I am off.

Soon, jellyspoons.

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Of visitations and kitchen islands.

Posted in Georgian houses, kitchen, Renovation, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 31, 2013 by pimpmybricks

In just over 6 hours Mr P and I will be toddling off to the UK, for the visitation of parents (and the buying of sofas).  Lawdy.  All the manifold house balls hovering precariously in the air  will somehow have to be brought in to land before then. The current crises (colour for the stairs, treatment for the floors) will have to be parked on little piles of crossed fingers in the hope that they’ll magically resolve themselves while we’re away.

Our run up to departure has been an interesting one.  You know, interesting in the manner of the Chinese proverb.

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Mr P’s car has developed a mysterious, and possibly fatal, illness.   Yesterday, while bailing out his old wooden boat, which was sinking, Mr Pimp managed also to drown his phone.  While he was busy drowning his phone, his tender slipped its tether and bobbed off down the harbour, leaving him stranded.  When he got home, his new computer blew up. Miss P developed a stomach bug.  And I sprained my ankle on those lovely flagstones in the basement and am hobbling round now like a cartoon crone with one ankle the size of a small watermelon. But you know what? There’s something almost relieving when the outside universe so closely mirrors the chaos of the internal.  It renders it all quite funny, in a perverse sort of way.  You just set your course and steer straight ahead.  Battle on girls, battle on.

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I don’t know about you, but when I’m a tad overwhelmed by things that need resolving, my mind tends to scuttle into one small corner of the chaos and concentrate on that.  The corner du jour (du? de? Oh, who knows or cares?!) is the question of what colour to paint the kitchen island.  Sadly, we’ve had to jettison my plans for a bronze island – rapidly diminishing piles of moolah for one thing, and for another the big black steel doors who commanded me not to introduce anything else dramatic into that space.  And so it is this question of kitchen islands which comes in a rescue boat at 3 in the morning when I’m stranded on my island of wakeful lunacy and steers me off to saner waters.  Though having said that, I’m contemplating pink. Is that utterly bonkers barmy, do you think?

Plain English

So anyway, off we toddle in a few short hours.  To say we’re unprepared for the trip is an understatement – packing so far is a pile of clothes plucked distractedly from their hangers and dumped unceremoniously on a chest of drawers.  I do, however, know the whereabouts of my passport this time.  Someone asked me to let them know in a post whether I found it, and if so where.  So for the record,  I did indeed find it (or rather, the redoubtable Mr Pimp did).  At the farm.  In, of all places, a filing cabinet.  A filing cabinet!  Who in their right minds would keep a passport in such an obvious place?  Mine should have been in the glove drawer where it’s always been.

I’m hearing tales of frigid weather awaiting us in the UK and (apologies to all who’ve had a long hard Winter there) I’m relishing it with utter glee.  Snow?  Oh, yes please.  Rain?  Pure bliss.  I can’t tell you how much I love English weather, especially the rain.  This poem by Hone Tuwhare gets pretty close to explaining why

Rain

I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence
rain

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

the something
special smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground

the steady
drum-roll sound
you make
when the wind drops

But if I
should not hear
smell or feel or see
you

you would still
define me
disperse me
wash over me
rain

Hone Tuwhare 1922-2008

(found on http://likeafieldmouse.com)

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Tooraloo.

Bali bye.

Posted in Georgian houses, hallway, kitchen, Renovation, sandstone walls with tags , , , , on January 28, 2013 by pimpmybricks

Eh bien Mesdames et M’sieurs.  This was going to be a brief missive, the merest whiff of a post dashed off in haste as I winged my way out of the door and into a waiting aeroplane.  Can’t you just see my suitcase trailing chiffon scarves and feel those kisses blown from my fingertips?  (All very Isadora Duncan before the car trip, I know).

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It has been a rather grim couple of months trudging through my crappy health issues, and as well as that there have been a couple of big parental health scares.  When we arrived at my birthday a couple of weeks ago Mr Pimp, gawd luv  ‘im, suggested  we find a cheapie break and take ourselves off for a few days.  And so we set our caps at Ubud.  The plane was booked for this afternoon, the Herberts stowed, the suitcases packed, and we were more than ready to go.

Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal Temple, Ubud

Except. Except. A most exceptionable except.

My passport has gone missing!

It has vanished, seemingly, off the face of the earth. Gone off on a little sojourn of its own.  Or, more likely, it was stuffed into a box when we packed up our old house and moved to this godforsaken tin can, and then taken to the farm.  Where it now languishes in stygian gloom beneath lawd knows what boxed rubbish,  and has grown tired of calling to us.   So here we are, a half hour after we should have taken off, drowned and dismal and with the week ahead hanging off us like an extra skin.  And I am feeling like the egregiously air headed flake that I sometimes am. Bali Hi? Sadly, I don’t sink so.

This was going to be our bedroom:

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But anyway,  that a leaves me with a whole swathe of unexpected leisure time in which to show you the latest bit of progress in the house.  One, luckily, about which we are wildly enthusiastic. The pictures are a little dark because, ahem, I have a new camera (one birthday present which didn’t go wrong).  A new and, I must confess, somewhat frightening camera.  So frightening in fact that I felt quite unable to attach the flash (a flash that isn’t in-built?  New to me).  Anyway, when I get my confidence, we might all look forward to better pics.  But now,  Ladies and Gents, without any further paffing and faffing, I give you the steel doors (cue a bit of  parping fanfare):

steel door from hall into kitchen

The picture above being from the hall into the kitchen and through to the door into the pantry.  And below, into the pantry:
steel door into pantry

And from the kitchen into the dining room and hallway:

steel door from kitchen to dining room

So that being done, I shall return to my sitting and thinking and failing to believe that anyone could really miss a holiday by dint of a disappearing passport.  I mean, it’s absurd and unbelievable, isn’t it?  (Even now I keep expecting it to sidle around a chair leg and waggle itself for attention).   But actually, I have decided that we shall not sit here moping but gather ourselves up and go forth into the torrential rain and try to extract a bit of fun from this molten, silvery day.  Tally ho!

Of collapses and corners.

Posted in Derelict house, Georgian houses, Inspiration, kitchen, Renovation with tags , , , on November 3, 2011 by pimpmybricks

We’ve been in a floundering pool here, plunging up and down between hope and despair –  Mr Pimp’s salt mine having gone suddenly, shockingly and spectacularly belly up last week.  No warning, no forecast, no prognostications of doom. One minute the company was fine, the next it was gone. One minute we were trotting along, the next we were two cartoon people, the ground gone beneath our feet, frantically pedaling thin air. A thing of perception and rumour, the corporate world.  No more, really, than a house of cards.

The phones between here and there have been ringing red hot. First there was no hope, then there was some, then none again, then a tad, a sliver, a wraith.  Then none whatsoever, for ever, without hindrance or let up.  In the end the receivers were called in and that seemed so final we expected him back any minute, home again, home again, jiggedy jig.  Now he’s staying there a month.  Then, who knows – there are rumours this morning (more rumours!) that someone might buy this dead company, wind it up and set it skittering across the table top again.

So where does (what’s left of) my mind go for solace in the middle of all this lunacy?  Why, to sculleries of course!  Not sculleries as they have become in modern parlance – pantries, or laundries, or even just kitchens by another name – but those shadowed shivery hidey holes where you stuff your scullery maid or channel your own, buried under mountains of greasy pans and potato peelings and plucked feathers.  Me,  I am an inconvenient mix of the house-proud and the slattern, and love the idea of a sequestered ante-chamber where grungy goings-on can poked away.

In my trawlings I found these, and felt that funny house-love/longing/lust/acquisitiveness.  It’s those half-glassed walls that do it for me.  Secret and not secret at the same time.  Revealed and enclosed…this begins to sound a bit kinkay.

This is Plain English’s Osea Kitchen (though theirs looks to be more of a laundry.  Socks – stylists own):

And this is a house on the market in London: I am trying to decide how it would actually, practically work, to have to go into another room to wash pots etc.  Whether it would be practical, really, when it came down to it.  And whether I could do it without losing my beloved stone arch as entrance into the kitchen, complete with steel and glass pivoting door.  Picture of which I would post but for the fact that my new Mac had a fit of conniptions last night and is now withholding pictures.  It never raineth but it poureth.  Time for a stiff gin and a lie down.

The kitchen files.

Posted in kitchen on April 27, 2011 by pimpmybricks

Before we got the house and there was a specific context for all my post-training sensory lust, I stashed away vast quantities of room images on my computer.  My hard-drive is stuffed like a hoarder’s attic (or, come to think of it, like the shed here, which heaves and groans with the evidence of our door-buying compulsion).  Now we have the house and its sandstone basement, most of my kitchen lusts have had to be put to one side.  The kitchen above, for instance, I would love, but for so many reasons couldn’t have.

A few more: 

 

 

 

Kitchen.

Posted in Inspiration, kitchen, Renovation, Uncategorized with tags , , on April 16, 2011 by pimpmybricks

We’re in a rather dreary phase at the moment, with nothing much happening on the house.  Or rather, that which is happening is happening in the architect’s office and it seems to be crawling along somewhat slowly to me.  Because the house is heritage listed, the government has very kindly drawn up a 40-odd page Conservation Management Plan which has to be gone through with many fine-toothed combs.  Some of it makes sense – we are asked to repair subsidence, and floors with holes in them,  for instance.  Other stipulations stretch the credulity a little – we’re asked to place sheets of perspex in front of the fireplaces in case, silly us, we’re tempted to use them.  And to replace non-existent ceilings with lathe and plaster, no less.  Well yes, of course.

So rather stay on the points and sub-points of the CMP, my mind has wandered off to kitchens, as minds will.  Unruly thingses, mindses.

fromLes Ailments

At the moment the kitchen (as it is in my mind) is two rooms separated by a termite-ridden wooden partition which, when the concrete slab is removed, will stop about six inches short of the floor.  My hope is that Mssrs the Government will not insist on the wall being replaced or repaired, grandfather’s axeishly.  I mentioned this idea to one architect, who did a great deal of tooth sucking and then said “yes, well, of course the historical significance of the wall will have to be established”.  Evidently, nothing can be taken for granted.  Whether we’ll be allowed indoor bathrooms is marginally debatable – there is a vein of zealotry which runs through certain of the heritage individuals which would have us all pee in a bucket in the un-garden.

But anyway.

In a somewhat lumpy, dis-jointed panorama, the present kitchen goes something like this:

then panning seamlessly to the left, there is this:

kitchen east wall

and this is the offending partition which, in theory, will be summarily removed without right of petition:

On the other side of said partition there is this smaller, cellarish room.  Not so big but positively heaving with sandstone all waiting for the tap of my trusty scraper:

 The architect has proposed this as a pantry.  I’m all in favour of pantries, but frankly we don’t have that many jars of jam, so I counter-propose the bit beyond the arch at the end as pantry and wine cellar and the rest as kitchen.  That way,  this other arch will be the entry into the kitchen.  Otherwise it will be lost, compromised by the small shanty town of partitions and flush doors.  And I do like the idea of lining up the arches:

Quite what the kitchen will look like is still unclear.  In our present house the kitchen is part of a large, open-plan room and is therefore white and to some extent deliberately invisible. The new kitchen will be a discrete room, more or less, and can therefore be more kitcheny, more visible.

Victor Gabriel Gilbert

 The architect is keen on sleek and modern, and it could look good with the sandstone, but I’m finding myself attracted to the unfitted at the moment.

Langton Hall 1830s

This is a house in Brighton, and I have no idea whose it is or where I got it from, but I like it:

 

 What currently flutters my flag is Plain English’s Osea. The fact that they only sell within the EU and their prices start at the cost of a small sports car (of which I am devilish fond) – all that is a mere bagatelle. 

Plain English Osea