Thursday, August 11, 2016

BEFORE AND AFTER SERIES: The Farmhouse Kitchen


The FARMHOUSE KITCHEN. . .Where do I start? . .Maybe by saying it is the one kitchen that I simply love to cook in over all the other homes that I've owned. . .Actually, it's the first kitchen I've designed where we were starting from scratch. . .an almost empty room. . .because the kitchen was in a different place when we moved in. . .



Only one little tiny window. . .and it was such a small room. . .We could have opened it up to the keeping room, but I couldn't visualize the kitchen anywhere but in line with the keeping room area. . .And, according to several others who had been in the kitchen of the 30s-40s, we were placing it back to the original location once it was moved inside the house. . .Before that, the kitchen had been outside. . .just like on the old plantations. . .


Above is a view of the area in the 'new room' where the cabinets would eventually go. . .Until we could start on the kitchen, I cooked for almost a year here. . .What a mess, huh?


When I began sketching the FARMHOUSE KITCHEN, I knew exactly what I wanted. . .No pre-fab cabinets for me! . .In fact, I didn't care if each section looked a little different. . .as if it had been built over time. . .I wanted modern conveniences hidden. . .and big, wide counter tops to hold the large crocks for storage. . .I wanted a big window to flood the room with light. . .and an island counter for prep work, low enough that my arms didn't get tired reaching up. . .I'm barely 5'4" tall and sometimes it's a stretch for me on regular cabinets. . .And of course, it all had to look VINTAGE. . .

I am so blessed in many ways to have John. . .Among his many talents, he is an awesome carpenter, as you've seen many times before. . .He also understands exactly where I'm going with my ideas. . .All I gave him was the little sketch above and here's how he interpreted it. . .

Could it be more accurate? . . I don't think so. . .He got it right all the way down to a few doors being a little different. . .Also, look at the false feet on the floor-- making them appear as individual cabinets. . .The actual cabinet bottom is recessed back and painted black so that you don't see it. . .Isn't he clever? . .Notice that the sink area juts out a little, too, and not in a straight line. . .We had to do that in order to get the vintage farmhouse sink in. . .Older sinks are much larger than the new ones we found out. . .But, I think it adds to the appearance I was trying to achieve. . .

At times John had to get into some mighty awkward positions. . .
I'd document them as often as he'd let me. . .(grin)


The countertops were his suggestion. . .When we attached the KEEPING ROOM addition to the existing roof, the carpenters found the original cypress decking that was more than likely milled right here on this farm. . .Virgin timber. . .The boards were 10" wide and beautiful. . .We had to show them off somewhere. . .So John took them and planed them down, spending hours sanding and enjoying the richness of the wood. . .More than once he called me to his shop. . ."Look at this! You'll never find wood like this again" and all the time 'lovingly' running his hand over it. . .a true carpenter.


For the work island, I found the bottom of an old Hoosier at a junk store--not a flea market--strictly junk. . .The doors were missing but the top was in fairly good shape. . .John did his magic on it. . .Can you tell what's underneath?


I LOVE the porcelain top. . .Anything messy wipes up easily. . .It also serves as a giant hot pad for dishes right out of the oven. . .The height is perfect for me. . .You can see how much shorter it is.

We found the 1919 vintage store bin in Tennessee. . .It just happened that the width was the same as the work island. . .John wanted to sand it down and paint it. . .PAINT IT? . . Not on your life!!!!!

I did allow him to paint the vintage metal ceiling tiles we put on the wall behind the stove for easier clean-up. . .






Now let's play a game. . .How many hiding places can you pick out in this photo? 


For you who have followed this blog for several years, it shouldn't be hard. . .
I've disclosed them before. . .

Dishwasher. . .

Coffee Pot. . .

Microwave. . .

Inside the 1919 store bin is the trash can. . .
The large crocks on the counter serve as 'upper cabinets'. . .
And on the opposite wall. . .

An old barn door hides the fridge.

We have fun with people trying to figure out where everything is located.
My brother says nothing is as it seems in OUR FARMHOUSE. . .and HE'S RIGHT!


The result of years of much hard work. . .so worth the effort. . .
We both LOVE our FARMHOUSE KITCHEN!!
 It has MODERN CONVENIENCES. . .VINTAGE STYLE. . .PLAIN AND SIMPLE
Who says you can't make a new kitchen look old anyway?

NOT US!!!!!

 



Friday, August 5, 2016

PUBLISHED!!!!



Hi Everyone. . .I thought I'd have a post for the BEFORE AND AFTER SERIES this week but life has not cooperated. . .Instead I'll take this time to toot my own horn a little. . .We're in the Summer Issue of DELTA CROSSROADS MAGAZINE. . .YES. . .We've been featured in DELTA CROSSROADS a few times before. . .but never with my own BY-LINE. .  .
Remember the DELTA FOLK ART BOTTLE TREES I shared with you? . .Well. . .the editor of DELTA CROSSROADS contacted me several months ago, asking to include the story and photos in the Summer Issue. . .Of course, I said. . ."YES!!!!". . .First time I've had a published article. . .and with very little effort. . .Nancy copied the post and I sent her my unedited photos. . .Nothing simpler. . .
Read the entire magazine at:
The BOTTLE TREE article begins on PAGE 106. . .
just in case you'd like to read it again. . .(grin). . .

I've noticed a BOTTLE TREE or two going up around here since the post and magazine article. . .We, too, are 'building' our own BOTTLE TREE for the shotgun houses. . .I'll share a tutorial on our project soon at the DUNCAN FARMSTEAD . . .We have a few more touches to add first. . .don't you think?

Have a SAFE AND HAPPY WEEKEND, EVERYONE. . .
See you NEXT WEEK. . .



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

BEFORE AND AFTER SERIES: The Farmhouse Keeping Room


Definition of KEEPING ROOM:  a common room (as in a colonial house)
usually used for multiple purposes
Looking at these before photos, it still amazes me how well our vision for THE COUNTRY FARM HOME came to life. . .Out of all the rooms,  the KEEPING ROOM and KITCHEN are probably the most photographed and the place that catches everyone's attention. . .Most of our visitors come to the back door, so it's these two areas they see first. . .I wanted it to be dramatic but welcoming. . .and honestly I had no idea it would come together so well. . .even though it took years to accomplish. . .Lots of years. . .
In the beginning, I only knew I wanted a huge room and open space. . .lots of light streaming in. . .a big walk-in fireplace for our fire cooking. . .the look of an old farmhouse. . .The rest sort of. . .how should I put it? . ."EVOLVED". . .as we added one layer onto another. . .and as we shopped Antique Malls finding items we could incorporate into the rooms. . .We armed ourselves with a tape measure, scratch pad, pencil and camera no matter where we went. . .More than once it paid off. . .

"This wasn't like building a new house. It was like putting a puzzle together."
A puzzle it was. . .especially the keeping room. . .Before the renovation, it looked something like this from the backdoor. . .
My first goal was to take down walls, take out the bath, and enlarge the room. . .We only added ten feet to the length but it sure made all the difference. . .You can see the addition from the outside at:  THIS OLD FARM HOUSE

As we look toward the fireplace,  the ten foot addition is obvious--all new materials. . .If the walls were still up, I'd be standing in the bathroom taking this photo.
John thought I was a little crazy at first with my plan. . .but I had a vision. . .I could see it finished in my mind's eye. . .
Once the walls were painted the same cream color as the living room ceiling, John began installing the pine floor and staining it to look vintage. . .Looks old, doesn't it?. .The boards were extra wide and John laid them very randomly, which helped make them look original to the farmhouse. . .



At this point, I knew we needed a lot of cupboards on that long, blank wall opposite the windows. . .We didn't want them to look new. . .We wanted them to look as if they had been a part of the house for decades. . .We hunted and hunted. . .checking Antique Malls and Flea Markets in Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. . .Nothing seemed to work. . .John began to sketch out a plan for building the cupboards himself. . .but there were too many other projects to finish before he could begin.
Then one day we visited our friend in Dyersburg, Tennessee, who happened to own an Antique Mall. . .I was telling Bill what a hard time we were having finding anything for that wall. . ."Come back here with me" as he led us to the storage room. . .There we found the 1898 cupboard. . .and a quick search turned up the 1936 Baker's cabinet, too. . .But it still wasn't enough. . .John suggested he build a copy of the 1898 cupboard and place the 1936 cabinet in the center. . .We did the math, only to find that we were still short by about 20".  I put my thinking cap on and asked if he would build an open shelf unit to display the cast iron pots. . .It would put them close at hand for our open hearth cooking. . .John grinned. . .We purchase the two antique pieces that day. . .


I did have John replace the open shelf of the 1898 cupboard with a drawer in the new one. . .He went a step further and lined the drawers with cedar for storing my vintage linens. . .
Surprisingly, the addition of the wall of cupboards made the room look larger. . .For Christmas that year, John crafted the FARMHOUSE TABLE from Native Cypress. . .and about that time, I happened upon a great find at a Goodwill Store. . .the Windsor chairs. . .stained in oak. . .We painted them black. . .
It was all coming together. . .BUT. . .I wasn't satisfied. . .not enough visual impact. . .not enough definition between the kitchen area and the keeping room. . .My thoughts went back to my years of working at Colonial Williamsburg and the checkerboard floor cloths often used to help define different areas. . .Why not paint a checkerboard on the floor below the table?

It was hard to put paint on that beautiful floor. . .but John said we could always sand it down and start over if we didn't like the checkerboard look. . .That winter we got underway. . .


Of course, once it was finished, we loved it! . .What a focal point for the room!!!!
Now, I could decorate!!
Let's start at the backdoor again. . .

 







 










A VISION. . .Lots of TIME. . .Oodles of PATIENCE. . .and a TALENTED CARPENTER. . .
our Formula for SUCCESS!!!!!
Don't we make a great pair?




Monday, July 11, 2016

Extra Large Rag Rug Loom or Extensions Available at Our Old Country Store





GOOD NEWS!!!!
Many have asked for a larger Rag Rug Loom,
so John has designed a big one. . .

The RAG RUG LOOM is 62" long,
and will make a Rag Rug approximately 25" X 60"

or

If you already own a set of John's looms,
order his EXTENSION KIT.
The side bars will fit any of his looms.

For more information:








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