I love old houses. Our house was built in 1929, there is a lot of charm. However, the current kitchen was built decades later, probably during the 1960s. The cabinets were white and neutral when we moved in, so I was never in a rush to put any time into changing them. But I love to transform my surroundings to fit my style. And I like to make a kitchen look charming and inviting. So, I knew I would make some changes in the kitchen when It came to the right time. Well, that time has arrived!
Kitchens Are The Hearts Of Our Homes
The kitchen is an important room in a house. A lot of living happens in the kitchen, certainly for me, as the homemaker of the household. I am in the kitchen throughout the day cooking, cleaning, and prepping for the next day’s meals. Along with those practical duties, the kitchen inevitably is where the teaching, counseling emotional upheavals, and settling sibling squabbles takes place, as well. I am sure a lot of you can relate to this!
The kitchen is where the nourishing and nurturing happens in my home and I am guessing in most of your homes, as well. That is a one reason many of us feel it is such an important room to improve and decorate.
When I recently read a blog post on Apartment Therapy on the History of American Kitchens, It inspired me. Through that post I learned some of the steps between the old farmhouse kitchen, and the conveniences we enjoy in our modern times. I had never known how those changes had taken place.
That blog post went on to quote an excerpt from the book, “The Kitchen” by Jon Ota:
“People lived in one-room houses and the only place where there was light at night and warmth was in the kitchen — everybody had to be in the kitchen and they were together,” Ota explains. “The term ‘heart of the home’ would come from the fact that it’s a place where people cook, people eat, they get nurtured and nourished.”
The Changing Role Of The Kitchen
The space in my house, where the original kitchen stood, is now our dining room. The current kitchen was built onto the back, right behind the dining room. It is a very tiny galley kitchen built, seemingly, as an afterthought. Maybe by people who didn’t cook much?!
The original kitchen would have been built during a time when kitchens were becoming less important to people. They got pushed to the back of a house. Kitchens, during the earlier part of the 1900s were made smaller. Large farmhouse kitchens became unnecessary.
It is funny, with that in mind, because the original kitchen space was far larger than our current one. Our house was built during the time when kitchens were shrinking.
Prior to the early 1900s, all families had a kitchen with a wood-burning stove on which they did their cooking. This would have also helped to heat the rest of the house. Heat during the colder months would have been one of the reasons for the kitchen being the central room in a home. Families would have spent more time there for warmth and firelight, at night.
There was another reason, people, particularly homemakers, needed the kitchen to be accessible. Most of the household tasks, from cooking and baking, to laundry wash day would have taken place in that room.
Why Did The Family Kitchen Change?
According to the blog post mentioned above, the modernization of the kitchen was under way by the 1920s. By that time running water was in most towns and cities. Gas was introduced, so there was an end to keeping the fire going in the stove. The time and effort spent in hauling wood and coal were eliminated.
Hot water heaters were connected to stoves. Heating of water for cooking, cleaning, and bathing became easier.
Refrigeration was more common, so homemakers didn’t have to spend so much time with preservation methods.
Consequently, the kitchen was more efficient and stream-lined. The tasks done in it did not take as much of a homemaker’s time. There was no need for the kitchen to be the hub of the home any longer.
Women had time to focus more of their attention on other things, and kitchens became smaller. Also, kitchens started to be built away from the center of a home.
Why Does It Matter?
- The kitchen has become a greater focus again. It is the space that brings people together through good food and fellowship.
- Many people spend a lot of time in the kitchen again, these days. Home-cooked meals and attention to ingredients are important to a lot of families.
- Our surroundings can affect our outlook in life. We will dread the work if it has to be done in a place we don’t like. So we should put in the effort and make a kitchen look like our style.
First Step To Make A Kitchen Look Better
As mentioned earlier, the outside of my kitchen cabinets were already painted when we moved into our house. The inside of the cabinets are plain wood.
The cabinets are not the best quality. But we are living on a really tight budget, so I won’t be able to make any big changes for the foreseeable future. In that case I have turned to the most affordable way to freshen up any room, paint.
I like the ease of chalk paint, so I decided to mix up my own. I used this recipe for homemade chalk paint:
- 2 Tbsp. calcium carbonate
- 1 Tbsp. water
- 1 cup latex paint- I used the color White Wisp from Benjamin Moore.
- disposable plastic cup
- wooden stir stick
- measuring spoon -(used just for paint)
- measuring cup -(used just for paint)
- Measure the 2 Tbsp. calcium carbonate into the disposable cup, followed by the 1 Tbsp. water.
- Stir well to remove all lumps.
- Add the latex paint and stir all ingredients together.
My Kitchen Before
I wanted a section of my kitchen to have some open shelves, so my husband removed two of the upper cabinet doors for me. The inside of this section had been painted, at some point in its history.
It is my plan to keep this section open so that the dishes stacked inside it are visible. That is a feature that is almost always in kitchens that I find to be charming.
After removing the dishes from the cabinet, I got to work painting the inside walls of the cabinet. I also painted the underside of the shelves, since they are visible from below, as I look up at them.
I painted one coat, since there was already a coat of white paint there, the paint covered that up very well.
My homemade chalk paint made me happy, it was easy to mix up, and it brushed onto my surface smoothly. It was very easy to work with.
My kitchen project will take weeks or months to finish, as far as I can see. Nevertheless, I restacked my dishes on the shelves. I had fun organizing them to look pleasant to me. My kitchen is far from finished, but I can enjoy it along the way!
Although this has been a single small step to make a kitchen look charming and inviting, it has made a huge difference to me. I feel really inspired and motivated to press on and continue making improvements. I have more coming in the future to show you, make sure you check back to see how my kitchen turns out, this has only been the beginning!
Thanks for stopping by,
What are some ways you can think of to make a kitchen charming and inviting? Do you have tips for changes on a budget? Let me know down in the comments!