Monday, 1 March 2010

The heart of the home

My kitchen
When I was pregnant with my son we were living in London

I wanted to move back to Wales to have my babies so they could have the green and outdoorsy upbringing that my husband and I had had growing up

As I was pregnant, changing jobs, moving house and city all at the same time we decided to buy a new house and then when we got settled and the baby was born spend our time looking for an older house with period features
We bought the house before it was built and had no real choice in the kitchen or bathroom (we had a choice between three or four really horrible kitchens) but we didn't really care as we intended to move within a year

Over twelve years later we are still here

This is why

my daughter, my sis, my nephew and his 'girlfriend' and my golden retriever's bottom yesterday

our home is in the middle of a forest and our house is two doors from a gate that leads into the forest

the house you can just make out in the background is next door but one to mine

We have extended, knocked down walls, added oak flooring, panelling to most of the walls in the house to give it the kind of character we like

the kitchen which was there was a limed oak effect plastic covered chipboard which I never bothered taking a photograph of

What we wanted was a simple, painted kitchen with modern appliances

We wanted the kitchen to look as though it was an old one we had 'tarted up'

We couldn't find what we wanted so drew it ourselves and had a carpenter make it for us about five years ago

we then had to find someone to paint it for us - we chose Farrow and Ball paint in White Tie oil eggshell for the unit and the same colour in Estate Emulsion for the walls

where the fridge ends there was a wall to a utility room which we had removed to make the kitchen bigger - the utility was a real dumping ground and a waste of good space

I really didn't want wall units as the kitchen is not a really big space but on the back wall there is a boiler so I had this concealed by a long cupboard with a matching one on the other side. Smaller cupboards and an open shelving unit kind of give it the feel of a dresser

on the long wall opposite the fridge we hung an antique French game shelf to store my collection of jugs

we had subway tiles in two shades of off white behind the sink and on the window sill and then beadboard put all around the walls to just a foot or so about the worksurface

On one wall we had beadboard put all the way to the ceiling so we could put a notice board and the children's pictures on it

we eat family meals at the dining table but my children have breakfast and do their homework here

I found the bench and the French game shelf at an antique shop in London but had gone there on a day trip on a bus and couldn't get them home

where there's a will there's a way

I bought them and they agreed to keep them for me until a few weeks later my sis and her husband were passing through London on the way to the Cotswolds for the weekend - they picked them up for us and met us in the Cotwolds - we drove there after work, had a quick drink with them then drove back

we got home around 1.30am and went to work the next day

I never let logistics get in the way if I want something!

Lucky me for having a husband who is willing to go with the flow!

as you can see I like hearts (padded, slate, twigs, heart shaped stones, Welsh love spoons..)

And finally the crap corner

I don't trust anyone who doesn't have a crap pile in their kitchen!


  1. Wow Samantha I love everything about it from the beautiful shade of white you picked to your "crap" corner! And yes I have several crap corners! I also love that you found several of your pieces in London and then had to figure out how to get them back home!

    Those heart shaped stones, and Welsh love spoons (I've not heard of those before) are so pretty! What a lovely well thought out kitchen which is warm and inviting! And with your house being situated in such a beautiful location, I wouldn't want to move either! Thanks so much for showing us more of your gorgeous home! Love it!

    Kat :)

  2. Samantha ~ your home is what my dreams are made of!! Your home is exactly like th homes I love in UK Country Homes & Interiors Mag, it is stunning!! I LOVE your kitchen ~ every tiny bit of it!! I love the stories behind each part, it is perfect!! I think I will have to send a little linen heart your way seeing how much you love them:) I have to go back through your post again now and just drool!! Even your crap corner is gorgeous!! Thank you for sharing more of your beautiful home! (love the photo of your Lily, your sister, her son and his 'girlfriend' - oh so cute)!!! ~ Tina XX

  3. Your kitchen is so cute Samantha, you have done a wonderful job giving it character and it has a wonderful lived in look. Just beautiful! I love your bench tops and bead board, we are going to make some changes to our kitchen and it will include both!
    Nellie xx

  4. Your house is soooo gorgeous. I'm going to look through your whole blog now! I love that sink, it is exactly what we are looking for. Did you put it in yourself? Where did you find it?

  5. your home is gorgeous! i was in england for about a was beautiful. i'm glad i'm not the only one with a crap corner in my kitchen;0)

  6. I think you have just shown me my dream kitchen!! I love it - so much character and warmth - exactly the look I'd like to somehow achieve in our 'bare' kitchen. Love your shelf with the jugs and hanging hearts and the little bench nook. I'm bookmarking this post for future inspiration - gorgeous!!! x

  7. Your kitchen is lovely. So is the thought of living in a charming woods in England! Funny you mention the piles of crap in the kitchen. That is my biggest pet peeve. We have a counter that gets my purse, the mail, every odd and end and it's just a mess all the time. I hate it! What to do;)

  8. Ohhh its such a pretty kitchen!!! I love it! I love the countertops...I wish we would have gone with something like that. AND that bench you have in the breakfast nook...drooling!!! :)

  9. Thank you all so much for your lovely comments. We are pleased with how our kitchen especially given the limitations with the shape of the space.

    Karli - the sink is made by a company called Astracast and I simply chose it from a catalogue of Belfast sinks. I love it as it's really deep and you can wash the big pans in it! Or hide a lot of smaller dirty ones!

    I know I've gone a bit overboard with hearts but I can't help it - I'm just drawn to them - they're all over the house.

    Tina - your offer to make me a heart is just so kind and the more I get to know about you it's so typical of you!

    Jana - I'm glad you like my bench - I love it too and I forgot to mention that the seat lifts up and holds all my daughter's craft supplies.

    Kat - the stones have been found by my children and they've given them to me with pride so they are really special to me. Love spoons are a Welsh tradition and go back to the 16th century when they were given as a token of love. They usually have quite ornate carvings which symbolise things eg. heart = love, bell = wedding etc. I don't like the ornate ones but love these ones as they are really simple (much like me!).

    I'm also really glad that so many have confessed to having a crap corner. I don't feel so bad now that I know I'm not the only one!

  10. I forgot to mention that our floor tiles are slate and they are the worst thing I have ever bought. Black tiles with a blonde dog? What was I thinking. Everything you ever drop on slate is lighter than it so it never looks clean. For anyone who is considering a slate floor take my advice - don't do it! It only looks clean for about 5 mins and you end up glaring at whoever has taken the first step on it and dirtied it up again! Go for limestone is my advice - wish I had!

  11. Oh how I love your warm and inviting kitchen! I love your little hearts and the fact that you have a "crap corner":) That made my day! We have a "crap basket" in our kitchen...definitely something that is so necessary. I try to organize it every so often, but it just simply piles up again in a matter of hours.
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful home.


  12. Your kitchen is beautiful, Sam!! I love it. Funny aside: I was confused as I was reading, because I thought - well, if this is a builder-grade kitchen looks like in Wales, we'll be moving there soon! :) Heehee. You've done a wonderful job, dear. It's beautiful.


  13. SO...missy, I totally didn't notice that you have the exact sink I'm looking for!! I LOVE FARMHOUSE SINKS WITH THE FULL APRON! haha...I love it!

  14. Thanks for the link to this post Samantha, your kitchen looks fantastic and the beadboard advice is exactly what I needed. And how funny - we have black slate too, as well as a blonde labrador, so I hear your pain! We did start to tear it up in the laundry, but the previous owners must have concreted it in, that stuff doesn't come off without a fight. Love your kitchen, and I have a little confession - my crap corner is huge at the moment! K xx

  15. I LOVE your kitchen!!
    I want my kitchen to look like yours.
    LOVE that sink.

  16. What a great kitchen! Your cabinets are exactly what I want some day.

  17. Just snooping through your blog and wanted to tell you that I "heart" your kitchen. It's perfect!!! Love the cabinetry and open shelving. It has a real cottage charm!
    xo ~M

  18. Your "crap corner" just MADE MY DAY. Thank you! :D I feel so much better now and ready to tackle the world. Bless you and your sweet Welsh home!

  19. The "crap corner" made me laugh. I am totally trustworthy! I even have several of those corners in some rooms.


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