The Quest for My Dream Country Kitchen (and How It Has Taken 61 Years to Get There)

So here I sit on the homestead.

Brief recap for any new readers out there – my grandparents bought this house (new) in 1951.  My mom grew up here.  When her parents died, she inherited the house.  I grew up here.  When my mom died, Bob and I bought the house from my Dad.  Lily is growing up here.

Moving into your childhood home has had its ups and downs.  There are the memories, the happy times, the spots around the house and the property that make me smile as I watch Lily discover and learn and grow.

There are also the downsides… most notably taking over a house that needs as much TLC as we can muster. Disrepair, faded, rotted, aged, rambling, overgrown – those words can all be applied to various parts of the house and land.  Fortunately, from the day we moved in, Bob has exhibited this Almanzo-like quality and has skillfully and tirelessly worked over the past 7 years to bring the property back to life.  Yes, yes, I have helped too.  But he has by far done the brunt of the work.

The one thing that we have always dreamed of was to have a new kitchen.  A big, bright, open, modern-but-country, inviting kitchen.  There were many times when this dream seemed too elusive, too out of reach.  But we continued saving our pennies – years and years and years of saving.  As “The Kitchen Fund” grew, we eventually started to believe that it might actually become a reality.  We started to plan and lay things out.  Just last month, the work began and continues to plow onward.

Our plan is multifaceted and will be a long process.  It includes a new addition on the back of the house – this will include a basement (one that does NOT leak, smell like mildew or  resemble a dungeon – can you IMAGINE?!), the kitchen and a dining room.  Our current kitchen will eventually be turned into a small laundry/mud room.  Future plans also include a deck off the back of the house.

Bob will be doing much of the work on this project-to-end-all-projects.  This includes the demo, excavating, electric, plumbing and other randomness that I am probably forgetting.  We hired a contractor friend to lay the stone, build the shell, etc to help move the project along.

The enormous crater currently in my backyard is exciting me that the project is really underway – but I am having trouble wrapping my brain around what the final finished project will actually look like.

I figure posting updates on here will serve as a great record for us to look back on someday and remind us of how everything came to be.

So let’s kick this one off with some pictures of the kitchen (or parts of it) throughout the years.

Are you ready?

Hold my hand.

Here we go!

1951 – My grandparents bought this house 2 years after it had been built.  This picture is the original walkway to the kitchen door.  It looks somewhat similar to this today – different windows and siding, etc but same basic structure.

house

1958 – A birthday party of some sort in the kitchen.  For my mom, perhaps?  See those little knick knack shelves behind the table?  Look for them in future pictures!

kitchen party

1959 – My mom received a full cowgirl costume for her 3rd birthday.  She is standing directly underneath the knick knack shelves mentioned above. Look to the right – that there is an ICE BOX!  :)

cowgirl

1975 – My grandmom apparently hosted the Thanksgiving dinner this year.  Here she is in the kitchen preparing the feast. Pictures below feature my parents (who were dating and in college at the time) looking all angsty and young-adult-y.  My neighbors are at the table with them (and yes, they are still my neighbors!).  This must have been the “kiddie” table and the adults ate in the dining room.

p.s. there are those shelves again!

kitchen

And so the years went by…

And the house endured my brother, sister and I throughout our growing up years.  Things fell by the wayside, money ran out for upkeep.  My dad did try to get a handle on things but a brilliant salesman he is, a talented handyman he is not (sorry, Dad).

I’m pretty embarrassed to even show these pictures.  But I have to show them to you for you to appreciate how very far we have come.

2004 – The year after my mom died.  The house pretty much hit the shits.  It smelled, it was crumbling and I’m pretty sure several unidentified species of mold were lurking in various corners.

This was the height of my dad’s Bachelor Pad living.  Note the Fry Daddy on the counter.  That thing was used almost nightly.

old kitchen

old kitchen

old kitchen

2005 – The eagles, er, rather Devon and Bob have landed.  Days, weeks, months working literally sun up to sun down (or after work to bed time on weekdays) cleaning, gutting, replacing, updating every.single.room. The kitchen was one of our first rooms to attack.

Watch as it slowly comes into focus.

Look for those shelves!

kitchen

kitchen

kitchen

2012 – And these pictures all bring us to today.  The present.  Here are a few pics of our very lived-in kitchen right before demo began for the new kitchen.

Yes, those are more Lock&Lock containers waiting to be washed by the sink.  You already know I have a L&L obsession.  Don’t hold that against me.

p.s. Large white appliance on counter = bread maker.  NOT Fry Daddy.  Bread maker.

before kitchen

before kitchen

before kitchen

So that sums up 61 years of kitchen here on the homestead.

Construction got underway last week and I have been snapping pics as things have progressed.  Look for updates and follow along with us!

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  • Marnie

    Nice pic of your neighbors!!!

    • Anonymous

      Heeeeeee! You should SEE all off the goodies I unearthed over here – lots of pics of your fam!

  • Sheri grennille

    the pictures are great. we’ve been in our house for 21 years and the kitchen was one of our first tasks. it could use a new new countertop and we’ve replaced the dishwasher and fridge a second (or third or fourth in the case of the dw) time. but i love the space since we made it and you’ll love your all the more for the work and planning.

    • Anonymous

      Couldn’t agree more! It’s been really interesting to watch the construction so far – can’t wait to see the end result!