Thursday, March 23, 2017

Blues In My Kitchen

When I first saw the real estate picture of the kitchen in this 1935 cottage, something about it whispered,

"You could be so content here."

It was narrow but I've always loved galley kitchens. 

Here is the listing photo:

My heart did sink at the black appliances, but they could be replaced with white ones eventually. 

I knew the first thing I would do would be to take down the curtains.

That done, the windows let in the morning sunshine, especially after RH and our son discovered hinges at the top of the big one outside that let them open it up to clean the inside section too.

Plants flourish in this window. Small pots of herbs can go there next winter.

We won't be doing any kitchen renovation here, had enough of that during the five month kitchen build at our old house.

But the cabinets in this small kitchen soon filled up, even with us bringing in two cabinets of our own.

I kept looking at that blank wall in the kitchen and turned to Pinterest for inspiration.

RH and his brother took it from there and built beautiful open shelves with plate grooves and a stainless steel rod to hold my pots and pans.

I don't mean they went out and bought shelving and corbels at Home Depot, not at those prices. They made every shelf and corbel themselves.

Instant space in my cupboards!

And a place to display the old pieces of Blue Willow my parents found for me in a church thrift store many decades ago.

Odds and ends of Blue Willow that I've ignored in recent years because blues were no longer in my kitchen or dining room color scheme. All brought out when unpacking and now I'm in love with Blue Willow again.

How does that happen? It's not as if Blue Willow is taking the blogging world by storm. Have you ever gone back to a first love?

We hung the heavy 1800s Staffordshire Blue Willow platter, our first good antique purchased as newlyweds, over the microwave.

Under it are treasured photos of my maternal grandfather in his butcher shop and my father, an excellent cook.

There were already two old blue and white flower pots at the sink.

A little blue near the coffee pot.

And blues in my wedding china, Copeland-Spode Blue Bird.

Now blues reign in my kitchen!

But kitchens are for cooking and what I like best to cook are the old Southern recipes.

I confess that I love fried chicken, potato salad, chicken salad, tomato aspic, poundcake, caramel cake, the food my mother and aunts used to make, the kind of food I saw women bring to countless Dinner on the Grounds at church in my youth.

Even though I have French cookbooks, Italian cookbooks, etc., it is the old ones from the USA that I turn to over and over again. Like Eugene Walter's American Cooking: Southern Style above and James Beard: Delights and Prejudices, below.

All of James Beard's cookbooks are favorites of mine. I believe he was one of the best cooking teachers there ever was. He had the heart of a teacher.

And like me, he preferred electric stoves to gas ranges, unusual for a chef.

Someday I hope to replace this black stove with a white one.

Our son installed a pretty white Bosc dishwasher before we moved in and this last week RH bought me a white fridge! Not an impulse buy, the old fridge had issues--for one thing, no water in the door and too small for a Britt pitcher inside so we were buying three or four cases of water bottles a week.

Two down, one to go!

That's my kitchen, folks. I love it so much! It is a cheerful place to cook.

Thank you so very much for visiting me!

Want to know what I think about you all? Just read the message on this sweet new tea towel my future daughter-in-law gave me...

That's you, and you, and you!

P.S. Now I can bring back in the ugly black electric can opener, the dish drainers, the Kleenex box, the calendar--those things that would never be caught dead in a blogger's camera lens.

I'm giving you fair warning as of now though, my friends, they'll probably show up in my kitchen posts from now on. You bloggers work way too hard! 


  1. Oh- I just love how happy and lovely your new kitchen is, Dewena. It is absolutely perfect. I love big windows in a kitchen and would sacrifice cupboard space to have windows. I love it when morning light filters in and kisses me good morning.

    Your blue and white is very pretty. That was one of my first loves, too, although I gave it to my daughter a few years back. I think she keeps it pretty well packed away but at least I know she has it.

    Have a wonderful upcoming weekend- xo Diana

  2. LOLOL!!!
    i'm in love with it all!
    the kitchen the FRIDGE (YAYYY!) the window the food the shelves the pans the plants the dishes and the cook!
    and you can NEVER go wrong with blue and white in my book!
    it's lovely in every way. have a wonderful wonderful weekend! (and yes. google. I know I said wonderful twice. you don't have to underline it! I meant every word!)xo♥

  3. Dewena, I like the open window look too. I do not know what I will do if we ever move back to town...I am so use to not covering my windows here. I like all the blue touches. The plant in the blue/white pot with the plant by the sink. So pretty. I like white kitchen too. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

  4. Your new kitchen is beautiful! I love blue and white too.

  5. Dewena, I was so happy to see blues in your kitchen. I also have blues in my kitchen, and it really makes a charming kitchen. I think you're going to love it. Your Blue Willow dishes are pretty, and also the plates on the wall and your flower pot by the sink. Doesn't it give such a pop of color? You even have a blue Southern cook book! Now, I'm really going to notice your kitchen posts with all that blue in the kitchen.....wonderful!

    love, ~Sheri

  6. Blue is a neutral in my book, so you can't really go wrong with it. I have it throughout our home too. LOVE blue and white, and it looks great with green too, like your plant and your cast iron pot. Almost bought a green cast iron pot like yours but guess what, mine's blue. lol Not your typical royal blue cast iron, but a deep dark navy blue. Recent gift from my husband. Okay, so I love blue too, and I love galley kitchens, and I've never really cooked on a gas range so I guess I'd have to say I prefer electric too. Jinx. ;) Everything looks beautiful, Dewena, and as usual it all says HOME. Your posts are filled with joy, and I'm so happy to see you enjoying your new home.

  7. What a pretty, light-filled space that's sure to inspire your kitchen time. I love blue and white, too, and admire your Blue Willow dishes a lot!
    Your last lines made me laugh, and nod my head understandingly.

  8. Dewena, the gentle sunlight streaming into your cozy, cottage kitchen in that first pic is perfectly dreamy! Your blue and white collection of china, crockery and even dishcloths(!), so beautifully complements the soft, butter yellow walls that surround it.

    The craftsmanship of R.H. and his brother yielded both pretty and practical results, making your charming kitchen the ultimate work space for the resident chef - that would be you - since you are also the designer of this household!

    Enjoy the ambiance, my friend: your blue and white delight, the decorative nod to nostalgia, and the mementos of the fabulous male cooks in your family, all providing sweet inspiration for culinary flair, which you have so lovingly inherited!


  9. Your home is just so HAPPY to see! Love it! We have the same little Shamrock plant. ;) Happy. Happy. Happy. for you, Deweena! blessings ~ tanna

  10. Oh that first picture with the light shining through the window and those gorgeous curtains makes me smile. I can feel the warmth in the room right through my screen. And I'm not much of a chef, but I totally prefer an electric stove. I thought I would hate it when I had to give up my gas version, but I actually like it much better!

  11. I love your kitchen, Dewena! It is so full of personality - and blue and white are one of my favorite color combinations. Your wedding china is gorgeous. I went and looked it up on eBay - thought maybe I'd indulge and buy a set of four plates since I was really drawn to that pattern. Someone was selling a set of 3 plates. Darn! The other listings were all for individual plates and the prices were too high. Oh well, I don't NEED these dishes anyway. ;-)

    I was surprised to hear you prefer an electric stove over a gas one. You're the first cook I've heard say that! Growing up, we had an electric stove and my mom complained about that thing all the time. I agree - I think it's much easier to control the heat with a gas stove. Oh well, I know everyone is different. As long as we're turning out good food, that's all that counts, right?

    How talented your men are for building those shelves! I love how you can hang your pots and pans underneath the shelf. Very clever.

  12. So beautiful. I love the kitchen.

  13. LOL Dewena! I show pictures of my calendar all the time. Who gives a hoot! ;)

    Your kitchen is absolutely wonderful! I'm so amazed at the shelving your husband and son made. Ingenious! That first picture is magazine worthy, my friend. I'm so glad you love it. I believe a happy kitchen makes a happy cook ;)

    And now I need to shove some food in my face. You made me hungry!


  14. Love your kitchen with all of its blues, the sunlight, your new shelving. Your post just shouts 'happy'. Enjoy.

    Love & hugs & have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady

  15. Oh, Dewena, your kitchen is lovely and homey and warm. My mom had a blue and white kitchen. She liked to collect Blue Delft.

    I want to put some shelves in my dining room, so I'm taking notes.

    Interesting that James Beard liked an electric stove. That makes me feel a tad better about not ever having a gas stove. I don't know why, but I feel as though I'm not a 'real cook' with just an electric stove!

  16. Blue and white is my favorite color combo. So cheerful and fresh!

    I have black appliances, but I know what you mean. My cabinets are hickory so they actually look ok, but I do agree white would look nice in your space.

    You are so very fortunate to have the men in your life that you do! Those two can do anything!

  17. That shelf is awesome. What did we do before Pinterest? I have blue and white dishes as well and often mix in Blue Willow with another pattern. It's so traditional, and my son even noticed that Aunt Bea on Andy Griffith has Blue Willow!

  18. Blue and white never is out of style, Dewena. Never. I love, love, love your galley kitchen. I like galleys, too, and had one in our last home. They're so convenient. Less steps to get to where you want to go. Space efficient. Your hubby and son did a fabulous job on the shelf. Great solution. In my last three homes I had a pot rack in the kitchen. Stock pot on top shelf, saucepans and skillets hung from hooks underneath. I found it, again, very convenient and I liked the look. Your window is delightful and I know you're going to love standing at the sink enjoying your herbs in the winter. I'm so glad you're happy in your new home. That's so important! Hugs, Nancy

  19. Ahhh love the blue and white together. I think you kitchen is so cheerful. I am thinking of the blue and white for my next kitchen. Yep well maybe lol!
    So happy you feel at home now. Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend.

  20. I love a galley kitchen too, Dewena. Your new shelving is perfect! I love so much about this light-filled kitchen - and I know I'd like it, too, with all the stuff that was stashed away for the glamour shoot!

  21. Oh, Dewena! What a lovely kitchen--I love all your blues! (And the little yellows in the Spode china. We weren't able to buy or ask for china when we got married, but I love looking at others'.
    I think you are so blessed to have R.H., and he to have you. I love the fact that you got to try out Florida, and when you yearned for Tennessee, you got to come back "home", where the (your)heart is.

    Of all the things I love, love love--it's the pot rack under the shelves.What a great idea, and I don't have much cabinet space, either. This though--I think I may be able to do, or get someone to do for me. I don't really need so many pots and pans, but I've accumulated right many over the years. But I have no pot rack, and nowhere I can really hang one---so this seems to be a wonderful idea, and also a place where I can put my cookbook collection! I DO need to downsize! I MUST! But, I have so many of the local church ones, that I love going through at night. ( I don't think it inspires me to cook much more than I did--but once, when I was younger--I really loved it. My husband isn't very adventurous in trying anything more than what his mother cooked (we've been married for 51 years this June 30th.)
    That's fried everything.:)
    It's so tiring to have to cook the same things each week, but I'm glad to have my husband still here to cook for. But I'm trying to figure out how you got some of the pans (the thicker ones) to stick out further like they need to. I know the foundation of the shelves have to be heavy--especially for the iron ones--and I can't figure it all out. Could RH do a little sketch, or explanation, of how to put one of these things together-- without it all falling down in my kitchen one night? I don't think I have as many pots, and certainly not as nice ones--but I'd like to get something like that set up in my kitchen!:)

    I do pray that you all are happy, and pleased with the job your children did for you--and your other family--for helping you all this way. They sound like the wonderful family that you wanted them to be as you and RH raised them! You seldom hear of this closeness anymore.

  22. Your kitchen is just perfect to me,'s what we make of it and how much love we can share in it. You have some talented guys in your family!! I love the shelves and you know, I think it's a desire many of us have for open shelving so we can display pretty dishes and treasures. I had the carpenter make me shelves at the lake...I have zero upper cabinets. He made them from regular old lumber from Home Depot that he stained. Compared to cabinets, the savings was enough to buy a new appliance!

    I'm loving blue very much lately, too. Just as accents in almost every room. Not sure why---its never been a favorite color or anything. Life is funny.

    Jane x

  23. Wow, Dewena! Another miracle this morning! I was once again able to enter your blog and it looks as if I'll be able to comment here...So I have been wondering where you have gone since Florida's experiment and, now, at last, can SEE IT! Congratulations on finding HOME again.
    Thanks for your last was good to be in touch again. Yes, our house in Florida is a done deal and we are happily settling in here in Iowa where Des Moines is fourth on the list of 25 of the happiest cities in the USA...due to social connections of family and friends. As the last of the paperwork is done to cancel flood insurance, we feel relieved, relaxed, and looking forward to the summer of baseball and track...
    I love your galley kitchen and completely understand the part about black appliances. I will begin a renovation of the kitchen in a couple months. We will be able to live/cook in the walkout basement while the dust is stirred on the main level.

  24. Here you are trying to show off your lovely blue and white kitchen, and what do you suppose I notice instead?

    - the healthy shamrock plant in your window - my mother had one that always looked as if it were on its last gasp until my sister inherited it. Now it is as lush as yours.
    - those spotless cooking pots shining so brightly it makes me blink just to look at them. How do you do it?
    - the lamp sans shade. My dear, what a daring trend setter you are. Soon we will all be removing our lampshades.
    - and the dear little color crayon portrait on the side of your microwave. My refrigerator is plastered with similar masterpieces which bring me such joy.

    I went through your photos again, determined to admire your willow ware, and got distracted by your corbels and cornbread. Ah, takes all kinds, doesn't it?

  25. Dewena, are you familiar with Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread and Scuppernong Wine cookbook by Joseph Dabney? It's one of my favorites and he was a guest author at our Appalachian Heritage Festival in the Cove back in 1999. It's not just a fabulous cookbook, it's a history pictorial of mid- and Southern Appalachia.
    Your kitchen is beautiful; but I do like my gas stove. Well, the 7 burners are gas while the 3 ovens are electric.
    Did you decide what you were going to call your great keeping room?

  26. What a lovely place to hang out and whip up family meals. Love it.

  27. "That's my kitchen, folks. I love it so much! It is a cheerful place to cook."

    That's exactly what a kitchen should be!

    Lovely post, I'm so pleased you are settling in so well.

    All the best Jan

  28. Thanks for you sweet comment about being brave on my journey. It was a big step, more drastic then I would have normally taken since I was only about 60 to 70 lbs overweight. But I had tried for years on my own and when the liver became a issue I knew I needed to do whatever I had to do. I know that with this my health is going to be better. I have already gotten off acid reflux meds, diabetic meds, BP meds and I know it has to be helping my liver. Thanks again.

  29. Blue and white has always been a favorite of mine - we had it in our city apartment kitchen, but like you, I packed it away when we moved to our house. I regret getting rid of some of it, because I have a feeling that someday, I will want to use it again. The sunlight streaming through your windows is heavenly!

  30. Hi Dewena,
    I love your new kitchen too! I just showed the shelves with the pots hanging on it to my husband. I need a new way to hang my pots and pans, I love the way you store yours. The blue touches are pretty and it all looks so homey. I'd be very happy cooking in your kitchen!!! Linda

  31. Oh your new kitchen looks amazing, but I confess I am wanting a closer look at how they made your shelves! What a cool idea to hang your pots from a steel rod to save space! And that Blue Willow dishware is gloriously beautiful! I love your new kitchen... and forget what other bloggers do. Just be real :) Hugs to you today!

  32. Oh Dewena it all looks wonderful but I am sorry that I came here before dinner because you have me craving fried chicken and potato salad now in the worst way, lol!

  33. I love your kitchen and the great shelves your guys made for you. Even though you stove is black glad that you like it electric...I have a duo oven, gas on top and electric inside. So happy you are so happy with you kitchen and new home!

  34. It's so pretty and light. I love the shelves the men built. Beautiful! I love your blue willow collection too. Believe it or not my teen daughter has a few pieces that she has collected. She just loves the way the blue appears to bleed. xoox Su

  35. Such a lovely, comfortable kitchen, Dewena. It is a must if you're to feel truly at home.

  36. Blue and white never goes out of style, and even if so, if it makes your heart sing then you need to display it. I think it is such a cheerful and classic combo. I love your open cupboards and your kitchen, but mostly I love hearing how happy you are in your new home. And the kitchen is definitely the heart, so it's so good to be happy there. Oh, and that southern cooking -- yummy!! xo Deborah

  37. Hi Dewena I wanted to stop by to tell you how much I appreciate your prayers for my surgery last Monday. Diana posted a prayer request on her blog and I am full of gratitude! I am slowly recovering but wanted you to know how very much I appreciate you thinking of me. :-) Your kitchen is so lovely warm and welcoming! Thank you for sharing it with us. I look forward to following your blog and getting to know you better. Have a wonderful day!


  38. Its a lovely kitchen! Its inviting and warm and tidy and like you--- i love the big window so the light can pour in! I never knew muchbabout blue/white pottery/vases etc.until about 4 years ago when i noticed it and ive been collecting it ever since! I just love it. Enjoyed this visit to your kitchen--- lets pour the coffee or tea and eat the coffee cake!

  39. Your kitchen looks like the kind of room a woman would like to spend time in. So much light, and the blue accents. It's great to have pots hanging so accessible rather than having to dig them out of a drawer or cupboard.

    When we remodeled our kitchen seven years ago we got new appliances *except* for the dishwasher that was still working well. So it didn't match. We thought also, we'll get a stainless one to match the other pieces when it wears out. It's black, and is still working great. ;-)

    When you are decorating and choosing and making purchases, all of these concerns take center stage. It's nice to be done with that part and be able to just *live* in the space you have made so livable. And even the less beautiful things have a part. :-)