Friday, March 7, 2014

The Heart of the House - London Manor

The continuing tour of London Manor takes us to the heart of our home - the kitchen.  

Our kitchen is one of the nicest that we looked at over many, many house tours.  Some of the other houses had more modern appliances or brighter spaces, but this room fits our family's needs perfectly.  Do you remember all the boxes we had on move in day and the comment, "You must have had a massive kitchen in the states," from the mover?  Well I'm still working on finding a permanent home for several items.  Some super infrequently used items are repacked into boxes and stored in Oldest Kiddo's closet. 

Ours is an open style kitchen/dining room.  At The 407 the dining table was in the living room, and there was not good space for anyone to hang out while I cooked.  Now we are all together and the kids often play Legos or make a craft while I'm cooking.  It's a good slice of togetherness during the day.  I have to use all surfaces and nooks to their maximum because it is lacking in built in storage space.  Those baskets on top of cabinets might look nice, but they also hold a myriad of kitchen tools.  I actually can't tell you what I put in there, so I bet they will go unused until they are packed up when we move back.  

We reused a shelf from The 407 to give us additional storage space.  It houses the microwave and other big items that I had no space to give in the kitchen area.  The big basket on the third shelf holds all of my large baking tools.  I read many blogs that love open shelving in the kitchen, but I'm not sold on the concept.  For now, it prudently uses what we brought with us and serves a purpose.

There is one spot in the kitchen that I was thrilled to create.  See that ugly curtain to the right of the shelf in the above photo?  Behind it is my broom closet.  The quantity of fabric in the panel allows me to store my hoover (British for vacuum), broom, and mop with nary a thought that anything was behind it.
We purchased a new dining table when we moved in.  Our old one at The 407 was from our college years.  When the kids first started using utensils for their meals, the poor table received many a fork tine scrape or spoon whack.  There are even a few remnants etched in the wood from some raucous Pictionary drawings.  The new one is solid American Walnut, and it is bigger than we initially thought about buying.  However, the larger floor model was significantly cheaper than the smaller size.  The room can handle it & it's beautiful.  We must keep its size in mind when we house hunt the next time.  We will never get rid of this table.  

Our fridge/freezer is small, but with creative organization it works for us.  It is persnickety about temperature.  Food items in the back of it often come out partially frozen.  It also quickly goes from full to empty.  Two days of school lunches and dinners depletes the inventory down to condiments and yogurt.  Yes, I grocery shop two to three times per week.  The freezer is a series of drawers that is the perfect size for us.  I keep a few packages of ground beef (they call it mince here), chicken, and bagels on hand at all times.

Our landlord recently replaced the stovetop because the original one had a faulty burner.  When one cooks with gas, a faulty burner is not a good thing.  The replacement is not much better as it has persnickety temperature settings.  I've found adjusting individual burners to be an exercise in patience.  A millimeter turn of the knob makes big changes.  They are very powerful burners, and even the low-output burner can quickly burn things.  When I need to use more than one burner, the stovetop is quickly cramped quarters.  

It took me a few almost burned meals to realize I have a convection/fan style oven.  I have to adjust the temperature down by about twenty degrees for everything I make.  This is because the fan constantly circulates the heat around the food to make it cook quicker.  At least that's how I understand it.  An 8x10 dish barely fits in the oven.  The handles of the glass dish fit in between the rails of the oven rack frame.

I decided to use the stove hood for travel magnets.  We certainly plan to increase the quantity of the magnets in the next two years.  Now we have to buy a Chicago one when we visit home :)

That's the heart of our manor.  There's just a few spots left to share!


  1. It is a beautiful kitchen, love the counter tops. But I can see why there isn't enough space for all your things. The new kitchen table is lovely and I really liked the painting above the fire place. Do you use the fire place often?

    1. Thanks! I could use another upper cabinet to the left of the sink. The fireplace is not functional. We have another in the living room and and two that were plastered over in the kids' rooms.

    2. Bummer that it isn't functional. But one less thing to keep clean. How is M adjusting to school?

    3. School is great for both kids. They adjusted well to the new routine and M has some cute little friends. I'm the one having trouble because there is a significant lack of information provided to parents. There's no teacher webpage/blog, I don't know if they have email addresses I can use, and no papers come home! They do all of their work in notebooks and glue worksheets into them. I will see her work when we have conferences in a few weeks. I started volunteering at school two days a week so I can at least get in there to see what's going on. It is certainly a different way of education. G is so excited to learn as we hear about all of the new sounds and tricky words learned at dinner. Overall it's good.

  2. I wonder if G is going to have a bit of an accent! How cute would that be!

    1. G is starting to say some words with an accent. Partly because his teacher is teaching him sounds with an accent, and he's repeating them at home. I have been called "mummy" a few times as well!