Turtle's Progress

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Evolution of My Vintage Kitchen

If there is any room in my house that makes me completely happy it is my kitchen! Yes, I do like to cook, especially when we have family and friends in for meals, but the true reason I love this room is because I'm surrounded by "kitcheny" things I've collected for over thirty years and I get great joy out of looking at it, rearranging it, remembering where each item came from and sometimes (though not often) wondering what will come of it all when I'm gone.... I've taken some pictures to share. The quality of the pictures is not the best but looking at them makes me love my kitchen even more!

It all started with wanting to have a red kitchen when I got married.  I remember eating with some friends at an Italian restaurant when I was about 18 and loving the red gingham tablecloths and curtains.  I decided right then to have that theme in my own kitchen.  I realized just how long I've had a red kitchen when I had lunch last month with a high school friend who also lived in the same apartment complex when we were very young wives in 1974.  When I was sharing pictures of my children and grandchildren on my Ipad and seeing the kitchen in the background, she immediately said, "You still have a red kitchen!"

I always wanted and kept up the red theme but did not start loving the vintage style until I received a Christmas gift from my mother in 1982 full of red wooden and bakelite handled utensils.  I loved them but was living then in an apartment in Athens, Greece with a very tiny kitchen.  I kept that lovely gift stashed away until the time came to really display and enjoy them.  But I was hooked and anxious to get back to the states and search for more!

In 1985 while living in Monterey, California and having coffee with and getting to know a new friend (soon to be my very best friend), she mentioned that she and her husband were "collectors" and asked if I collected anything?  No, not really, but I do have some kitchen utensils that I love.  I dug them out from wherever I had them stashed away and Joyce (ever the collector) immediately said, "You  have to display these!"  And then she loved them so much that she started collecting red kitchen items herself! 

During the time I lived in Monterey (1984 - 1987) I began taking items to consign at the Fort Ord Thrift Shop.  Some of what I took were red items (never the treasured utensils) that I no longer wanted.  More than once I would visit Joyce in her home and she would show me her latest "red item" and it was something I had consigned!  We both loved the same things but never really felt in competition.  We just loved sharing in each others latest finds!

Monterey was only thirty miles from my home town which meant living very close to my mom who has always loved antiques and collectibles.  She encouraged and expanded my budding interest in not only red utensils but also all red vintage kitchen, and then just vintage kitchen in general.  I began loving Halls Chinese Red pottery and acquired my most loved pieces during this time.  I also had an interest in Jewel Tea Autumn Leaf pottery by Hall China but have never really displayed it prominently.  It is indeed beautiful, but my love of red is stronger than that lovely pattern could overcome. 

I began actually trying to display some of what I acquired while living in Monterey.  The pottery was easy but those utensils were hell to clean after sitting out in a kitchen for a time.  Cleaning the dirt, grease and grime off of them was quite a task, especially while trying not to harm the wooden handles.  I kept them out though, and carefully cleaned them when needed.

While living in Panama from 1987 to 1989 I had a bit larger kitchen with more wall space for displays and was able to put out even more of my collection.  When I look at pictures of that kitchen I love to see how I was able to display so much but also realize how far it has come since then!

In Maryland from 1989 to 1991 my collecting went into hibernation.  Our home and kitchen were very small and had little room to display what I had, much less to add any more.  I was always on the hunt though and if I found something I loved in a thrift store I would add it to the stashed away collection.

In 1992 I purchased my first home and it had a nice big kitchen.  Over the 14 years I lived there my kitchen evolved and my displays expanded to include all of my collection in both my kitchen and dining room!  I found wall shelves, buffet topper shelves and other ways to make sure it could all be out and enjoyed.  I discovered large pickle jars to hold my beloved utensils so they could be seen but not become covered with dust and grime!  I also discovered Ebay, and restaurantware.... be still my heart! 

In 2006 we moved to Nashville and now live in the home where all of these pictures were taken.  One of the things that sold me on this house was the kitchen and adjoining eating area.  Once I had settled in to this space my collecting blossomed.  I had room to add things (like the primary colored Pyrex, red-lidded storage jars and vintage linens and tablecloths), and to decide what I really wanted to keep collecting and what needed to go or to be shared with others....

For Christmas this year I gave my daughter, Meghan, a box of ten red handled bakelite cooking utensils and a set of multi-colored Pyrex mixing bowls... let the collecting begin!!!


At 10:26 AM, Anonymous Eric Larson said...

You are giving your fashionista daughters a run for their money!

At 10:35 AM, Blogger Lori Grimes said...

WOW AWESOME POST!!!! You definitely get your collecting of dishes from mom and Aunt Betty.

At 7:49 PM, Blogger Fashily said...

Love it! It is so crazy to see all your items in idividual pictures, it seems like so much more that way. Great post!

At 7:09 AM, Blogger Jerri said...

Love the red! And you have SUCH talent for displaying your treasures.


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