Tag Archive | Breakfast Nook

The Kitchen Dilemma

My style has evolved over the years. I appreciate that things need to be comfortable, and you cannot impose a style on a structure that was not built with that style in mind (unless you want to spend BIG BUCKS). I have always allowed the house to tell me how it wants to look. I literally try to listen to it and give it a fair shake at what is going to happen. I don’t believe I’m hearing any voices, but there’s time yet for that. Just call it a form of mutual respect between ME and HOUSE.

My biggest challenge in this house is the kitchen. I am already tip-toeing towards country with the Paris corner in there. I have my little landscapes all crowded around the eat-in table, with “The New Yorker” print thrown in for good measure. This house is screaming “cottage” at me, and I have to listen.

Breakfast nook.

Breakfast nook.

Herb-drying rack.

Herb-drying rack over the sink.

If I could, I would rip this kitchen out completely and start again, but I can’t. That said, I have to work with what is here. I LOVE the Farmhouse sink. That will stay through whatever renovations happen over time. And the farmhouse sink is…. country.

Original Farmhouse sink.

Original Farmhouse sink, with a huge pot hiding inside.

Sometimes, if a room is so bad, I feel like I can’t face it at all. It is completely overwhelming. Where do you start? This is how I feel about this kitchen. The other day, I was busily trying to ignore the faux-painted backsplash again and decided I had had enough. I went into the basement and grabbed a leftover can of paint, Benjamin Moore’s Rich Cream, put the baby down for a nap, and started to paint.

Getting rid of the faux-paint backsplash.

Getting rid of the faux-paint backsplash.

Repairing the wall.

Repairing the wall

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Kitchen backsplash before.

Kitchen backsplash before

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The cream color is soothing and giving me the feel of a clean slate. I am getting ideas and thinking I can make a lot of change here for not a lot of money. The hardware is outta here! I will replace it with these black distressed pulls and get rid of the shiny chrome.

New hardware.

New hardware.

The scalloped pieces of wood hiding the fluorescent lights are as good as gone! And the floor! I am going to put down some multi-colored slate tile and the linoleum will soon be history.

Much improved with cream paint.

Much improved with cream paint.

The island that I found on Craig’s List for $75 about 4 years ago fits perfectly into a country kitchen.

Kitchen island.

Kitchen island.

I still have to finish painting the rest of the kitchen Rich Cream. Paris still has the old paint. This space will be transformed a little at a time, just wait and see. And for now, I am saving the switch plates, faux-painted with love, as mementos. Something to keep me going, so that when I am down, I can remember how far we have come already.

Mementos.

Mementos.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio.

Christmas is When???

I know I am behind the eight ball when it comes to Christmas. However, I do have a good excuse. Much of the world, including the entire country of Armenia, celebrates Christmas later; on January 6th for the Armenians and on January 7th for the Orthodox Christians that adhere to the old calendar. Needless to say, being Armenian-American and Orthodox has caused me to be slightly confused about when Christmas actually takes place. However, I am pretty sure it involves baby Jesus.

I do not have a tree yet. I promise to show you my tree, after we put it up, probably around the time you are taking yours down. But I have started to spread some Christmas cheer around the house and I wanted to give you a peak.

My vine ball, lighted!

My vine ball, lighted!

The peacock feather wreath was a splurge this year from Pier1 Imports. The vine ball needed a touch of Christmas, so I added a string of lights to the inside.

Pomegranate centerpiece.

Pomegranate and greenery from the yard for a bright and easy centerpiece.

This pomegranate centerpiece will not last too long in my house, as Secondo will eat it in no time. But I have a few more in the kitchen to distract him.

Chandelier with greenery.

Chandelier with greenery.

 An easy way to bring Christmas inside: add a little greenery.

And the quirky, Jack the Guardfish gets a bow.

And the quirky: Jack the Guardfish gets a bow.

We rearranged a little in Paris, opening up the table and adding a bench to accommodate more people. It is now an actual Breakfast Nook. I added a little Christmas cactus to the middle.

Breakfast Nook.

Paris has had a makeover.

And the bread! I baked ten loaves of bread for the teachers and just the smell of it filling the house brings on Christmas cheer. This is an easy-to-make quick bread that is delicious and Christmas-y. It can be easily modified and made vegan as well.

Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, circa 1950.

Cranberry-Orange Bread

Cranberry-Orange Bread


Cranberry-Orange Bread Recipe (Can be made Vegan):

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a bread pan. Mix the dry ingredients   together in a bowl: 2 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. baking soda. Toss in one cup of coarsely chopped cranberries, 1 tsp. grated orange zest, and 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts. In a small dish mix together 1 cup of orange juice, 1 egg (or egg replacer if you are vegan) and 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry just until moist and bake 55-60 minutes. You will love it!

For me, this Christmas will be extra special. We have a new baby and have so many things to be grateful for. The recent tragedy in Connecticut reminds me to hug my kids and not to take anything for granted.

 © copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.