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My Love Language--The Crain Kitchen

Food is my love language. I'm not always a great shoulder to cry on and I don't always have the right words for a situation. I'm not great at giving gifts and, though I enjoy being social, I also enjoy my alone time very much. But one thing I can do well is cook and I especially love feeding others. There's an old man who lives across the street from us and one of my favorite things to do is whip up a banana-chocolate bread or zucchini-pineapple bread (I've got one in the oven now!) and bring him a big ole piece and talk with him about the good ole days as we take a stroll through his garden to look at his cucumber plants. I love baking cookies for my kids and thier friends and my neices and nephews. The other day my daughter's friends were over and they told me if they were on death row, they'd request I cook their last meal. BEST. COMPLIMENT. EVER. All that to say, my kitchen is my happy place. Until I moved to our current home, I cooked in very small kitchens with little counter space and even less function, so when we decided to gut this one, I knew exactly what I wanted. First on the list was a giant island. I decided on five by nine feet and have never regretted going so big. The ample storage allows me to have open shelving since I don't need all the upper cabinet storage and the massive amount of counter space let's me spread out my baking messes and still have room for others to gather around.

I wanted the overall aesthetic of the space to read as a good mix between traditional and modern and masculine, but cozy. I wanted it to have a bit of a coffee shop/restaurant vibe, hence the subway tile and open shelving. Open shelving can be tricky to style, but I just find things I like (mostly at Target, thrift/antique stores, and garage sales) in wood, white, black, and green tones and pair them together until I am pleased with the overall look and feeling they exhale. Don't be afraid to mix in art pieces and plants, too! These things make the kitchen feel more personal and lived in and not such a solely functional space.

The two tiled, open-shelved areas which house the appliances meet in the middle at what is one of my favorite spots in our house--the breakfast nook. With windows on all three sides, it lets the natural light in beautifully, illuminating our time eating, working, or just enjoying a cup of coffee while looking out at the flowers in our garden or a neighbor walking by on the sidewalk with their pup. A very modern table is anchored by the mismatched antique chair and stool and the bench seating with storage filled with pillows all come together to make a space we use and enjoy so much. It is a little sanctuary, tucked away, but still in the midst of it all.

Lastly, there's the gallery walls. The first is a block of fifteen black and white photos (mostly of our travels) flanked by black and white frames, which fill the wall to the left of the island. I could have elected to shorten the island and put cabinetry or shelving there, but I wanted something unexpected and very personal to fill the wall. The other is a smaller set of recipes from my husband's grandmother. These are not as methodically placed as the other wall, but when I think of Southern grandmas who do a lot of cooking, they're usually a little messy and a little crazy and a lot wonderful, so I wanted this particular wall to feel like that, too. I love all the different colors of the paper and how they've aged differently. One of the recipes was written on the back of a paper grocery bag! I like to add elements to a kitchen that don't typically "belong" there. It creates a juxtaposition with all the function in the space that make it really feel like home. Restaurants and coffee shop usually have art on the walls, so why can't our kitchens? They can help create the mood of the space and are a great conversation peice when entertaining.

My own grandmother was an avid cook. Some of my fondest childhood memories were of learning to cook and bake with her. She never used any recipes. I tried and tried to write down what she did, but nothing was ever exact and she went so quickly I never was successful. My favorites were her beignets, biscuits, and sausage bread. She's not able to cook anymore, so every time I get in the kitchen I miss her like crazy, but I also think, "Sweet would love this. And she'd be so proud of me." That's the power of the kitchen, the power of good food. It brings us together and loves us like no other room in our home can. Whether you are a professional chef, an ameteur baker, or a Door Dash super fan, I hope your kitchen is a space filled with that love. If it's not exactly your happy place, try adding some personal touches and decorative pieces that may be unconventional for a kitchen. Take a few of the small appliances off the counter and add some books or a plant. It's the little things that make a big impact in our spaces and come together to bring us peace.


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Redfin Feature

Check out my latest design feature via Redfin! https://www.redfin.com/blog/neutral-home-decor-tips/ The article talks about using creams and beiges in design and I'm excited to be a part of it!

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