Updated kitchen remodel takes its color scheme from Blue Willow dishware collection.
By Geri Williamson
You might say my husband and I are still fairly new transplants to country living, since we left the city only about 7 years ago. We bought a small ranch in a quiet, rural area with nurseries and avocado groves, and our new bit of paradise was 5 acres of mostly dead orange tree stumps. But today, we’re thriving.
I love to garden, and I now tend many fruit trees—everything from apples, peaches and pears to kiwi and guava, plus grape-vines. Robert, a tool-and-die mold maker, has become a volunteer firefighter. We’re transforming our home both outside and in, as our recent kitchen remodel demonstrates. We were fascinated to learn of its original history. Not only is our kitchen the heart of our home now, but it once served as the entire area of the cabin built here about 1964.
So when we remodeled the kitchen, we did it with an eye toward the past. My stove is a replica of an 1800s wood-burning model—though it has an electric oven with six gas burners. And my blue refrigerator, with freezer on the bottom, resembles one from the 1950s, so much that guests often say it looks just like the white one they remember from their childhood home.
Into the Blue
Then there’s the Blue Willow. You can’t miss it in my kitchen remodel— it’s on my walls, on the countertops, inside and atop the birch cupboards, right on into the adjoining dining room. (Find out more about this classic pattern.)
I began collecting at age 16, when I inherited my grandmother’s Blue Willow dishes. So when it came time to choose colors for the kitchen remodel, blue and white was a natural to showcase my treasured collection. The countertops, flooring, drawer pulls and even my rug, dish towels and placemats carry out the theme.
Before we reached that point, though, we had some major work to do. Robert and I tore the walls down to the studs and hung the insulation ourselves. We also installed the drywall and painted the walls white. Removing a stove island opened up extra space. We need that space every day, since we have four energetic dogs, none of them small! (That’s one reason—or rather, 16 good reasons—why we opted for easy-to-clean tile flooring.)
Room to Grow
We also appreciate the added space of our kitchen remodel whenever our six grandchildren visit. Our daughter, Theresa, and son, Jesse, each have three children, who range from age 4 to 17. I love cooking big meals for them.
My Blue Willow kitchen is such a cheerful spot now for baking, canning garden produce or making candy, all of which I love to do. Even daily cleanup goes quickly when you’re standing at the sink, gazing out at the sun or moon slowly creeping over the mountain beyond. Yes, I enjoy living in the country, especially now that I have a homey country kitchen that offers the best of past and present.