we are moved.

if by “moved” you mean most of our stuff is here and not there except for a few stray things that are frozen to the yard outside at the other house.

if by “moved” you mean perched slightly dazed amidst piles of boxes and tools and stuff we keep hoping will put itself away. ahem.

if by “moved” you mean desperately trying to create spaces to hang wet winter things in a house without a mudroom. yay Dave and Dave’s dad, for building hook racks. sexy, serious hook racks.

if by “moved” you mean “caught wearing the same sweater for the past three days and a hat because it’s rather dry here and no human being on the planet has done wrong enough to be subjected to the sight of my hair.”

if by “moved” you mean a little amazed and choked up by the whole reality. i may look like the “before” Cinderella, painting basement floors, but when i surface from the to-do list long enough to breathe, i feel like somebody tossed me some glass slippers. and they haven’t yet shattered.

oh, there are leaks. and lots to do. and the chaos isn’t exactly my thing.

but i wake up in a room with light flooding in, and i set my feet on old pine plank floors, and i feel at home. we’ve been having breakfast down in front of the gas fire, these cold mornings. no furniture in the living room yet, except the kids’ little craft table and some old mats we dragged home from Thailand years ago. it’s cozy.

it’ll be beautiful, someday.

there are three floors to get lost in. Josephine beetles away to hide, frequently: you turn your head and she’s gone. luckily, she cannot hide for more than thirteen seconds at a time before her giggles come pealing fromĀ  a corner, a box pile, under the basement stairs.

Oscar got to hang his Hot Wheels track on a wall, for the first time: we’ve never had enough room, before. there is space to play, space for the mysterious treasures of childhood, for the art they create.

this is our house, we say to each other, blinking.

it’s only a house. but it is a gift, too…a fresh start. a circling back to a history i thought i’d lost, in all but the story part. and a home not tinged by tragedy, by accident of timing.

a home with room to be mindful, to make choices. a home maybe for the long run. i’ve never thought like that before.

in the fairy tale, we never hear from Cinderella after the happily ever after. but i imagine her, a few days after the fancy wedding, waking up. setting her feet on old pine plank floors, looking around. taking it in, blinking. and realizing there’s still shit to do – there will always be shit to do – but it’s her shit, now. her dream, if she can figure out how to live it.

i like to imagine her throwing on a hat with the glass slippers, and getting to the unpacking.
welcome to the dream, friends. i like to call it, in proper Arts & Crafts typeface (and with apologies to Dave, but hey, alliteration…)

we begin with the grand kitchen reveal.

the first room i focus on in any move – outside of the kids’ room, which still needs a few touches – is the kitchen. my Maritime roots and my anal retentive nature dictate that the kitchen is not only the heart of the home, but ground control for household operations. i spent my first morning here tearing through all the boxes marked “kitchen,” trying to work with the space to make it all make sense.

in the end, i’m way more in love with it than i’d had any expectation of being.

here’s the original, replete with hideous fluorescent light.

initially i had thought the green cupboards might go, in the long run: i do still want to paint the walls and ceiling, in the fullness of time, and i have a fantasy of the perfect Craftsman Bungalow kitchen with tomato-soup-red walls and cream cupboards and old-fashioned warship tile in a checker pattern on the floors.


but for the moment, we’re working with what’s here, and it’s turning out beautifully. i’m no great fan of ceramic tile, especially in the back of the house over the cold storage room, but insulation is our new friend, and luckily, my slippers are actually wool, not glass.

we moved the original island that came with the house towards the back of the room, in the space towards the back entry and the doorway to the sunroom/dining room. we removed the, uh, colonial legs that decorated it, bellied the kids’ stools up to it, and voila! it makes both a perfect breakfast bar and a mini-pantry for dry goods, with built-in butcher block.

we replaced their island with our slightly smaller birch John Boos portable, bought last year: it’s one of the most beautifully-made things I’ve ever owned. it holds some of Dave’s aspirational red LeCreuset collection, plus the coffee roaster. it serves.

Dave and his dad pulled down the fluorescent light without pulling down half the ceiling (yay, dudes) and installed a pot rack, with built-in lights. love. i keep clanging my head on the pots, admittedly, when i bend over the island, but still…love.

the potrack is really the only thing we purchased for the room, other than two bronzed Bungalow-style cabinet pulls we installed on the glass cupboards. i’d initially hoped to replace all the knobs with vintage pulls, until i counted how many knobs the kitchen actually has. mercy. i had to order these things in from the US: two will have to do.

it’s the first time we’ve ever had a glass cupboard. turns out our shared pottery fetish means we have even more mugs that we want to show off, so we added the cup hooks and hung a few from the bottom of the cupboard. the green ones are celadon pottery we carted back from Korea years ago, and they match the kitchen cupboards serendipitously. the blue beauties are handmade cafe au lait bowls that are just too pretty not to look at as much as possible.

one of the coolest things about this kitchen is the long tall cupboard by the stove: the world’s most giant built-in spice rack ever. accented by the kids’ Miffy apron, one of Dave’s funky coffee pots, and an ancient bowl of my grandmother’s, which probably lived here before.

add in the daily functioning coffee paraphenalia, antique jars and other family heirlooms, and a rather glaring but awfully handy built-in radio left by the previous owners, and you have the makings of my mornings.

what the pics don’t show off properly is the sweet curve of the kitchen window over the sink, with its painted wooden arch now stripped of the false fruit frippery it came with. it mirrors the arch that leads into the kitchen from the family room…symmetry: i likes it. the window looks out to the house that my grandmother was born in, to the corner i walked home to every day after school until i was fourteen. to the house whose current owner brought the tulips currently smiling in the centre of the room.

it feels like home. even, after some adjustments, to the cat, who has found her patches of sunlight.

as, i think, have i.

now come visit. you can help unpack and transform the rest of the space.