Kitchen update, with chitchat!


People who are redoing their kitchens are just as distracted as those planning a wedding. Their minds have been taken over, totally invaded, by all the possibilities, constraints, worries, and plans, and they are thwarted, thwarted I tell you, by the world and its delays and obstacles and sheer abundance of materiality, and obsessed by an unattainable search for perfection. They can’t think about anything else! Or talk about anything else…


But anyway, here I go, haha… hampered in giving you the complete vision, as in my experience, pictures of demo and framing are impenetrable. But longtime readers might have the befores in mind and be able to interpret a tiny bit…


The parts circled in red are gone now!

My operating principles: I am striving for an unfitted kitchen and for observing the Patterns. My reality: a total gut turned out to be necessary, and with such a quirky, actually limited work space, despite the large overall area, I feel the responsibility to get as much storage in and to make it as tight as possible. So I am not sure how much actual “furniture” can be substituted for cabinetry, which in any case will not be abundant — it’s just how the layout is! There isn’t much room for any of it!

What I mean is this: I think a lot of kitchen energy is taken up with addressing dust, grease, and food getting into cracks and behind and under things, so I want to minimize all that by having cabinets that are custom built to use the space well.

The floor will go right up to the walls, so it will be a room that you cook and visit in (the idea behind unfitted kitchens— not, as some seem to think, that it’s about there being open shelves). The appliances… oh, the vexing appliances… I will try to be functional and reasonable. More on that later.

Here is the floor plan:

However, as I say, the wall to the left of the sliding door is gone!!

This is huge. More later.

If you go to my IG, there is a new highlight about the demo that explains more.




I have decided on windows and doors. They will have mullions/divided lights (as “true” as today’s manufacturers can make them while still offering insulation etc). The windows will be casement; the doors will be French doors in style, but the slider has to slide, as there is no room for it to open inwards and outwards is impractical here. I found a brand-new glass-paned door with tempered glass on Facebook Marketplace for $175! So I am very excited about that, and how it will relieve the sort of “dark cave” feeling from the mudroom into the kitchen.

Here is my inspiration photo for windows:

And I will have something similar on the side to the right: not a wall but the cabinet for the fridge. I just love the coziness of this image. My windows will be larger, because I am also trying to get more light in here.

Christopher Alexander’s pattern about the question: 239 Small Panes**

Another argument for small panes: Modern architecture and building have deliberately tried to make windows less like windows and more as though there was nothing between you and the outdoors. Yet this entirely contradicts the nature of windows. It is the function of windows to offer a view and provide a relationship to the outside, true. But this does not mean that they should not at the same time, like the walls and roof, give you a sense of protection and shelter from the outside. It is uncomfortable to feel that there is nothing between you and the outside, when in fact you are inside a building. It is the nature of windows to give you a relationship to the outside and at the same time give a sense of enclosure.

My overall vision is “English country kitchen meets New England Vernacular Georgian Revival of 1860,” which I possibly just made up.


Knitting Corner

I don’t think I ever showed you the finished Selbu mittens?

They were, honestly, a pain to make. The project is too small to make sense enough to memorize (or maybe I’m too distracted). However, I do love them. Don’t look at the mistakes!


Gardening Corner


We have had so much rain. Other than the peppers and eggplants, which find everything too cool, most things are loving it. I have that ugly row cover out there to shade the lettuce from the hot sun when it does choose to appear, because around this time of year it tries hard to bolt.

The slugs are having a wild party, but otherwise, things are looking good! Note to self: time to harvest garlic scapes. Further note: I don’t have a kitchen in which to prepare them…


Book Corner

Two books on my mind:

The Friendship of Christ (affiliate link) is an important spiritual classic. I decided to re-read it after I found it in my mother’s bookshelves in her room. It gets to the heart of our problems, that we don’t abandon ourselves to true friendship with Our Lord. If you are looking for spiritual reading, I highly recommend. (This edition says that the scripture citations have been modernized. I can’t find what version they use.)

The second was one I pulled out to reference in the new podcast I made, coming out soon on the Center for the Restoration of Christian Culture site: Ask Auntie Leila: How do I teach my son beauty?

The son in question is 10 years old, and as his mom points out, teaching him will be key to bringing his siblings along. She asked for resources, but my answer is more about the whole of the child’s education, which must be approached patiently and in harmony with his natural development. This is what I try to convey in all my curriculum advice, which is meant to offer guiding principles around the task of conveying fittingness and order so that ultimately, we may attain wonder.

I hope you can give it a listen!

Meanwhile, I do again recommend The Way of Beauty (affiliate link) to your attention if you have not already gotten it. David Clayton articulates an objective approach to beauty in a way I have not encountered anywhere else.


bits & pieces


from the archives

  • I hope you have lots of read-alouds planned this summer! Here’s a little tutorial for how to be a good reader, but remember, your children love having you read to them no matter what — even the ones who can read for themselves. And taking out a fun chapter book is a good way to get them to settle down for an hour, taking a needed break from otherwise non-stop fun and running around!
  • The feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist is coming up! The solstice is the natural world’s observation of change, but the Church offers us a way to incorporate it into a heavenly celebration, ultimately pointing to Christ. We need to reclaim these things and not let the world impose its material view, exclusively. If you are going to have a mid-summer bonfire, may I humbly suggest you have it on or around the 24th?


liturgical living

Today is The Immaculate Heart of Mary! 


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My book, The Summa Domestica: Order and Wonder in Family Life is available now from Sophia Press! All the thoughts from this blog collected into three volumes, beautifully presented with illustrations from Deirdre, an index in each volume, and ribbons!

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