The Dream Kitchen

Marica made a comment this morning about a Cabinet Appointment which beget a whole series of responses as to OUR versions of dream kitchens. I made the comment about using commercial Stanley Tool Chests for under cabinets – and how much I LOVE the extra space, durability, and heavy duty drawer glides.

At our old blogsite home, one of our girlfriends planned her kitchen for YEARS, and was diligent enough to “get 10lbs of flour into a 5lb sack”. What a great expression….. She was a planner.

Because we spend so much time in our kitchens, over the years, we get a clear idea of what we want, what would be more convenient, shorten steps, …. the tweak, if you will. And we dream of a day when our kitchens are “just the way we want it.”

I took a LONG time to get there.

Most of you who know me, know I I truly do love to cook and this lil’ kitchen has provided a very nice lifestyle for our family over a few decades. Yet, the kitchen was ignored in the original remodel. In fact, my metal cabinets were originally installed in 1948. Oh sure, I whined and moaned about not getting the bank of matching oak cabinets so popular in 1994, but husband shook his head…… we were over budget on the “front guest space”. My kitchen was sacrificed. I hate to admit it, but he was 100% right. As tough as we are on a kitchen, we would have destroyed wooden cabinets in less than 5yrs. Those metal cabinets, after 73years, are still going strong.

Bottom line, we never had the stars align for a renovation of the kitchen, and EVERYONE who comes here agrees, I need a bigger kitchen – because everyone ends up in the kitchen.

Twice in my life, with different husbands, we’ve hired architects, paid retainers, to have the plans drawn up. We were ready to go. Yet, the deal was nixed for various reasons. Mostly…….. because it wasn’t what I wanted, at all. I really only needed an extra 15’x25′ to make it work beautifully, using the already existing space of kitchen and butler’s pantry. ONE architect decided we needed a 4300sq ft ADDITION. I damn near died. The architect was surprised by my objection. It’s as though they’ve never cleaned a house this big or they expect someone else to do the work.

But I finally got my chance at a kitchen.

Here’s the Reader’s Digest version of how it happened. No, I would LOVE to swamp you with photos cuz it was a fun project, but I will not post pics cuz Steve in Colorado has already proven they are too easy to trace.

It started innocently.

I won a grand prize at a Garden Expo for a 18’x25′ pond. I was treasurer of the event, but mom committed suicide and I was forced to leave for New Orleans immediately. My friends felt sorry for me and bought so many tickets for the raffle, they stuffed the box. I won. I was thrilled but my contractor husband refused to install the pond, and I was too despondent to fight him. “Too much maintenance”, he said. The parts sat for a few years until we split up. In one heated moment of fury, which is common in all divorces, I decided I WOULD DIG the pond myself. I threw on a black bikini and started digging. It POURED rain but I still kept digging, working out my anger….. and I had a pond in a few days. But I had no electric. So I ran extension cords almost 600′. Which meant I could have few lights, too.

I fixed it up, cute but tasteful, loads and loads of fieldstone, and Gunner, as a little tike, thought it was his swimming pool, …..until the bullfrogs appeared and the Herons ate his big goldfish —- Lunchtime for the Blue Herons, scared the crap out of Gunner.

But then I needed a lil’ refrigerator, cuz it was a hike back to the house. I had a neighborhood handyman make me a “tiki hut” backbar with three sides protected from the weather, strung white x-mas lights, and poured concrete countertop, storage for dishes underneath, and a long table to seat 16…. cuz men like to spread out. Add another extension cord, and I had a lil’ frig, and a couple more low wattage lights.

Funny thing happened along the way.

It was a hit. My corporate guys, who stayed with us often, LOVED the space. The would come “home”, grab a six pack of beer or a drink, and head out back. Sometimes, they would not come back to the big house until past midnight. The space is so isolated and secret, no one knows you’re there.

We started spending so much time out there, Gunner decided he wanted a treehouse in a 200yr old oak tree. We called the neighborhood handyman, who was like Gunner’s adopted Grandpa. He only had girls in his family. He said, “Ohhhh, I’ve always wanted to build a treehouse for a little boy.” I let him run with the idea. Well, we ended up with a triple decker treehouse that went 60′ high + stairs to connect, and something akin to a large “buffet” at the base. Grandpa said he thought I needed a place to store my lawn stuff out back. The kids loved it and that brought many birthday parties “out back”.

But the back yard kept growing.

On the other side of the pond, I put in a secret garden. I was “given” thousands of plants (previous post) and tried to find room for them all. Again, my Grandpa handyman made me a little entrance to the garden……. and I wasn’t even DONE with it when a couple staying here decided they wanted to be married in that garden.

Wild, eh?

When Big T and I got together, he decided he wanted to put in a pool. Of course, the perfect place was “out back”. As I’ve told the story before, we wanted to “tile” the pool. Yet, the tile was $112K and that was BEFORE installation. No. Not happening. Which is how/why/when I went on my journey to find what I wanted, wholesale….. which is how the stone company started. I got the tile for 7K, eventually.

Along the way, Big T decided the back yard would be the “showroom” for our stone company. He needed a career after quitting “lawyerhood”, and therefore, we could write-off the construction. Okay, fine. I do love a good tax deduction.

But because we were building a pool, we needed a place to go to the bathroom, which meant we built the cabana. But it had to be a “showroom cabana”, he said. My only prerequisite for the building was heat and air. Can’t get dressed if it’s too hot, and having one space air conditioned worked out well for a guest or kid who was over-heated. We put in wooden tongue and groove ceiling, huge windows which aligned with the summer equinox (no kidding – my Daddy was a Grand Mason – I can do that), then I hand sanded half logs in white cedar for the window trim. The shower was the stunner, an enormous shower outfitted with custom mosaics up to 6′ out of Lebanon. It has granite shelves, like crown moldings but on a wall, and even a small “shelf” 16″ high so I could shave my legs and not tip over. We put in mosaic seaweed counters to match, Jaisalmer polished golden floor tile from India, white travertine from Iran for the walls, and 2 custom cedar closets which smell divine, a place to get dressed and do makeup – also serves as an office, and even a little chandelier. Which beget gas lines, more electric, a 2″ water tap at the street and dropped to a 4″ water line which ran 488′ to the master shower in the cabana, 14 shower heads, and 48.5 Gallons per minute. I needed two in-line water heaters to run it and the kids called it “their water park”. It even has a sink vanity cut from a solid block of marble, a 12″ high soap shelf across the back, rising to acanthus leaves carved around the mirror. Plus, a toilet – which was what I really wanted.

With everything going on in the back yard, the kids were down there all the time and spent a LOT of time in the secret garden. They wanted to be close to us but have their own space to play. One of my foremen decided we needed a little “shack”, a platform, shaded and protected from rain, a quieter space, where they could take a nap. That sounded like fun. The space became “The Love Shack”, made out of cedar logs and planed cedar, with a tin roof, and slightly bigger than a queen sized bed. We put in an air mattress, outfitted with sheets which can be changed easily. But THEN, the patio went around it. Fossilized pavers from Hawaii were fun for the kids. A nice sized fire pit within a few feet of the platform was bordered with lava stone. Around the back of the “shack” another wooden vanity, made from logs, and an enormous “outdoor shower”. To the side, a claw foot tub, rescued and cleaned, found in my neighbor’s garbage. As soon as the claw foot tub was finished, Gunner took a FOUR HOUR long bath, and went through a whole box of Mr Bubble. We put in a tv and dvd player so the kids could watch Scooby Doo or Power Rangers, but in truth, I took an early morning shower out there for 9 months out of the year.

Because we were building so much, we needed a garage. The big house came with a garage, but the garage was stolen to become my first husband’s game room. We needed a garage. We built one, with another bathroom and space for washer/dryer…….. cuz I wasn’t going to lug pool towels all the way to the big house. Plus a commercial electric pole, and 1100 AMPS of continuous power, with 4- 200 AMP meter bases across the back yard.

The north side of the pool has a natural high shrub/tree backdrop. We decided it needed to be a patio and I ordered a 20′ long white marble table, 4 inches thick with egg and dart edges, two holes cut in it for gas lights, and a sink configured at one end to ice down the wine.

You want a showroom? Yeah, buddy. I can build a showroom.

The south side of the pool was SUPPOSED to be a simple arbor, with tree stumps for uprights. Yet, it turned into a 40′ wide and about 26′ deep living room, 8′ wide carved sandstone and marble fireplace, and 8 large marble columns for the posts. It connects the kitchen to the spa – we added a spa to the pool, and another bar on that side off the back of the spa, with a wide walkway. Other side of the walkway is a carved sandstone tabletop, copied from an 11th century Raj Palace. It took 6 men 26 days to carve the table top and the township had a Hindi “blessing ceremony” before they wrapped it and sent it to me. The table drops off to which drops off to a beach…… which flanked by the original Tiki Hut now enclosed and an equipment room, and on the southern side the pond, with a back alley to the Love Shack.

We kept avoiding the kitchen…… and I lived with the lil’ Tiki Hut for over a year of this wild construction project. I was ….. thinking about it.

Big T’s dream of being a stone company owner withered, cuz he was having too much fun out back and had no idea where to begin with a stone company. He kept trying but it was not his natural skillset…….. He was fascinated with “construction”, a whole new field to him, and loved to spend his days “out back” with the guys……. which is another reason I picked up the stone company in the end.

The kitchen was impossibly difficult to build. One step forward, two steps back. Much of the problem came when Big T and I would leave for Boston for a few weeks in the summertime and the crews decided to put in “what they thought we wanted”. It was our own fault, leaving crews unattended. But when I say I want BLUE tile on the wall – don’t spend 6 weeks custom cutting red travertine tiles, from slabs – cuz you think it’s prettier. Dammit! Yet, in rural MS, if you let the crew go for a few weeks, they don’t come back.

After endless drawings, we poured the slab for the kitchen. Everything had to go in like a puzzle with a million pieces, since I had to work ahead of the men by as much as six months, to get the custom pieces shipped here from all corners of the globe.

The north and west walls were concrete poured cinderblock, loaded with rebar. Roof interior was true 2″ thick, extra wide plank raw red cedar with a zillion gallons of polyurethane. Interior peak is about 22′ high. Cross beams at 12′ are steel “I” beams, camouflaged by 12″ thick cedar logs with 1″ wide steel lag bolts. No tornado is taking my kitchen. OVER-engineered, for sure. Exterior of the roof was copper gutters and Venus black slate in fish scales and a “grape cluster” design – cuz my roofer always wanted to put in a slate roof. He was feeling artistic and the kitchen rof is his masterpiece. Kitchen is extended another 10′ eastward towards the pool with tin roof (sounds wonderful in the rain), with rough cedar log uprights.

When you walk into the kitchen, a large peninsula 10’9″ x 6’7″ divides the space from right to left. At the back wall is another LARGE 7′ x 4′ seaweed mosaic which is flanked by half marble columns. A boatload of cabinets under the peninsula – it’s a perfect place to hide in an F5 tornado – probably safer than the house. In the front of the peninsula is a space for 3/4 barstools and friends who want to watch the action in the kitchen.

To the right is the real workspace of the kitchen, double ovens and warming drawer. Wind around corner cabinets, to the north wall and stovetop, with a marble bookcase underneath for pots and pans. The stovetop also has a large seaweed mosaic above it and half marble columns, about 7′ tall above the stove. Accent piece. It’s SEAWEED – which is why the walls were supposed to be Aqua blue glass tiles to match the pool….. and cabana. NOT red travertine. NOW, my seaweed looks like tumbleweeds in the midst of a desert instead of seaweed under the ocean. Continuing on the north wall are upper cabinets for glasses/plates, and the Stanley Tool Chest for flatware and gadgets. Wind around to open wall, east side facing the pool, and the BIG MOMMA sink, more counter for dirty dishes, and kids counter which is about 4″ thick and carved with a 12″ wide “tongue” to drain into the sink.

The left side is more focused on entertaining space. Back wall contains the big master fridge, and housing for TV/master stereo controls, speaker switchers, and more upper cabinets. The south side is open but with a 10′ overhang to protect from rain, and offers the opportunity to gaze out under a large willow tree to an open field and back to the house – which appears to be VERY far away. There is a 6 seater table height built-in made of marble and granite with a chess/checkerboard for the kids – and many late night poker games, with a big fan above. Under the willow tree is the “Beer Cooler”, best thing I ever did. Around the SW corner on the outside is the frozen margarita machine counter and housing. Continuing on the south side is the dishwasher, the Fish Sink with an opposing 8′ higher bartop, and on the opposite side, outside SE corner, it the big stone grill. Around the corner are wooden cabinet drawers for bar gear and towels, then the huge slab bartop, with a 3/4 log edge, planed flat on top (I did it myself) and more marble “bookcases” underneath for liquor, plus the ice machine.

I finally did get the dream kitchen, it’s just located 600′ away from the house, completely hidden, and private.

We added on an Indian slate patio on the north side of the kitchen – to highlight India Slate for the “showroom”, with the Grandpa buffet for garden gear, slate pillars with what is now an enormous white wisteria vine. It’s big enough for 3 extra tables and another 18 to 20 people, and easy to wash off when I am repotting plants. A big closet runs across the whole back of the kitchen, to hide pool equipment, chairs, pool toys, and my extra BLUE tile.

While we were at it, we plumbed and wired for a bedroom/sitting room and another small bathroom…..cuz I might have to live outside one day.

Here are the appliance notes for the kitchen following the theme of Marica’s cabinet appointment and our collective Dream Kitchens. I am rough on appliances. “Reliable” is my key word.

  1. KitchenAid 4 burner gas top with a grill in the middle was a bust. It only goes to 3000 BTU’s on the big burners. This is okay for most homes and far beyond what most people are used to. Yet, the stove we have in the house was refabbed, originally made in 1937, and goes to 68K BTU’s. So, …..I’m spoiled. If I want to blacken fish or sear something, by GOD, I can do it. But watching/waiting for water to boil, out back on the KitchenAid is like torture.
    Patience is not my thing.
  2. Kitchen Aid warmer drawer is a 5 STAR winner!!! I use it all the time. Never had one before and thought it was a lux and unnecessary purchase in the beginning, but it was only $200 at the scratch and dent store. Yet, for holidays, keeping a casserole warm, hot dogs/hamburgers off the grill while I’m trying to drag kids out of the pool, —- I was totally wrong – best purchase.
  3. GE 30″ wide Convection double oven. OMG, perfect bread/cookies/casseroles/turkeys, saves time. Space ship like controls but easy to figure out. Love it. I had to leave the ovens at the store until we were ready for them. Another woman in town wanted them, badly —- but they were mine. Already paid for. She called my husband and threatened him……. Over an oven……………???? She’s weird.
  4. Double side commercial stainless fridge – 48 cubic feet, bought a scratch and dent (could not find the dent) and only paid about $2100 brand new. Makes me feel rich, like a queen, every time I open it. LOVE the extra space. Make sure to order extra racks.
  5. Sinks – Do you have any idea how much of my life is spent washing dishes? I put my foot down when it came to the sink. From my stone guy, I ordered a sink, engraved on the front “MOMMA”, it is MY sink. It’s 52″ wide, 36″ front to back, solid block of black granite with a 14″ depth. I mounted it HIGHer so I can reach the bottom but still deep enough to handle any big stockpot, and the front is concave, so I can stand – sort of – inside the sink. LOVE it. Also, from the sink, 90 degree angle, is a counter (another block of marble) which seats 4 adults/six kids, but it has a 12″ wide pour spout and the marble is carved and sloped with a slight divot in the middle, so the counter can be washed with the sink sprayer and drain into the sink. Saves me time with messy kids.
  6. Second sink – I bought a crazy-weird-shaped-sink for $18 at a builder warehouse. Come to find out it was a high priced German made fish sink that no one else wanted to buy. I took a chance. If it didn’t work, it only cost my $18, right? Perfect for trimming up vegetables and rinsing things off before a dish goes in the dishwasher.
  7. Ice maker, 100lbs an hour. Can turn it on and off when needed. A must for anyone who entertains. Costs a fortune to keep it running when not in use because the water runs all the time. Yet, worth it’s weight in gold when needed. Make SURE you install a water filter on the line to icemaker with easy access to change the filters. It will add years of life to the ice maker.
  8. Frozen Margarita/slushy machine. Can you imagine???? OMG, I wanted one so badly for frozen drinks. Yet, they were almost 6K for a new one. I bought a used one for about $1400 and we wore it out. Big T cleaned it one time, rinsing it out with soapy water, which is directly against all instructions, and ruined it. I’m still sad/mad. To make up for it, Big T bought me a commercial ice chipper for $169. It’s a DREAM!!!! Snowcones for days!!!!!!!! And we can custom order snowcone syrup in GALLONS for about $10 each. I probably used it 6 times a week for the past 10 years and have never yet changed the blades. The thing probably weighs 40lbs but it’s small. Note: I positioned it off on a back corner of an outside kitchen, and sloped the grade of the floor in that spot, so I could rinse off the stone deck easily. Don’t want that sticky stuff inside the kitchen.
  9. The food processer/mixer. Can’t run a kitchen without one. In the house, I can’t live without my kitchen aid mixer. Use it every day. Yet, it is a behemoth on the countertop. For outside, I found a weird manufacturer who made a mixer, where the guts/the engine, was mounted under the counter, and on the surface was a stainless steel cover which hid the housing. Therefore, all the attachments were kept in a lower drawer, only used when needed and kept the counter clean. Cost me about $200 more than a standard Kitchen Aid mixer but worth it. One of my better decisions.
  10. Drains in the floor. Most commercial kitchens have drains in the floor. So – when you want to clean the floor, you “go wild” and squirt DAWN all over the floor and then spray the floor, use a broom to scrub and water drains away. Convenient. In the house, I would clean my kitchen floor as much as 7 times a day. Pain in the A$$. Put drains in the floor if you can.
  11. Insta-hot. Under the big MOMMA sink, I installed a 50′ hose reel rigged up to the in-line hot water heaters. So convenient when it came time to clean anything, like the big stone grill or to fill a big pot with water. I would do that again in a minute.
  12. Bar space. One of the biggest problems I had in the house is that everyone wants to be where I am – in the kitchen and in the middle of the action. Yet, the kitchen in the big house is about 12’7″ x 10’5″. There is no room. So, in the big outdoor kitchen, I made 5 specific spaces (for adults and kids) so people could “feel close” to what was happening in the kitchen, yet stay out of the way of the cook. One was the kid’s counter which pours into the big sink. Another was a bartop/solid slab, which seats about 12 – which is perfect when I’m making thousands of cookies or dozens of loaves of pumpkin bread. The other 8′ bartop is made for people who want to join in the grill cooking or the people at the big bartop. Another was end of big peninsula island, the real workspace, for two people – perfect for the girlfriends I need to get out of the way. And the best one was a lower “table” which seats 6 – designed for the kids, with a chess/checkerboard inlaid in the marble. I find I use that table when I want to knead dough or decorate cookies because I can sit comfortably. Also works perfectly as a desk, and with a laptop, I can go anywhere and work outside.
  13. Beer cooler. The one item which gets the most attention. We built the space, worked hard on it, loaded it with marble/granite col materials, but I noticed guys would show up with cheap Styrofoam coolers and always dismayed cuz their beer was not cold enough. Sooooooooo, I had my stone guy carve a beer cooler, solid block of black granite – and it’s engraved “Cold Beer”. It’s about 3′ tall and about 30″ x 30″ on the outside but the walls are about 2 1/2″ thick. We mounted it on cedar logs as decorative trim but had to dig a footing because it weighs about 800lbs. It can hold about 3 cases of beer, and we pour ice over the beer, 2′ drain in the bottom. What I didn’t realize is that the whole stone block chills down and gets “frosty” – very appealing to highly testosterone laden men…… AND even in August in Mississippi, the beer is still cold the next morning after a party.

I ordered it as a Father’s Day present for Big T and I’ve seen grown men drool over that beer cooler. Perfect gift for a guy.

  1. Countertops, do we ever have enough? Most residential kitchens have between 40-60 sq ft of counter. In fact, 70-90 sq ft of counter space qualifies for a Texas mini-mansion. In the house, I am almost religious about keeping a clean counter cuz I have such limited space. The outside kitchen has 356 sq ft of counterspace. It’s perfect for group projects and BIG things. In the summer, when the tomatoes come in, we will buy 100lbs of tomatoes and make scratch marinara. If I’m doing a project for school kids, lots of cookies or cakes, it’s so much easier to cook out back. A big pot of Gumbo, or any kind of fish or shrimp project is easier to clean up outside. And do you remember the smell of coffee, bacon and eggs……….. cooking….. OUTSIDE????

Truth is, is was where we wanted to be…….. Outside, hidden, and private. I sure wish I knew you guys when we were planning it. Could have used the advice.


25 thoughts on “The Dream Kitchen

        1. You will laugh, but this is true story.
          When Trump Tower was built, Ivanna went to Italy to select the block for the pink marble in the interior, which sheathes the fountain space. It was expensive.
          But as I’ve said before, Italy marble dealers are just the merchants, the pimps for the beautiful who of Iran. The Pink Marble was tea rose. We know it well.
          I selected my block in Italy for White Arabescato. But I sent the block to China to have it cut into 44 slabs. Saved a fortune. Could then afford to be lavish with the slabs in master bathroom.
          What SHOULD have cost me about $75/sq ft ended up costing me about $4.50/sq ft.
          I learned my lesson…
          …. go back to the source to negotiate.

          1. I’m pretty sure ,even back then, that the grumps would have been cautious about dealing with Iran and china

    1. One of the biggest things I learned was to not fight what people naturally want to do.
      Think about it.
      I had this huge B&B, pristine and newly renovated, yet the corporate guys wanted to hang out – out back – around a pond – and drink beer.
      There are a dozen spots in the house, perfect for a wedding, yet a young couple wanted to get married in a garden which wasn’t even finished.
      I had to quit fighting it.
      We put in an lil’ pond and an ad hoc Tiki Hut and had to DRAG men/girlfriends/kids back to the house.
      They wanted to be outside.

      The night before my first wedding, my husband counted 18 people standing in our little kitchen. He joked, “Huge house and everyone in the kitchen.” Again, I had to plan for the people who want to be in the kitchen and quit fighting against it.

      Funny thing is…….. the first year we moved into the house, I bought trees from the local greenhouse, willows, red plums, bald cypress, a sweet bay magnolia, etc…… and planned to eventually take the back 150′ of lot to make a series of garden “rooms”. I nursed those trees “out back” for about 15yrs.
      By the time we did it, the trees were already grown to full size and provided the bones. Miracle of miracles, kind of like I planned it all along.

  1. Seriously, I think that the one main thing that drives good kitchen design is efficiency for the particular user of the kitchen, limited (or not) by space. Over the years I’ve cooked in 3 kitchens that were designed by the original home owners, one remodel, and one “standard” kitchen. I learned a lot about good design from using the original home owner kitchens and a lot about mediocre designed kitchens from the others. They’ve also varied in size quite a bit too.

          1. Again, you will laugh but understand completely.
            Original stove when we moved in was a big white beauty. Straight out of the 40’s, gas, 4 burners on top but 5 different ovens below, and enough chrome and wings (Art Deco) it looked like it could fly.
            But it died about a week before our wedding.
            And the space was only 39″ wide.
            Husband the contractor has freakish skills when eyeballing a measurement.
            He was out in the county one day and the truck in front of him was hauling an old black stove, from a country honky tonk, to the junkyard.
            Stove was built in 1937.
            He thought it was about the right size.
            Yep, 38″ wide.
            We refabbed it. And it is a HORSE.
            Six burners and the grates weigh about 20lbs each.
            The oven beneath is ONE large oven, so big, it has space for 5 commercial cookie sheet size racks – Do you KNOW how many cookies I could whip through with an oven like that???? Gunner used to play inside of it when he was little.
            But the oven does not work. Can turn it on, the pilot light sounds like a 747 gearing up, but no one YET has been able to fix the thermostat controls, so temp just keeps on rising.
            Too dangerous.
            We stripped all the electronic controls off the pilot lights, so I manually light a burner – and when everyone else’s power goes out – Daughn can still cook.
            I tease, when I die, I want to be buried with that stove……… Gunner says, “Hell no, I’m keeping it.”

            For ovens, we salvaged Electrolux super lux, unGodly expensive in the 70’s, from a client remodel when they upgraded in the mid 90’s. I’m still using those ovens and love them – but wish I had the GE convection oven up here.

            My current sink is 5′ wide and triple compartment as mandated by health dept. I hate it. Faucet is cheap as possible chrome but the only faucet available which could reach 12″ and hit all three sinks. Because the house is so big and we didn’t want to interfere with a guest taking a shower……… the sink is the last hot water source on the run. Takes forever to get hot water. I curse my ex-husband every time I have to wait.

            1. We have a triple compartment sink for washing dog dishes that DH picked up at an auction a long time ago as well as a double compartment sink. The triple sink has drainboards on both sides and the double sink has a drainboard on the left. When we moved here, we put the double sink in the tub room so we can use if for little critters. That is if we ever open up.

              We’ll see what the good Lord has in store for us, there’s no business in boarding now anyway. We’re focusing on expanding our gardening area. Daughter has been busy and resourceful.

            2. I wondered about the oven earlier, but that makes sense. I have a 4′ Viking gas stove that came with the house, and when I was mucking about with floor plans for the remodel, I contemplated replacing the stove with a smaller one as the footprint for the kitchen is only 9′ wide, and the stove is set at a 45 degree angle in the one and only corner. Everybody said, “NO!!! The stove has to stay!” It stayed, and I didn’t need to move it, kept the hood too. It does have electronic ignition, but it’s the sort that will light with a match anyway. 4 of the burners need a new fuse, but I just use a match to light them. I figure I can buy a lot of matches for the cost of the fuse(s).

              1. Hehe, I have a cookie jar full of match books but prefer the long boat lighter.
                The one out back has electronic ignition, but it’s new, so I cannot strip it off. Don’t like that part.

    1. VERY good point.
      My kitchen now, in the big house, was originally HUGE – but chopped up to form a pine paneled bar, a butler’s pantry/breakfast room, and a back stair/hallway.
      ONLY THE MAIDS were in the kitchen – so convenience, anything lux, didn’t matter.
      No kidding,
      when we moved in, there was a buzzer under the carpet at the head of the dining table to call the maid into the dining room.
      First thing I got rid of – since I am the maid!!!!!!!

  2. I had a stove with a double oven installed in the old Virginia house years ago and never regretted it. Also had a large, commercial-grade microwave installed. The one thing my late husband didn’t budge on was replacing the 50’s-era metal kitchen cabinets that were original to the house; I had them repainted inside and out with marine-grade paint and had new knobs and pulls put on. Then we made a “trade” — he got to keep his cabinets, while I got to design and install new countertops. The combined result was great!

  3. Finally solved the puzzle of why PDJT’s white shirts were always whiter and brighter than anyone else in the room.

    He wears Brioni suits and shirts too.

    “In Trump’s book Think Like a Billionaire (which Buzzfeed quotes from here), the mogul writes about his favorite suit and shirtmaker:
    The Best Suit: I wear Brioni suits, which I buy off the rack. Some people think it’s best to have custom-tailored clothing. I don’t recommend it unless you have an oddly shaped body, and unless you have a great deal of time.”
    “The Best Shirts: I’ve worn some great shirts over the years, but I now favor Brioni (the same brand as my favorite suits). Brioni shirts are fitted so they feel and look great. I used to have a favorite dry cleaner, located in Atlantic City, but I’ve mellowed a bit and I can handle the dry cleaners in New York City just fine now. Actually, once you get a good shirt, who really notices anyway?”

    Here are the shirts:

    They cost about as much as Melania’s stilettos.

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