The heart of the home (My kitchen Must-Haves)

I've said it a million times...when you are self employed, and work from home, it is so so easy to lose track of time. I know that so many of you guys can relate. Any life long professional artists, very busy etsy shop owners, or full time'll find yourself asking your "normal" friends who have "proper" jobs: "what DAY is it?" 

 There are a million obvious reasons for this...mainly having to do with the Groundhog's Day effect. One day melting into the next, repeating and repeating and repeating. That's why the past 8 or so months seem to have been a blur for me and Aaron. That's about the length of time that we've been living in this house. It feels as if the entire time we have been living here that we were on pause. Ok, well maybe not exactly on pause, but I'd say at least a very slow cruise control.

For anyone who is a newer reader...let me catch you up on how and why this came to be our house. Last Fall, Me and Aaron had an apartment in a beautiful town right on the ocean. We had been there for a few years and probably would've stayed there for many more. It was a small town full of giant white beach homes...old homes...many of them mansions and most of them were only inhabited during the summer. In the winter it felt like we had this charming little seaside village all to ourselves. We'd walk our pups the few blocks down to the ocean and just marvel at how gorgeous all of these big sleeping victorian homes were. And we even had a small downtown area...a great bakery, pizza parlor, post office, train station...all within walking distance...short walking distance...two blocks away! 
Ok, so there we were, fairly set as far as location goes. And things always seem to do...things changed.

My parents moved out of their home...sorta out of the blue...and bought land way far away in upstate New York. They decided that it was time for them to truly retire and begin their longtime dream of building a log cabin way out in the country. Now, they had very definite plans for their future home but nothing very solid in mind for the home that they were leaving behind. It was kinda in a limbo state. They put it on the market...but not with any real enthusiasm. Well, two of my brothers were still living there and it was assumed that they'd just stay there until the place sold, and then they'd find apartments or whatever. But who knew how long that would be?  They were both students, not working full time, and couldn't afford to keep up the payments, etc...

I'm am the oldest of five kids and when I thought about there being no more family home base I suffered a little twinge in my heart. All of us kids are all here at the Jersey Shore and we need a family headquarters. So I asked Aaron what he thought about stepping in and taking over the family home. OK, fast forward to...yes, that's exactly what we did. We moved in, my brothers became our roommates. And soon after, even my sister, who was living in Brooklyn, moved in too. For her it was an interim dwelling. A financial buffer zone between where she was living and where she would soon be living. So ok, I'm bringing all of this up for a reason. Remember how I said that the past 8 months have been a blur...our life on slow cruise control? Well, I mean that we just weren't settled into anything solid yet. And the reason that I'm bringing this up now is that I think we are finally feeling some firmer ground underfoot. My sister's interim stay here has come to a close...she is now in her new apartment. My brother Jay decided to move in with my parents way way upstate to help them build the log cabin, and me and Aaron are here, along with my brother Walt, and I think we're finally about to make this into our home. We've been here for 8 or so months but everything felt in we couldn't really put our mark on the place. We did a lot of temporary quick fixes...which I showed here on the blog. But nothing big. Nothing that truly says Jenny and Aaron live here. 

Well, I guess we put a little bit of effort into the living room. Giving two walls our signature hand painted stripes, and painting one wall with an oversized vintage wallpaper pattern. But this house won't be our home until we do the KITCHEN. For us, that is the heart and soul of our home and we won't feel comfortable until we get the kitchen right from top to bottom. Luckily, we are starting out with a good bone structure. My dad built the cabinets, we've got wood floors, and a great big 'ole stainless steel commercial stove. As far as the wood floors go, they need refinishing, and I'm not sure if we're gonna stain them black or figure out a way to have my absolute fave kitchen floor and white check.

It's exciting to finally be at this stage of development. We feel on the verge, the end of the diving board, and we're ready to take the plunge. I've been pinning like crazy and referencing some of my favorite old magazine tear sheets. We're gonna tap the gas peddle and get us out of that slow cruise control. We'll make sure to chronicle it all along the way with tutorials, diy's etc...
And now here are some of our Must Haves...

Chalkboard Walls

The dining room comes right off of the kitchen and I'd love an entire chalkboard wall at the far end of the dining room. It's a very small wall with a window in the center of it and I think a black wall will be perfect...and then adorning it with chalk artwork??? too perfect! We've been painting menu boards for homes, bakeries, cafes...and we just love the look. We were thrilled when the decor world went chalkboard paint crazy! We'll never get sick of it! Classic!

 Black Pendant Lighting

I'm certainly a pastel gal...cupcakes, frosting, aprons and crochet potholders. But I need black! For me it actually makes everything else sweeter! Just go with basic white or cream, with black fixtures and's the perfect starting point for our look. It's just clean and classic...and it balances the many sweet pastels that I'll be adding. I adore pendant lighting in black. These strong fixtures will ground my whimsy. 

Painted metal chairs

We've been a fan of these forever. I don't even need a full set. Even just one of them added to the mix works for me. I love the look. And again, it's all about being classic and sturdy and familiar.

Checkered Floors

We had them in one of our apartments but it barely counts...the kitchen was tiny and had no charm at all. Actually, all the charm was in the checked floors. They are the definition of classic kitchen. You'll find them in an astonishing array of venues...from a tiny retro cafe, to a grand old high ceilinged estate. I just love the bold graphic. 

We're looking forward to writing this chapter of our domestic development. We hope you'll follow along with us. What are your kitchen Must Haves? What is the beating heart of your home?
xo, Jenny

Happy October!