Once we bought an old house with a mid-century extension and a deep yard in a small village. We had lived in this village before and it was very dear to us, but we decided to leave for one of the reasons that can be found on the list of reasons for which people who love a place might still need to leave it. We didn’t think we’d ever be back here to live, but here we were with our boxes and young children. I made a garden and marveled at the silvery green of the Lamb’s Ears. Tall trees made a ring in the back of the yard and at night I would stand at the window and listen to the sound of wind rushing through their circle.
We moved away again, first halfway across the country and then to Nova Scotia. Our old house had been rented while were gone but shortly after we moved back to the east coast our tenants gave their notice. We were driving away from the house, trying to decide what to do with it when the idea came to divide it, making the extension, including the kitchen, into a separate apartment. The remaining space became our cottage.
For 5 years, we’ve made do without a cottage kitchen, carrying down water from the upstairs washroom for cooking and washing. It was fine actually, like camping indoors. The decision to put in a kitchen came slowly - a plan for a sink, then researching the cost of a propane stove and now here we are, one shelf left to hang. We call this place our cottage but the word doesn’t quite fit. It’s our second home but at a distance from our daily life, a hideaway.
Our new kitchen is a mishmash of eras and styles, but it’s warm and simple. Ikea cabinetry mixes with antique furniture, old wood with new butcher block. My collection of thrifted stoneware is stacked on a shelf and the fridge is tucked into a pantry closet. We tried to make a space that works naturally with the rest of the house, without feeling like a period reproduction; a kitchen that could’ve evolved comfortably over time.
After 3 months of packing, driving and working every weekend we’re tired, but we have the summer in front of us, long evenings with friends and family gathered around the kitchen table, a new sink for washing up and always the Atlantic wind moving through the trees.