PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Clutching my well worn BUNGALOW KITCHENS book, I began collecting the pieces for my dream bungalow kitchen in Tampa. The first was the stove because I knew that it would take 2 ½ years to be restored, all the way in Georgia. When I had lived in L.A., there were several antique appliance sources, one within walking distance, where you could just walk in & buy an old stove.
Not so in Tampa. I found the exact stove I wanted on eBay in New England, & they shipped it to Georgia. I was at high anxiety about her little Queen Anne legs, having seen plenty of stoves with damaged ones & begged the shippers to be gentle with these delicate appendages. When it arrived in Georgia, I called the owner of the restoration shop for a status report & all was well with the lady’s gams. I set the timer for 2 ½ years. Tick. Tick. Tick.
The next step was the sink. I really wanted a green sink. I searched eBay, Etsy, Craigslist, local salvage yards for over a year. Every week I diligently scrolled, called & searched for my sink. I saw some very cool sinks, many of which would have worked well in my kitchen but I was intent on using jadeite green. For many years I have been stuck on yellow or red & white in bungalow kitchens but for some reason, those colors just no longer appealed.
Finally, there it was on eBay. Not only was it green, but it had clipped corners, like the gable of my house! I outbid the competition & had the huge, heavy, expensive sink shipped to me where I put it in storage, awaiting the 2 ½ years until my stove would be ready, to pass. Only 1 ½ years left to go!
On to flooring. I had, long before, admired a green checkerboard floor in Jane Powell’s LINOLEM . I am a big fan of lino but, I also really like the resilience of cork, which is available in limited colors. It was not easy to get samples of either of these materials. What was common in L.A. was down-right weird in Tampa. Fortunately, we carried 2 lines of cork in my flooring company which allowed me to get my samples directly from the manufacturers.
The linoleum experience was pretty funny. I called a flooring store that mentioned lino on their website. I was very explicit- linoleum, not vinyl. Do you know the difference? “Absolutely! We have samples in many colors.’
I grabbed my keys & trotted out the door. When I arrived at the showroom, I was directed to a large display of, you guessed it- vinyl. The salesman thought that they were the same material. He was very confused. Fortunately, the next store had real lino & I got my samples.
THE DREAM BUNGALOW KITCHEN COLLECTABLES FRENZY
Meanwhile, I accumulated mountains of kitchenalia- old mixers, toasters, coffee pots, cooking implements. All in my beautiful jadeite green. My biggest addiction was potholders- kitty potholders. It got to the point that I was wondering if I would need to build a kitchen annex to display them!
I also had quite a kitty teapot problem. The thing with the internet is that one can amass a lifetime collection of about anything in a matter of hours. And I did! Over the course of 2 ½ years I gathered several lifetimes of kitty teapots. I paused only long enough to add to my kitty pillow collection. At least I had a bed on which I could display them!
Poor Hubby, every day boxes of this stuff arriving, none of which made any sense to him.
Then there was the cabinet jewelry. When I outfitted my 1910 Craftsman in Eagle rock, I formed a friendship with my hardware specialist at House of Antique Hardware, Jennifer. She assisted me in choosing lighting & in finding replacements for some of my other hardware. If they didn’t have exactly what I needed there, she would search it out for me through the many connections she had developed in her decades in the industry. She truly lived up to her title of hardware specialist again & again.
Turned out that her sister had a winter place in St. Pete so when Jennifer came to visit her, we would get together & she & I would talk old houses & her sister & my husband would talk food. (Sister introduced Hubby to his favorite restaurant in Tampa Bay.)
Because I never got it together to restore my Craftsman kitchen, I decided to use knobs & pulls in my 1925 Mid-Century Modest that were wholly inappropriate. I had planned to use these in clear in the Craftsman & wanted the green for the 1925’er.
My dear friend Jane Powell was a preservation bulldog, however, she left the door open by saying that anything was fine if it had a really good backstory. I consider this to qualify as a really good backstory. Heck, when she restored her own kitchen in the Sunset House, she used an antique candy store display case as a kitchen island & she was delighted with it!
On this page you will see many pictures of Jane’s beloved bunga-mansion, an altogether imposing house. One of the things that I admired about Jane was that she was so at home in this house & so not overwhelmed by its size, & frankly, the discomforts of living in an very old, partially restored mansion. As beautiful as it is, the stairs are steep, you can get lost in all the rooms, & it’s really cold. The last time we were there was just before Christmas & I shivered all night long under 3 folded double blankets.
THE BUNGALOW KITCHEN DREAM CRUSHER
Mid the 2 ½ year wait for the stove, surrounded by my lino samples, my sink, my potholders & my green glass hardware, the Recession hit. Construction shrank by 86% in Florida. That left all of us scrambling for the remaining 14%. We lost $50,000 on a Victorian we had restored. I was on the sidewalk every weekend, yard saleing my childhood dolls, Grandma’s pressed glass & my Christmas decorations to make my payroll.
When the stove restoration was finally complete, we carted it home & parked it in a corner in the ugly kitchen. After the financial hit of the Recession, I couldn’t justify the expense. Additionally, working 80 hours a week, I never had a spare minute to put it all together. When we sold the house, I finally admitted defeat, donated the sink to Habitat & sold the stove, the potholders & the kitchen implements.
BUNGALOW KITCHEN DREAM REDEMPTION
I blog about bungalows because I have been talking, writing, advocating & educating for & about them incessantly over the past 20 years & living in them for over 40. I should have been blogging about them since the dawning of the Age of the Internet. It took searching my heart, house bound in a world-wide pandemic, for what brought me joy to get me started blogging, but better late than never!
After experiencing too many hurricanes in a frame house, I now live in a 1955 block, Modest Ranch. (The pink 50’s sink- remember?) This house when I purchased it, was almost completely original. The kitchen had been messed with so I put it right again & I used my 1910 glass hardware (in black) because, by golly, I have a good backstory!
This article is all about my long hoped for bungalow kitchen. Thanks to my blog, I got to put it together & show it off to hundreds of people.
Thank you, gentle readers. You have mended my broken heart.
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