Cooking & Living
Of all the rooms in the canal house, the kitchen has seen the most change throughout the centuries. A major change came in the 20th century, when gas mains, water mains and electricity were installed. Even though it may not be the latest in kitchen design, the early 20th century kitchen is still beautiful and will not be replaced by a more modern one.
The kitchen is located in the basement of the canal house, facing the garden. My initial idea was to take out the back wall, creating room for a large window with doors opening onto the garden. However, around two years after making the large windows and double doors I changed my mind. The photo on the right shows my initial window and doors. You can see the new back wall further down this page.
The inspiration for the kitchen, in particular the window and the kitchen sink, came from the kitchen of castle Twickel in the Netherlands (I can’t show you the photo of the kitchen I used for inspiration due to copyright issues). It was the combination of the solid wood sink and the copper pots and pans which particularly appealed to me.
August 2008: On the left side of the kitchen I made a false wall with a deep arched window and a niche with the same shape.
I made the kitchen cabinets using 3 mm plywood, for the drawers and doors I used 2 mm plywood. The paint is the same one I used in the drawing-room and dining-room, a matt paint in the colour ‘sandstone’. I used a mix of acrylic hobby paints to age the cabinets a little.
The original kitchen countertop and sink at castle Twickel are made of solid wood and have worn beautifully after many years of use.
For the countertop in my canal house I have used some cherry wood. I recreated the grooves and wear of the countertop with files, sandpaper and a sharp knife. The water stained but deep, warm colour was achieved with some acrylic paints and furniture wax.
The walls of the kitchen are tiled with the typically Dutch tiles called’ witjes’ (little whites).
Although the name suggests differently, these tiles aren’t actually white, but are slightly coloured with green, yellow, blue, pink or gray. These differences in colour originally occurred when the tiles were baked together with highly coloured (and far more expensive) earthenware. Nowadays the glazes are mixed into the colours of the original ‘witjes’.
In the 17th century these tiles were extremely popular and often used to tile the entire kitchen. For today’s kitchen the modern version of the ‘witjes’ is still a popular choice.
I have made my ‘witjes’ from card stock. First coloured some card with acrylics, then cut out lots of squares and glued them to the wall. When dry I put several coats of spray varnish on them to give them that glazed look. I grouted the tiles using DIY filler.
Of course I couldn’t resist and had to put some of the miniatures I made and collected in the kitchen. The pitcher was painted by me in a Cocky Wildschut class. I made the hydrangea after a real one I had flowering in my garden. The colours were so beautiful and vivid.
On display in the niche is another part of the collection of porcelain which I painted during Cocky Wildschut’s classes. On the work surface I have put something I really like (no, it’s not the wine!) : Dutch crispbread and real chocolate sprinkles….yum yum! The beautiful wine bottles and the oil and vinegar bottles on the countertop are by Hanneke (Minimini).
The lamp above the sink is from Heidi Ott, a steal at the Arnhem show (October 2008). The colour wasn’t quite to my liking, so I painted the lamp with copper and creme coloured Humbrol paints (special paint for metal and plastics). Now it matches my copper pans perfectly. The copper pans are all by French coppersmith Philippe Bordelet. Every time he came to the show in Arnhem, I bought several of his pieces. Sadly he passed away in 2008.
At the Arnhem fair I bought six beautiful wineglasses from Gerd Felka. The wine glasses seem like simple, ordinary wine glasses, but are really quite special. The glasses have been made with pulled stems, which means the stems are not glued onto the bowl but the whole glass is made in one piece. Great mastership!
One of the first things I bought for the kitchen was the miniature AGA cooker, a copy of the beautiful AGA cooker which was invented in 1922 by the Swedish Nobel prize-winner Dr Gustaf Dalen. The cast iron cooker works through heat retention. The cooking is done on the two hotplates under the chrome lids on top of the cooker and in the ovens. The AGA is always warm and also serves as a heater, making the kitchen a favourite place in the house! The copper kettle is by Philippe Bordelet.
Above the AGA I made an extractor hood using some wood and the moulding of an old picture frame. Inside the hood is a simple light.
A favourite element, which I added partly because I saw it in the inspiration photo, is the addition of the water pipes running along the wall to the AGA. The AGA now also serves as a water heater.
My small collection of copper is on display to the left of the AGA, ready for cooking the most delicious miniature dishes.
Since these photos were taken I was able to add a few more pieces. My favourite piece is already here: the long copper fish kettle.
And oh! the poor kitchen gloves! Again, one of my first purchases for the kitchen. They were perfect, just like the real thing, until two young guests played with them on their dolls and they ripped in several places. Then a few years later some hungry mice got a hold of them. And finally…time is their latest enemy. Anno 2020 they now are crumbling memories of my humble dollshouse beginnings….
While I was still working on this wall and the kitchen sink, I temporarily moved it close to a window where I was able to take these photos with my real garden in the background. The photo on the left you can vaguely see the colours of the real hydrangea with its miniature version sitting on the window sill. Lovely photos, but once I installed this part of the kitchen the view was gone of course.
My next project was the right side of the kitchen and the floor. I had planned to put the cupboard I made in 2007 during the Guild School in Castine in the kitchen. But then I realised it would never hold all the kitchen accessories I had acquired over the years. After some deliberation I decided instead to build a large work table along the wall to the right of the AGA. The style of the work table matches the kitchen cabinets, using the same cherry for the work surfaces and the same paint colour for the table frame and legs.
Below the work surface I have plenty of room for some of the bigger kitchenware I collected over the years: stoneware bottles and jug by Elisabeth Bettler, copper fish pan by Philippe Bordelet, bundt cake mold by Anita Degen (Keukengerei van rond 1900). The three nested bowls were hand coloured by me during a porcelain painting class. I tried to make the colour of the bowls so that they look like French mixing bowls.
The basket with the large wine bottle is by Waldermar Backert from Germany (bought in 2007 at the Arnhem fair).
Left: The hanging cabinet is one that Mark Murphy made as part of our class instruction in Castine 2007. I saw Mark throw it in the waste basket but he fortunately allowed me to retrieve it. So here it is now in my kitchen filled with some lovely porcelain tureens by Veronique Cornish.
Right: The shelves are filled with porcelain, hand painted by me over the years in Cocky Wildschut classes. The red wall sign says: “The coffee is ready”. It is a little advertising gimmick by leading Dutch coffee brand ‘Douwe Egberts’.
2019: I added an old coffee grinder to the wall. It is the same brand as the wall sign.
When I started building this kitchen I planned on making the back wall all glass with large glass doors opening into the garden. (See photo at the top of this page). But as things go, my plans changed over time.
The back wall now has three windows and a kitchen door. Underneath the windows there now is space for more counter tops. A butcher’s block and a small fridge I made years ago for another project fitted the space well. The refrigerator has a little light inside but that still needs to be connected to the dollshouse wiring system.
I made the kitchen table from cherry wood which matches the countertops. The lamps above the table are by Ray Storey. They’re beautiful and good quality. I accidentally hit the lamps with my hand dozens of times while arranging things in the kitchen, but thankfully both lamps are still working perfectly.
The kitchen chairs were made for me by Kim Selwood. They are the ‘Clisset’ chairs, originally designed by Ernest Gimson. The Arts & Crafts chairs are very similar to the typically Dutch kitchen chairs which have been used in Dutch kitchens for centuries. The chairs look quite at home in my kitchen.
The copper watering can was made by Philippe Bordelet. The auricula’s were made by Gill Rawling of Petite Fleur. Gill makes the flowers from very thin metal. The metal makes flowers and plants much sturdier than flowers made of paper and has the added advantage of not fading as easily as paper tends to do.
A glimpse of the garden can be seen through the windows. A good place to sit and eat when the weather is good. In the raised bed against the side wall a small espaliered apple tree is planted and underneath the tree some vegetables and herbs are ready to be picked for cooking.
Back to menu
Back to menu