Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Dream kitchens

Nostalgia is a funny old thing. It is something that I suffer from on a periodic basis. The term nostalgia is defined as a sentimental longing for the past, deriving from the Greek compound for 'homecoming' and 'ache' or 'pain'. Rather appropriate in my case as today I am mourning the loss of our home - or at least parts of our home. 


Building project for Edwardian house
Nostalgia and innovation in the making
At the end of February, we embarked on a project to extend the kitchen into the side return. In architect's speak, we are taking an innovative approach to reflect the needs of a rapidly changing world. We are contrasting a lightweight, modern extension with the red bricks of our Edwardian terraced house. In terms of old and new, it will be a bit like the Louvre Pyramid, except we are building a nice bespoke kitchen with a comfy family area (as opposed to a world-class art gallery).

As the new parts of the house take shape, however, we are bidding farewell to the old kitchen that has served us so well for seven years. My children have grown up in this kitchen - they have learnt their table manners on black granite, showcased their artwork on cupboard doors and even taken their first steps on the slate floor. In other words, I associate a bank of happy memories with a few kitchen units. And today the builders have ripped them out!

Of course I still want my new kitchen with its painted doors and double the floorspace, but I can't help feeling discomforted by the loss of familiar surroundings. Exciting as the new project is, I am still pulled to the past. That, I suppose, is how we build our identities. Our lives are indexed by the past and invigorated by everything the future promises. By holding onto that duality, we can perhaps appreciate the delights of the old and the new. 

Which, incidentally, is what we are trying to achieve with our new extension: nostalgia, innovation, some sliding doors to the garden and forty square metres of underfloor heating. May the old kitchen rest in peace.