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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Sprucing the Kitchen

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Beyond the normal washing dishes, sweeping the floor, 
and cleaning the countertops, which are everyday sprucing up chores, 
what do you do for 

sprucing the kitchen 

when company is coming? 

Guests have always spurred me to do a little extra cleaning, 
to give the house a little extra spit and shine, and often provide 
the incentive to make a few changes that are on the to-do list. 


Last summer the chipped white paint on the shelf over the sink was stripped 
back to a natural pine finish, a much-needed step in freshening the shelf.  

For several years I have been changing the overall look to our house, and 
have been drawn to a Nordic fresh white look combined with French inspiration.   

In anticipation of upcoming guests, it occurred to me that 
this was the perfect time to freshen the shelf's look, 
to simplify the arrangement by removing some items.  

By removing the moss star topiary, a live ivy takes center stage, 
and the Eiffel Tower wall clock has more space around it. 
The shelf now looks fresher and more like the Nordic/French look I love. 

A second way to spruce the kitchen for guests is with 
fresh flowers on the kitchen island. 
Ivy tendrils from the yard give an airy graceful look to fresh peonies. 
Arranged by my talented sister, a floral designer. 

By using a tall vase, there is ample space on the counter for other dishes 
without making the island look crowded. 

As the peonies open, their color changes from a deep rose to a soft peach. 

The ivy with the peonies coordinates with the ivy on the sink shelf. 
Repeating the same kind of plant is a subtle way to unify a room's look. 

Most people are unaware of details that make a space pleasing to them. 
They know they like a certain look or a particular room, 
but cannot identify exactly what appeals to them. 
When sprucing a space, look for ways to repeat patterns, designs, 
or colors that will bring the space together. 

When you see a room or space that you find beautiful, 
analyze the composition, looking for patterns 
that will help you replicate a similar look in your own home. 

While the colors of the peonies do not exactly match the colors in the plates 
and the paper flowers on the shelf in the stone wall, 
some of the peony pink shades do repeat the plates' pink shades. 
There are also soft blues in the vine patterns of the plates that 
go very well with the other blues in the room. 

A quick peek at some of my latest finds from an antique fair in Hico, Texas. 
This handful of silver plate flatware includes a couple of pieces 
of hotel silver plate that will be used in a special project this summer. 

My to-do list seems to grow and grow without getting shorter 
even though I do get a few things finished, 
like sprucing the kitchen sink shelf just in time for guests. 

While I love peonies, I also love how these white lobelia flowers 
in a big white salad bowl have that Nordic white sparse look. 

Sprucing the kitchen ... 
1.  Simplify arrangements 
2.  Fresh flowers on the island 
3.  Repeat ivy on the island and sink shelf 
4.  Repeat color 

Sprucing the kitchen always makes me feel good. 

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