Finding the joy…


I have finally, after many years of wishing, given my kitchen a much-needed makeover. I have now done up pretty much every other room in the house and the kitchen was the last one to do.

Here are the pics of my kitchen before (I had previously tried to paint the top cupboards a yellowy-cream but it looked awful!)

I have always hated the dark countertops and horrid sink

Here it is during the transition:

And here is the glorious newly made-over kitchen. (still one or two cupboard doors to be fitted but it’s basically done now)

It is so lovely and even better than I’ve been imagining. Every time I walk in the door I grin like an idiot because I love it so much.

As a side note – when I was planning this, I had showed several friends my plans for the colourful backsplash – a gorgeous riot of Mexican talavera tiles (spoiler alert – I didn’t even re-tile, they are vinyl stickers designed to go over your existing tiles – a quick, simple and cheap makeover! You can find them on Etsy here). Most of my friends had nodded slowly in a hesitant kind of way, saying things like “Are you sure you won’t get a headache from looking at that?” or “Well it’s not really my cup of tea, but if YOU like it I’m sure it will look nice….”

In other words, polite code for “She’s out of her mind, that is going to look AWFUL”.

So I was pleasantly surprised on sharing the finished pictures how many of my friends are raving about how amazing the tiles look (I knew they would look fab, because I’ve been visualising my new kitchen for literally years, and frankly who cares what other people think about my taste in decor anyway? But it’s nice to have one’s choices reaffirmed nonetheless).

Anyhoo, all this joy from my new kitchen has made me rather reflective. There’s a new TV show with Marie Kondo, based on her book about decluttering. The general gist is that you have to touch everything you own and only keep the things that bring you joy. I was walking around my house and thinking about how much joy it has brought me to redecorate it bit by bit, and slowly make it mine. I am fundamentally a materialistic person, I love my stuff. I love all the masks I’ve collected from around the world, and all my lovely pictures, and my amazing shower tiles, and my new kitchen, and so much more.

Which has made me think in turn of just how damn lucky I am. Not only in the first part for being wealthy and privileged enough to have been able to buy a house in the first place, and afford to decorate it and do it up in a way that brings me so much joy. But also because I hear stories every day of people who have lost everything – in floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, or who had to flee their homes and leave everything behind. It’s easy to think of refugees in abstract terms, but I am picturing how hard it would be for me to leave everything I love behind,  – not just the people, obviously, and my lovely cats, but to run away from the home that I have painstakingly built around myself, and know I would never again see my gorgeous shower tiles, or my lovely new bedroom, or my pictures, or my masks ever again.

Being materialistic and loving all my beautiful things makes me stop sometimes and appreciate how much joy they bring me, and also how lucky I am to have such a wonderful, safe and cosy place to live, and how many people out there don’t have what I have. So I am appreciating my gorgeous kitchen all the more for knowing how lucky I am to have it at all.

Here are some of my favourite things around my house:

My utterly glorious blue shower tiles.

My beautiful penthouse bedroom in the loft that I converted – it’s so calm and relaxing up there!

My amazing jungle wallpaper in the other bathroom. A riot of colour.

My ebony heads from Uganda

The fabric from Senegal and Kenya I have put on display in my hallway

My wonderful mask collection on the landing

And of course now my new kitchen!

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