If someone were to ask me when are you at your happiest, the scene would almost certainly involve food (and a large glass of red wine!). I love eating it and, although I haven’t always, I now love cooking it too. But for me, and undoubtedly for most people, food isn’t just about the act of consumption. It is, of course, the whole process of preparing, cooking and sharing food which yields the most pleasure. And the space within which that happens is equally as important.
The kitchen is our happy place – a space which brings us together as a family and where memories are made.
Be it baking biscuits with the boys, trying out a new recipe (not always successfully!) or chatting about nothing in particular while a roast cooks in the oven. It sounds simple enough but I haven’t always felt that way about being in the kitchen; it used to be a place which intimidated me, a space I felt disconnected from and which gave me little satisfaction. When we moved into our new house three years ago and took on our biggest renovation project to date, I knew I had to get the kitchen right. I wanted to change my mindset about cooking, I wanted to create a space which had multiple uses, which could bring us all together. Above all, I wanted to feel happy in that place.
Wood and copper tones complements the dark cabinets for a more relaxed atmosphere | © Elle Hervin - @elle_the_home_bird
Our 1930s house was not originally blessed with a large kitchen so we made the decision to knock through between the old kitchen and dining room and swap the rooms around. All of a sudden, we had this large space to play with. It gave us room to install a kitchen island – which has become the hub of the home; a place friends can sit and catch up while I make us coffee or where the boys can chat to me as I prepare dinner. Another must was a dining table which could withstand the rough and tumble that comes with three young boys. I sourced an old Victorian farmhouse table on Facebook Marketplace. It was a bit battered and one leg is shorter than the rest but that sort of makes it all the more loveable. And so the story of my (occasionally second-hand) modern-vintage kitchen began. Over the last few years, the kitchen has evolved from an empty shell to one that reflects our personalities and is a pleasure to spend time in (and I spend a considerable amount of my life making food for hungry little mouths!).
The kitchen island has become the hub of Elle's home | © Elle Hervin - @elle_the_home_bird
There are a few elements which have added warmth and character to our kitchen and been integral to creating the space it is now; wooden chopping boards and utensils, old stoneware pots and copper pans – including my favorite Ruffoni pieces.
Surrounding myself with items which are not only beautiful and tell their own story but are also useful and practical has helped me to fall in love with cooking and being in the kitchen – something I never dreamt was possible a few years ago.