We packed all of our things and headed to the chateau, ready for our first day and eager to get started setting it up. We arrived at the chateau to find my sister Shannon and her friend Mandy already making breakfast in a very cold kitchen. Within an hour the kitchen was nice and warm and we were pulling out dishes from the cabinets and cupboards to wash. You wouldn’t believe how many dishes there were. Dishes in the kitchen cabinets, dishes in the butler’s pantry, dishes in the dining room, in the grand salon, in the basement, and even in the wardrobe in the entryway. We washed dishes all day. ALL DAY! And at the end of the day, we hadn’t finished half of them by far.
Still, it was progress. We’d decided to get the kitchen and butler’s pantry set up first, followed by the dining room so that we could handle meals more easily. It also makes me feel a lot more settled if my kitchen is put together because all of life flows from the kitchen in my household. So, while the dishes ran in the dishwasher, we made a plan for how things would be arranged. I really wanted the kitchen to feel more rustic, warm, and inviting. It has a long wooden beam stretched above the wall where the stove and sink are located, like space used to be an enormous hearth. That thought sends my heart aflutter, y’all. Really. You have no idea how I’ve always wanted a kitchen like that. So, I asked if we could make that the focal point of the kitchen and arrange everything else to match. I was surprised when they all agreed, mostly because I’m used to thinking the exact opposite of how everyone else thinks and I expected them to hate my suggestion. Instead, they were excited to make it happen. So, I asked if we could bring in some rustic pieces of furniture to replace the cute 1960s kitchen table and cupboard that were already there. When I showed them the pieces I had chosen, they agreed and we all got busy unpacking the random stuff from all the furniture in question so it could be moved.
The first piece of furniture was really a gift from my husband. Yesterday when we arrived at the house, the sellers mentioned there were two pieces of furniture they couldn’t take with them that hadn’t been included in the initial sale and they wondered if we would like to purchase them. One was a grandfather clock and the other was a bread cabinet that was designed to stand in the kitchen as a work space and when the bread was mixed, it would be placed inside in a hidden compartment beneath the lid so that it could rise in the warm kitchen without being in the way. I won’t lie, I got a little teary when they explained what it was. So, my husband bought both pieces on the spot. That beautiful bread cabinet was sitting in the corner of the grand salon, but by lunch time it was in my kitchen, holding court in the very center as my work island. Graham will add hinges or sliders to it soon to make it easier to lift the lid so that the cabinet can once again do its job and I can hardly wait to see it full of warm, rising bread.
The other cabinet was in the small salon holding board games. It is the most beat up, weathered looking cabinet in the entire house, so it fit perfectly in my kitchen. By the time it was in place, the kitchen already looked like the vintage French kitchen I’d always dreamed of. Somehow my eyes glance right over the worn linoleum, the peeling wallpaper, and the assortment of outdated and half-broken appliances. In my mind’s eye, it’s a haven for the cold and hungry, a refuge where all are welcome and the bread is always fresh. Staring out at the setting sun as it fell beyond the green hills in the distance, my heart felt so full. As my mother walked in the door, she gasped.
“It’s incredible!” she sighed, tears in her eyes. “And it’s all yours! Are you happy, Heather?”
“It’s OURS, Mom. Are you happy?”
She nodded, shaking tears off her lashes. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted and I can’t believe we get to do this.”
I pulled her into my arms and we cried right there in the center of the kitchen. It’s ours, and I can’t believe we get to do this crazy beautiful #ChateauLife.