Day: April 10, 2019

Creating the Ideal Farmhouse Kitchen

Farmhouse kitchens have become timeless classics that are now replicated not only within spacious country properties, but have also become a popular choice amongst city dwellers, looking to bring some of this relaxed country style to their properties' interiors. Depending on your point of view, this style has never been completely 'on-trend' or has never been out of vogue so you can be safe in the knowledge that a farmhouse kitchen is a shrewd investment.

Classic farmhouse kitchens tend to combine a good mix of natural materials, earthy granites, oversized thick timber tops and chunky end-grain butchers blocks. The cabinetry tends to be in-framed but simple, sometimes with a chamfer or small cock-bead detail around the frame, often hand painted in buttery cream tones. This may also be complemented with the occasional oak piece. However, the detailing tend to be kept simple with the focus being on natural products.

When it comes to handles, pewter drop sometimes with porcelain inserts and pewter knobs are a popular choice given their practicality. Timber knobs can also be used to complement the laid back look of the kitchen and tie in with any areas of timber worktops. An increasingly common introduction to the farmhouse kitchen is granite worktops, which are often used with timber in high use areas around a Range or Aga and often teamed with a chunky end grain chopping board.

Often a period style mantle shelf will be the main focal point above an Aga or Range, as this helps to frame the main cooking area as well as being a practical feature by providing extra shelf space to house pots and ornaments.

Another key feature of the farmhouse kitchen is a large / double Belfast-style ceramic sink, with a bridge tap over to make maximum use of a practical sink area.

Most farmhouse kitchens also have a separate free-standing welsh style dresser, often with a timber top, which may present the opportunity for further shelving space. This reinforces the main concept of the farmhouse kitchen, that most kitchen items are in sight rather than stored away.

The overall farmhouse look is gained by a large number of cabinets with a generous area of ​​worktop, often with decorative features such as bookshelves and plate racks as this helps to give the kitchen a real lived in feel without requiring much effort.

Introducing a few farmhouse elements into the home can make a potentially unwelcoming modern kitchen seem more homely and appealing. However, the complete farmhouse kitchen is set to remain a popular style, especially amongst families and those with large eat-in kitchens as it is an easy to live with practical choice. The style also suits most types of house, from the modern house through to period properties and barn conversions. …

Gone With the Wind: The Zodiacal Parade

On 4 July 1776, the United States was born, declaring its independence and freedom from British rule. One complete Uranus cycle later, on 12 April 1861 at 4:30 am, the first shots of what would be a long and bloody battle rang out in the spring air at Fort Sumter, North Carolina. The Civil War–and the ugliest chapter of American history– had begun. Standing as one of the central issues of this terrible war was slavery. By the time the war had ended, Abraham Lincoln and some 630,000 American soldiers were dead, the highest number of casualities killed in any war in US History.

It is on this grim war and its survivors that Margaret Mitchell based her best-selling, Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Gone With the Wind (published in 1936). Set in the pre-war Old South, Mitchell writes about the fictional life of one of literature’s and the silver screen’s most memorable heroines, Scarlett O’Hara. Scarlett was a sixteen year-old girl living on her father’s plantation when the war broke out. The 1000- page plus, doorstopper of a novel chronicles her life as she struggled not only for her own survival but also for that of her family and other household members (slaves) as they fought off Yankees. Running parallel to this storyline is Scarlett’s rather tumultuous love life (she was married three times) and most famously, the love triangle between Scarlett, Ashley Wilkes and the dashing Captain Rhett Butler.

“If the novel has a theme it is that of survival,” said Mitchell when Gone With the Wind was published. “What makes some people able to come through catastrophes and others, apparently just as able, strong and brave, go under? It happens in every upheaval. Some people survive; others don’t. What qualities are in those who fight their way through triumphantly that are lacking in those who go under… ? I only know that the survivors used to call that quality ‘gumption.’ So I wrote about the people who had gumption and the people who didn’t.”

It is interesting that Mitchell based her blockbuster on the losers of the Civil War, the Southern Confederates rather than the popular winners, the Northern Yankees. But then, as we shall see, Margaret Mitchell was no ordinary woman. Even more interesting is the divided opinion that the book and subsequent movie provokes: is Gone With the Wind one of the greatest love stories of all time or is it the most racist book–with its southern sympathies and portrayal of simple, happy slaves–ever published?

Perhaps for this reason, avid readers have failed to notice that Gone With the Wind is, as Neil Spencer describes: “a thinly disguised astrological allegory. Margaret Mitchell based the characters of her torrid epic on the zodiac, leaving a blatant trail of clues which were only picked up in 1978 when US astrologer Darrell Martinie was shown photocopies of notes from Mitchell’s library.”

Mitchell, using the Civil War as a backdrop, displayed these strong, memorable characters in a potent zodiacal parade …

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