Several years ago, we had an opportunity to buy into a dream we had: to own an old farmhouse that needed a little work, fix it up and create our own little paradise complete with lovely gardens and our own flock of chickens (reference the photo below). So, full disclosure, it wasn’t that straightforward – it never is, right? The house we landed on needed a lot of work (even as I type today, some projects have been done and some haven’t because…life!). As we walked through the house those years ago, I had no problem with its condition because it was ridiculously charming and came with a deep history. The fact that I was head over heels in love with the land it sat on probably did a little to keep my negative criticism at bay during that time too. This was the first working farm on our street and there were hints from its past on the property: a cement foundation where a chicken coop once stood, an incredible barn that clearly housed its share of livestock, a little meadow where horses once plowed the land for planting. By the time the possibility of living at “The Farm” became a discussion in our house, no one could talk me out of it.
Fast forward to today: It’s been a work in progress finishing interior spaces as we want (or need) to, but as we continue to check things off our master list, quite often more slowly than I would hope, I find myself daydreaming about the same thing: My Future Kitchen Garden. This “icing on the cake” project will symbolize the end of our long list of interior work and mark the transition to making the outside of our little slice of the world our own. In my mind, I know exactly where this garden will go and my daydreams are unaffected by the fact that the space is currently a pile of stones, branches and weeds encased, in areas, in a solid layer of poison ivy. This vision of a dream garden is my motivation to keep plugging away on the house – it gives me something to plan around and it motivates me to explore ideas for how we should integrate this outdoor space into life inside our home. Because, given the time I’ve had to think about this garden, when I do it, I am going to do it right.
Inside the house, abutting the “garden”, is a space that was transformed at the hands of various previous owners. It was kind of like a Frankenstein kitchen/living room/dining room/laundry/museum. Think cobalt blue laminate counter tops with cabinet fronts to match, a dishwasher, washer and dryer all in a row, the tops of which served as counter space for kitchen prep. This arrangement sat below a set of brand-name-not-to-be-mentioned casement windows that were very well on their way to the window retirement community, or a landfill somewhere. Within this very funky interior space, we created a “modern living area” including a real kitchen, laundry room, powder room and living room. The living room space used to be the actual farm kitchen when the family in residence still cooked over fire in a fireplace or beehive oven. It also happened to be where the aforementioned row of rotten casements lived, too. Now, I don’t know about you, but, as a member of the window and door industry, when I see a bank of rotten windows I don’t feel disappointed, I think “Ah, possibilities!” When the time came to transform this space, I knew immediately that this entire wall – from the kitchen to the laundry, powder and living room – would be a living frame for My Future Kitchen Garden. That fact led to careful consideration about how to maximize glass space and minimize plain, old wall. I spent a lot of time checking out other people’s ideas for inside-outside transitions (Check out this “Kitchen Gardens” Ideabook I created on the site Houzz.com – there are plenty that aren’t my style, but I couldn’t resist some of the creative ways people used doors to extend their interiors and bring their special outdoor spaces inside the home).
Today the Marvin Ultimate Inswing French Doors we chose serve as a frame for a (very special) patch of weeds, rocks and dirt, but they’re the first thing I see when I come through the door every day after work: and in reality, it’s the fact that I don’t see them that pleases me the most. These beautiful doors have allowed me to visually move through the living room wall in order to access my daydream. That’s the most pleasing promise that any design or construction element could offer: the ability to get out of the way to let my hopes and dreams be the star of the home.
Imagine the possibilities that some of Marvin’s more impressive doors, like the forthcoming Multislide, or the available four panel sliding door from Integrity will offer customers like me who want access to their dreams from inside their homes.