Rhiannon’s Jadeite Jewel of a Kitchen
In September of last year, Rhiannon and her family moved from Oakland, California to a 1938 Portland home set into the green streets of the Laurelhurst neighborhood. The first order of business? Restore the kitchen, bringing back some of the space’s inherent charm and color, but adding a few modern appliances to make cooking for a family easy. Join Rhiannon for a cup of tea in this adorable kitchen, rich with a lifetime’s collection of jadeite.
Rhiannon’s entire home is beautiful, but her kitchen is undeniably special. Rhiannon is a collector of Depression-era green milk glassware (jadeite, or jadite), and nowhere have I seen a kitchen cabinet so impeccably arranged with these beautiful plates, bowls and glasses. It’s wonderful to see the sparkling pale greens of this diningware in a cabinet and kitchen from a similar time period. Perhaps the original owners of the 1938 home would have been using something similar?
Other stunning vintage items of note are a jolly little toaster, blender (“it really pulverizes ice”), spice jars, cake stands, bread basket and salt and pepper shakers.
After seeing photos of the kitchen when they bought the home, decked out in faux granite countertops and a stainless steel stove, it’s apparent that the couple tenderly steered the kitchen to a more historical look, complete with a vintage-looking stove and fridge. The results are lovely.
Rhiannon and her husband work from home, and the kitchen breakfast nook is where they find themselves spending the majority of their time. And who wouldn’t be delighted by this sunny, east-facing set of windows that pour in sunlight all morning? It’s such a pleasant space, quite roomy for an older home.
10 Questions for Rhiannon (and Her Kitchen)
1. What inspires your kitchen and your cooking?
My husband and my favorite recipes come from his grandma. Though some of them are rich and creamy dishes, they are really what make me love a home cooked meal. We also love just the simplicity of fresh veggies, beets and white wine vinegar, just lemon and pepper on chicken, a roasted butternut squash, fresh ginger in a peach smoothie.
2. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
The KitchenAid mixer is wonderful. You know you’re baking something delicious when you pull that out to use. It’s really a treat as we try not to bake desserts too often. I also had to buy an old-timey egg beater to go with the kitchen. My son loves playing with that and turning the handle.
3. What’s the most memorable meal you’ve ever cooked in this kitchen?
I feel like every breakfast is memorable. We tend to eat big breakfasts breaking it all out, eggs, cheese, avocados, chicken apple sausage, yogurt, milk, different breads for toast. The sun comes in at our breakfast nook or we can look into our garden in progress and just daydream.
4. The biggest challenge in your kitchen:
I don’t keep a microwave in the kitchen. It’s a big frustration to my husband. I love to pretend I’m an vintage-era girl so it’s nice to learn how to live with out it.
5. Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Nope, I have my dream kitchen! What a lucky girl I am!
6. Biggest indulgence or splurge in the kitchen:
The stove carried a whopping price tag but we have no regrets. It’s almost better than a car. We spend more time with it and look at it more than our car.
7. Is there anything you hope to add or improve in your kitchen?
We just need one more Rejuvenation light for our breakfast nook. I always love adding more collectibles though, more old cake tins to hang on the walls perhaps. Oh, and I need to get the vintage French clock working on my wall. (I guess Leela didn’t notice she was stuck at 8am the whole hour!)
8. How would you describe your cooking style?
Simple. We don’t really have time to make extensive meals with a toddler. “Eating Well” magazine is one of our favorites to get recipes from.
9. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
My husband actually tells me, if I can follow a cryptic crochet pattern, I can follow a recipe. It’s just a set of directions. This made recipes less intimidating to me.
10. What are you cooking this week?
I think tomorrow I might make my simple pasta sauce. It’s just chopped basil sauteed in olive oil, then a can of stewed tomatoes. It’s very fresh tasting and isn’t a heavy sauce.
• Stove: AGA Legacy in Vintage White
• Countertops installed by Shadley Soapstone
We’re always looking for real kitchens from real cooks.
Submit your kitchen here.
Related: Shan’s World–Traveler Kitchen