In December my long awaited kitchen item arrived from Poland:  a wonderful side by side refrigerator handmade by Dorota Mateusiak of MiniFanaberia. 


So cool!  Just like its full sized counterparts, the interior has an ice maker (complete with ice cubes), 'glass' shelves and pull out drawers, and working led lights.  A detail I absolutely love (well I love it all but these little extra's are just so special...) is the rubber seal around the inside of the doors!


As you can see I need to make lots of food items to fill it up.  I have made a few drinks cartons which were published in a Dutch dolls' house magazine many years ago and I have started saving packaging I use myself to eventually reduce in size. 

There are so many other wonderful details on this fridge.  Watch the unpacking video below (speeded up 40 times or more with corresponding sound).


The refrigerator is the piece I needed before I could continue work on the kitchen as I needed to see it in situ to determine the best layout on that side of the kitchen.  I decided the best place for it would be towards the front of the room, so it would be easy to see inside the fridge.

Below a rare insight into my messy work process.  I play around with many items of different sizes and colours to get a feel for what I like and whether it will work in the space.  The photo shows the combination of blue silk I chose as the backdrop for the kitchen dresser I had yet to make, wooden dresser, white porcelain and copper.  


I decided the kitchen and the fridge could handle a really large dresser on that wall, so I designed a dresser which in real life would be 3,05 meters wide and 3,24 meters high (for those of you who are metrically challenged 😉, that's around 10 feet by 10ft 7.5")


I looked at several full sized pieces to determine the construction method.  I routed many grooves and slots to fit all of the pieces together.  Always a bit of a puzzle, but fun to figure out and not too complicated.  With a slight adjustment on one or two of the drawers, everything fitted together perfectly.  


The top part is a very simple frame with routed grooves to support the shelves.  
By the way, all of the wood is pear.  I cut the wooden boards I needed for the construction of this dresser from a large piece of pear wood I bought several years ago. I cut the wood to size with my band saw and then run it through the thickness sander to get it exactly to the right thickness and nicely finished.  

This process is a lot of work and very dusty but I am very glad I can do this myself so I am not dependant on getting the wood delivered to me. I do have a dust extractor but it broke down mid work so I took it outside to continue. The photo below shows just a bit of the enormous mess it creates. There is an outdoor table somewhere underneath all of that wood dust... 


With the dresser in the making, it was time to start unpacking the copper and white china  I had collected in over 15 years.  It's a big collection, more than I remembered!  I usually buy one or two copper pieces and some white china at each fair I visit.  With two or three fairs a year, that amounts to quite a few pieces!


One of my favourite pieces is the Samovar which came from Elly's collection.  It did not look great when I got it, but when I polished it, it changed from an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan.  
After many hours of research I am afraid that I was unable to find out who made it or how old it is.

A samovar is a Russian water heater. Hot coal (or wood,pine cones etc.) is put in the central chimney and heats the water around it, thus providing hot water on tap for brewing a cup or pot of tea. The top ring can be turned over to hold a small teapot which will then be kept warm as well.  


It looks gorgeous on my dresser!  As do many of my other pieces I must say.  Apart from the samovar I have copper pieces by Philippe Bordelet, Country Treasures UK,  J. Getzan and Smallscale (Marie-Louise Markhorst).  The white china pieces are by Elisabeth Causeret,  Zus & Zo Marike Schenning, Nikki Nakki Nu, Avon, Puppenwelt Wengen and Stokesay Ware.  



With the fridge added and more copper hung next to the AGA, the kitchen is nearing completion.  And I must say I love the overall picture! 
At this stage I had to take everything out again to permanently attach the ceiling to the walls.  Then put everything back in. Quite a big job  I can tell you!  





I saw I have to polish the door of the fridge too ;-)  When I have time I'd like to make a few plants and herbs for the kitchen and, as I said, food for the fridge.  All these fun little details.  But I have to admit I am more of a builder than a maker of accessories. 

To be continued...(in a few years probably).   




Thank you all for the New Year wishes!
Let's begin 2020 with a continued tour of the pantry/laundry/toilet area.  

The pantry is situated next to the kitchen, in front of the toilet and laundry area.  Ideally there would be a wall and door separating these areas, but as that would mean the areas in the back would be very difficult to see and access, I opted for an open space.  
 I have hung several baskets from hooks on the beam in front of the window.  Over the years I have collected many baskets, but the two hanging from the chains came from Elly's collection.  These two are possibly made by either EsmĂ© Hofman (Netherlands) or Waldemar Backert (Germany) using traditional basket weaving materials and techniques. 


In the alcove between the two short walls I placed a kitchen work table.  The table fits perfectly.  
The lights are the same as in the laundry area, minus the glass globe shades.  I may still put those on there in the future or change them for other lights, as I am not too happy with them.


The work table is by Jane Newman.  The table was covered with tacky wax stains, but I managed to get most of them out with 'wasbenzine'.  I have never found a good translation for wasbenzine.  It is a cleaning liquid (removes grease etc.),  paint thinner and also a sticker remover.  Maybe naphtha? 


It is a simple table but I do love it.  One of the three drawers holds a collection of J.Getzan knives.  I'm sure in time I will find or make lots of items to fill these drawers with.  


One of my most recent purchases which I bought at small local fair is this sack of potatoes.  As a Dutch person of course there had to be potatoes in the pantry!  I could have made them myself, I know, I know, but I just dislike working with any kind of clay.  


I'll be on the lookout for more vegetables to put in the pantry.  Onions, garlic, maybe some leeks and kale... This area is by now means complete, but it will fill up in time.  


On the other wall, opposite the large kitchen work table, I built four spacious pantry shelves.
 I wanted to paint them a blue colour which I mixed myself, but once painted it just looked wrong. Then I spray painted them white which was too stark. The third time was the winner! It is the same colour as the toilet door. 


The little blue spice cabinet is not great quality, but painted blue and aged a bit I now like it. I also like how the 9 drawers correspond with the 9 window panes above the door. 


I finally got to play with my many kitchen pantry items I have collected over the years. A temporary display for now.  There is plenty of room to collect and make more food supplies and pantry items.  
I am going to try and to make some of the items I have in my own pantry.  There already is some Dutch tea, coffee, sugar, cookies and crisp bread on the shelves.  


Top shelf:  Cologne stoneware made by Elisabeth Causeret (France).  In fact, most of the stoneware is made by her.  The painted storage tins (third shelf from top) are made by Cees Eijking (Netherlands).  These storage tins were mostly used in shops to hold tea, coffee and such dry goods.  I have a couple in my full sized pantry as well. 


On the floor is a small and stackable wine rack I made for the pantry. The wood stain is a bit darker than I intended, but it looks OK.  Some of the wonderful wine bottles, like the ones on the shelf with the corks, are by Hanneke ter Berg Verheem of Studio Minimini.

So, as I said, I will be adding items in the future when I find or make them, but the construction work is finished in this space.  Back to working on the kitchen!