24 January 2012

Spring cleaning

Yesterday I noticed that primroses have already started to bloom out in the yard. Wild cyclamens started blooming a month ago. And one big flowering bush in our neighbors' yard is already covered with red flowers. There's still no mention of freezing weather in the long-range forecasts.

As long as the weather feels like early spring rather than mid-winter, we though we might as well start our spring cleaning chores. Now that we have the upstairs loft finished and we spend a lot of time up there, we have a lot more vacuuming and dusting to do — or that we ought to do — than when our living space was smaller.

Here's the kitchen on a normal day.

That means other rooms risk getting short shrift. The kitchen, for example, which we occupy for many hours each day. The tile floor gets its share of spills, drips, and splashes. It gets a little wipe with an old sponge as needed, but periodically it also needs a thorough cleaning — it's what's called faire le grand ménage in French. We also pull out the fridge and sometimes the stove and dishwasher to clean under and behind them.

Out go the butcher's table and bar stools, and
in come the vacuum cleaner and the mop.

The kitchen probably looks quaint. It's not large. The only major change we've made since we moved in is a new coat of paint. The cabinets and sink were already here. That was important, because many of the houses we looked at back in 2002 had no kitchen fixtures in them at all — the room called la cuisine was a completely empty space with only a water pipe sticking up out of the floor in one corner.

Other houses had kitchen fixtures that really needed to be ripped out and replaced. With this kitchen, we just added appliances and the butcher's table and started cooking when we arrived in June 2003.


  1. The color choice is very nice. It must feel very cheerful in the morning.

    It is a very peculiar thing here in Europe. No kitchens when one buys a house.
    Our front runner choice for a house, has a nice 16ft by 17ft room which is marked "kitchen" on the Croquis, but nothing in it.
    Except a toilet. Yes, a toilet.

  2. I know what you mean. I'm really noticing the difference in housekeeping now many rooms are finished and we are really using all the house. I no longer have the excuse that we'll be producing a huge pile of dust tomorrow so why bother cleaning today. Mind you, it's nice being able to clean a room and not see a new coating of dust descend within hours.

  3. I love the red and white tile floor.

  4. The thing about the kitchens: until recently, kitchen cabinets and appliances were considered "meuble" as opposed to "immeuble". They were not built in and therefore just part of the furniture that you brought with you and took out when you left. Normally, however, the sinks, W.C., and baths, being attached (scellé) were part of the building. So, you robbers could take everything but the kitchen sink.
    Now, we have built-in kitchens. Still, one of the first reflexes of a home-buyer is to take out the old and put in new.
    This is on my mind because we are about to redo our kitchen. We installed the one we have back in '85, when we moved in and I've wanted to change a bit for the past 10 years, at least. But then, there has been the thought of selling the house and moving into a smaller place and you think you don't want to put in a lot of work and money... Luckily for me, we had severe water damage in the fall and the whole ground floor needs repainting, so we're going to redo the kitchen cabinets and counter, as well.

  5. That is a simple kitchen Ken - just the way I like it. You produce a fair amount of food in that small space. What this shows is that you don't need to spend thousands of euros on a shiny new kitchen, just so that you can show your friends how well you've done! Far better off spending your cash on food and wine.

  6. I love that red and white floor with the shiny white tiles and the bright yellow walls. It is very cheery :)

  7. you are much neater than I am.....i think I've pulled out the fridge to clean behind it maybe twice....and I dont see why people need humongous kitchens to cook in ....because then you have to walk many more steps between the fridge & sink/stove, etc.....there are many huge, granite filled kitchens out there that belong to non-cooks......I am perfectly happy in a smaller area myself

  8. That kitchen is perfect. You can tell because of the wonderful stuff that comes out of it!

  9. I've always loved your kitchen, especially that little towel rack on the butcher block which is handy.

    You make me want to do some cleaning- our daffodils are blooming and the cherry trees were blooming in San Diego last week.

  10. The kitchen looks so much brighter in the second picture.

  11. What a lovely kitchen. I can almost sense the smells from the oven. Your weather is strange; here in Australia also. Today 41 degrees where I am in Perth, Western Australia, and floods in the major city centers of Queensland. How lucky are you to have primroses! Everything here is wilting...

  12. Starman, in the second picture the roll-down shutter on the kitchen window was open; on the other, it was closed.

    Ellen, I know what you mean about removable items. We were lucky to have door knobs and even some light fixtures in the house when we bought it.

    Meredith, I really like that kitchen floor too. And tile floors in general. Easy to clean, I think.

    Everybody, thanks for the comments.

    My sitemeter counter went up above 400K yesterday or the day before. That's 400K "hits" in six years.

  13. As always, you've provided a very timely information for homeowners. Good job!


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