Monday, August 28, 2006

Dans La Cuisine

Husband and I have recently begun our first house-hunting adventure. We, or maybe I should say I, know what we want. City center, 19th century or before, yard. That's about it, in terms of absolutely essential things. All of which make husband cringe because something in the suburbs built about 50 years ago would be a lot cheaper. But jeez, it's so nice that they have liveable city centers, and old houses are cool, and kids need a yard.

So we've visited a few houses. One was very nice but the first floor was really narrow. And entertaining is already really limited in the house we have now due to small spaces so I'd like to move on to something a little more accomodating in that sense. Another, my favorite so far, is charming, very nice first floor with lots of space, smallish bedrooms on the second and third floors, small but cute yard, 4 blocks from Boys' school. The downside, the bathroom needs some major work. A third, neither one of us really liked the house, but we both loved everything else about the place. A great yard, a guest house (!!), and a green house.

All the places we have seen have one very terrible thing in common. And it is something that seems to contradict one of the cornerstones of French culture. They love food and all things about food. And yet, the kitchens are ridiculously small. What is up with that? Why are all the kitchens here so small? Why? Why?

In all the years I have been here, I've seen two kitchens worth notice. One was in a château and one was in a hôtel particulier (a mansion). Nothing similar will fit into our budget so I'm left facing the reality that I'll probably never get my dream kitchen. All the other kitchens I've seen are like little food laboratories. You have everything you need to get the job done and no more. No corner benches, no desks, no window seats, no reason to stay once the job is done.

Maybe that's why. There was a time when guests were limited to certain rooms in France. They didn't go into the kitchen, they stayed in the living room or dining room or sitting room and that's it. Closest friends and family might have access to the guts of the house, but that's it. Socializing didn't happen in the kitchen. Which still baffles me because at home, correct me if I'm wrong, but, at a party, where does everyone end up hanging out? In the kitchen.

10 comments:

Lorraine said...

Good luck on the house hunt. (I'm thinking the one with the guest house could have it's advantages. Especially in about 2 years when a certain American miss comes to live with you).

And you know, dream kitchens are made, not born. I finally have one. Don't despair quite yet. You could fall into a bucket of money any day now!

beth said...

Wow, a house, guest house and green house - are you secretly wealthy or is real estate reasonable in Laval? Yes, kitchens are the main room for entertaining - the kitchens hook into the great room and the back yard, thus they are the center of a gathering. I wish we could afford a new house - real estate prices here are insane.

Nicole said...

Lorraine - Yes, the guest house would be cool, but the house itself is very so-so.

Beth - I'm not secretly wealthly, that's for sure. The guest house needs much work (for now it's just a big store place that's pretty only on the outside) and the green house is probably about as big as one of your closets. Real estate is crazy here too, but not California crazy. More like Seattle crazy.

zeb said...

You need to change your perspective, when the basic food groups are bread/wine/sweets who needs a big kitchen.

I pick the one with the guest house, I will even help fix it up. Lets see I need a bed and mini refrig.

beth said...

Good luck on the house hunt - a guest house would be a dream for me! And, I'm with you on the big kitchen - I wish mine was at least twice the size it is! You should prepare yourself for the rush of your American friends camping out in your guest house! I'll be fighting Zeb for the goodies in the mini fridge

Nicole said...

Zeb and Beth- the guest house is definitely big enough for a big bed and a bathroom and a tv and a fridge. But the house itself, you know, where we have to live, is only ok. And major drawback, is facing the south, which means too much sun for me. Don't worry though, the one I like has a little shed in the yard which I thought would be good for the bikes and lawnmower (since there's no garage) but since you're all insisting on a guest house, we'll make it a guest shed. Let's see, there's probably enough room for a cot and a bottle of wine....

zeb said...

A cot and bottle of wine is all I really need. But if you must have a shed maybe I can store a bike there for my visits.

beth said...

And is there room for me to store a double jogger stroller?

christi said...

hey my friend mol was wondering if you know anything about iridology, and if it's actually legit...i know nothing about it but i figured you might.

Nicole said...

Christi - Don't know much about it other than that it is, in fact, legit.