Wednesday, January 05, 2011


I believe this is about the fourth post I have begun writing since Christmas, but with one distraction after another, I have finished none of them.

We are in the midst of converting a former kitchen and mudroom/entry way/laundry, both separate rooms, into one room. This will be the pantry/laundry room/mudroom. I believe, at one time, or even today...this room might have been called a scullery.

A scullery is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as a back kitchen, a room for washing up dishes, cutting up food, etc. In other words, an overflow kitchen. A scullery would have been where game Birds and Animals were prepared for cooking. The word is close to what our room will be intended for. It has a pantry in it, after all.

But sculleries have a bad name. In speaking with an older English client, I was told sculleries were the worst part of a home, where all the messy, dirty parts of keeping a home were done. I found a site explaining that the scullery maid was the lowest of the low, often found in workhouses and paid a very small sum.

But these days, as I tried to explain to my client, they even sell scullery sinks, which are very like laundry tubs. Our refurbished room has a new laundry tub in a cabinet, not a scullery sink, but I have no problem with imagination. There is also a very small cabinet, which was passed down to me many years ago. It came from an old scullery in Victoria. It will be repainted, leaving the old marks and dents still apparent. Graham will build a new top, out of Maple Wood we brought from the Coast.

The room will also have a linen closet. When we moved into this house, I remember wandering through, with a pile of towels in my arms. I asked...Where's the linen closet?... There was none. Our linens have been stored in one of the bedroom closets. In great disarray, I might add.

We'd taken out the dividing wall a month or so ago. But there was still drywalling and mudding to do. And there was a door to the crawl space which was taken out. There is a floor door now, giving us more space.

Moving the plumbing and electricity for the washer and dryer took some time. Then Graham built the stands for the washer and dryer. They are front loading machines and are meant to be on a stand, in order to reach the farthest points for that errant sock or hand towel.

I am accustomed to renovating...I have been a part of renovating each house I have ever lived in. Or a part of building anew. I'm not sure which one is worse, when it comes to anxiety and stress and just plain exhaustion.

But in only ten days, the scullery is almost done. There will be painting and flooring to do, but these are easy projects. I'm looking forward to moving in. I picture myself  coming in with arm loads of flowers from the garden, and cutting the stems on the long, stone counter to fit the vases which will be stored in one cupboard or another, all in order. It's a great vision!

A completed scullery means the World to me. It will allow me to be much more organized, with regards to homekeeping. There will be an ironing board always at the ready, with hangers and such all prepared to do their duty. There will be the pantry, where large foodstuffs, such as bags of flour and sugar and large boxes of cereal will be kept. The broom closet will finally be used as such, with the vacuum cleaner and all the other items used to clean this home in one place.

Our Dogs will now be able to come in through the garage, instead of through our bedroom. Since the washer/dryer will be moved and in their place, a bench for sitting whilst putting on footwear will be built, there will be ever so much more room for muddy, wet Dogs to come in and be towelled off.

Doesn't all this sound like a scullery? Without the scullery maid, unfortunately. I suppose I will fill those shoes!

This was a great project to do over Christmas and New Year's this year. With no travelling in the forecast, it was easy to concentrate on getting this room done, almost the final renovation we'll be doing in this house. The bathrooms will be next.

And after that, we will have finished what we set out to do when we bought this home. We've changed it completely...building a kitchen in a totally different spot in the house, painting each room, installing new lighting fixtures, changing the flooring throughout...and not to be forgotten, also building a woodworking shop for Graham.

Outside, we have built raised beds for flowers and vegetables. I discovered early on there was no point in digging the Earth where we live. There are far too many Rocks and Boulders. And we have gravelled a large portion of the front garden as well as the driveway, all the way to the Shop.

Only refurbishments to the bathrooms and changing the fence line to include the Shop are left to be done.

It is a good feeling, going into 2011 with most of the goals we set for our home met.

Even if there is no scullery maid...

Happy Belated New Year, everyone!!


  1. I am tired, just reading about all the work you've done! It must be quite the transformation.

  2. Oh. My. GOSH! Marion, I am positively panting with impatience to see the complete real thing!

  3. What a tremendous undertaking, Marion! Sounds like you’re an experienced renovator, though. What you describe is a wonderful blend of traditional and modern that will make life a lot easier for the current scullery maid. :) Congratulations for getting so much done in 2010. Now you're off to a good start in 2011.

  4. Your description of your almost completed scullery leaves me green with envy, even though I've never realized I need a scullery until this very minute. What a wonderful room it will be. I know you will enjoy it, even if you are the designated scullery maid.

  5. Wow, that's quite a new year's project. I bow to your tenacity and talent. xoxo

    Love & Blessings,

  6. I can't wait to see this either! But my favorite part of this impressive and wonderful story is understanding more about how you live. I love that part.

    Marion, I want to be sure you got my last email, covering my sorrid sad take and confirming your address. Emily is throwing frozen brussel sprouts because her card to you was returned

  7. Anonymous5:27 a.m.

    Incredibly hard work exciting! It must be wonderful to be able to have everything at your fingertips and a layout that suits your needs. A sigh of relief to be sure! I'm absolutely struggling with the house we are in...I feel like stripping everything down to bare walls and reorganizing it top to bottom to make our space more efficient. ( my dreams...!) hugs dear heart, from Ireland

  8. another new word i learn from you marion. :)
    sounds like you and graham have been really busy. and enjoying the fruits of your labour. how wonderful. happy new year marion! wishing you love and joy always.

  9. Katie May (or may not),

    I have to tell you I love your name. Kate was one of Katrina's nicknames when she was young, she was born in May...and to tell you the truth, she might do something and she might not, heh!

    In reading your blog, I know you have renovated as well on a continuing basis. You'll know what I mean when I say the dirt, the decisions, etc, can get on one's nerves...and Graham is a journeyman carpenter, so things go more smoothly, but still...


    I will post photos of before and after when the room is done...any photos taken right now just shows an enormous mess!

    aka Penelope,

    I am attracted to older heritage homes. This home, when we moved here, was the only one on the market that fit somewhat,even though we knew renos were in order. But it is new...I find myself missing the old. Perhaps this new room will replicate some of the old, some of what I'm missing.The smells, the feel, the unexpected...

  10. Linda@VS, funny! I know your young Levi would probably love one as well. I'm not sure if you have a mud season, but lemme tell you...his innocent, lovely eyes may not be so innocent, heh!


    I'll have to pass on the tenacity and talent to Graham...if it had been up to me, it would probably still be a tiny kitchen and teeny entry from the garage, heh heh!

    I'm really only the one who picks colours, flooring and such...


    Oh, Emily's gone on to brussels sprouts from the frozen peas. She'll be chucking cabbages next! I've sent you an email this morning. I'm playing catch-up...with Hospice and renovating...correspondence has gotten away from me.

    I'll be posting photos when it's done, dear friend!


    I envy you living where and how you do...I love reading about it.

    Your email to me was so incredible!! There are so many likenesses between you and amazing to validate how connected we all are. I intend to answer your email this afternoon...I have some things to tell you as well! xo


    Sweetie, the best of happiness in the new year to you and Gene. And what a year it will be for you! Hang in there and keep the dream fresh!!!

  11. A great winter's project, seems to me.

    We once re-did a bathroom floor with those tiny squares of tile. I used too much glue and it squooze out between the pieces giving the whole surface a definite slip-proof quality.
    It took us months to cut the glue square with the tile surface (didn't need any grout!) ; but I learned the specifics of glue-spreading tools and their alternate design.

    Best of the new year to you and Graham.

  12. This sounds so wonderful!! I love pantrys and storage and laundry rooms! I guess all rolled into one it would be a scullery. You've given me a totally new visual to play with now. Did you know I have pictured you living in a cabin? A very nice cabin, mind you ;)

    Looking forward to pictures, and it's always nice to see a post!


  13. I've always wanted a scullery. I've had a pantry (twice) and while I love those rooms, a full scullery would just be lovely. and I hear you with the potential for organization - it sounds lovely and do-able. enjoy!!!

  14. Sounds wonderful! No scrubbing on your knees though you hear? Heh. I'm getting there with a mail back to you hon, have fun with your scullery! xxx

  15. Marion, I can't wait to see! Sounds wonderful.

  16. Marion: I find it amazing that homes used to be so well-equipped for the necessities of life ... Funny how sculleries and cellars are replaced with more bathrooms, bigger kitchens, and open floor plans. There is always work to be done in my house, and now you've got me yearning for a scullery too!

    Congratulations on nearing the completion of your home! Sounds like everything is tickety-boo!


  17. no scullery maid but a scullery made. it sounds wonderful. boy, do I hate not having a linen closet. Who ever thought up to build a home without one. Your house sounds beautiful and you and gordon did it all yourselves. What a delight to live there, I imagine. congrats.

  18. I mean Graham. but i note I am not the only one to goof as someone called him Gene

  19. I will have to compare notes with you as I begin my building later this year - and I will also have a scullery/laundry room - I think it just makes more sense to keep the "mucky" bits of housekeeping out of sight! :-)
    Good luck with your project!

  20. Goatman,

    Oh my! On looking back, you probably find it funny, but I'll bet when you were chipping away at the glue, it wasn't so hilarious! But we were younger then than was so much easier to get down on our knees, heh!

    Keep hanging in, Lyle...the best of the new year to you and your family as well. I hope things are going ok.

    Studio lolo,

    Laurel, thank you so much for the surprise call, and there is, hopefully, an email written and sent to you today! I live in a small 3 bedroom rancher, but I love the idea of a cabin. More than Graham does, unfortunately, heh...he looks at all the work required from him to make a place safe. So the cabins we looked at were quickly struck off the list!


    I think I must have been a scullery maid in a past life. The smell of clean laundry, the sound of the dryer and washing machine, foods all lined up on their sounds like heaven to me!

    All Consuming,

    I hope the flu bug has been vanquished, sweetie...stay warm and drink lots of fluids, you hear? I'll be thinking about you...

    Annie Coe,

    That's why I wanted the NO Grumbling sign from you...I needed it to remind me during this reno. It came just in time!!!!

  21. Nicole,

    I love the first photo I posted of a scullery in a large that's a room where I could spend a lot of time.

    Everything is going along just as well as could be...we were behind, because of Graham's long illness last year, but we've caught up famously...


    I love your first sentence! It's perfect!

    I have no idea why someone would build a home without a linen closet...and I have really no idea at all why I didn't clue in on that when we looked at this house. I only looked through once, with the owners at my heels, and I expect that's why I missed the so important linen closet. It's taught me a lesson, though...I will look for a linen closet first when I next buy a home!

    Oh, and Suki...Gene is Alison's husband's name...


    Oh, I am sure you will love it...especially with all those baby keets and their dear old dad, heh!

    We made sure the floor covering we used will stand up to two large dogs...and us, coming in with icy snow-covered or muddy boots. There are loads of cupboards, as well. Being deprived of closets in this house has made me probably over compensate by building a LOT of storage space.

  22. Sounds like you won't mind being the "maid" in such organized surroundings. I have been thinking about future remodeling for our cabin. I want a bathroom, no more climbing four flights of stairs to the house on the hill for me. Maybe in the summer when building conditions are better. I want to make it big enough to move the bathtub there and some storage shelves or cupboards for storage. Wonder how much I can squeeze in a tiny space? Your roomy scullery sounds perfect. - Margy

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