Friday, April 16, 2010

Portiere Project

I have been considering a dining room project. I posted about some of our dining room's flaws a long time ago. Some of these issues have been remedied. (Hello, trestle table and pew/banquette, I'm looking at you.) However, others--specifically a shallow built-in hutch--have not.

Here's the old view of the dining room--new table and pew have replaced these featured here, and future hutch to be built on the left.

The project I have in mind now tackles our issue of cooking and entertaining in a very open space. I love the idea of an open-concept home. I love the freedom to see out into the living room while I'm cooking and the theoretical liberation of cooks from their solitary confinement kitchen-y prisons into the arms of family and friends... but practically and personally speaking, when I'm cooking for a dinner party, and we get to that moment when people begin to arrive, and I'm scrambling to finish garnishing the hors d' oeuvres or, you know, whatever, I need to get down to business, (being very liberal with the italics today) and sometimes that is more difficult with the distractions and demands of an open space.

Is it just me, or is it really hard to multitask in these situations? There's my guest. I can't just ignore her while I'm finishing up. I want to stop cooking and give her my total attention. I mean, that's the whole point of having people over, right? But, oh no, I'm burning the chicken now. Now, everyone will eat burnt chicken and giving them something good to eat was part of the point of having them come over, too. It's quite the conflict. As you can see.

I find myself most stressed when I want to be most gracious, and sometimes I think that a private kitchen, one where I could step behind a curtain, speaking sort of in the Wizard of Oz sense, might be more logical for entertaining.

Not to mention that as we sit down in the dining room, most of the time I have dishes in the sink and on the counter from cooking the meal that are now staring everyone in the face as they eat the meal. No one wants to see the dirty implements of culinary war, the baked on casualties and violent smatterings of olive oil and cream. Not so appetizing. It would be nice to pull a curtain across and allow my kitchen a shroud of modesty.

This is where the portiere comes into play. A portiere is exactly what I need. It is inexpensive, and it allows for options.

I could mount a track or a curtain rod to the ceiling, and when I want to hide the kitchen and establish a more intimate, separate dining space, then I could pull the curtain across between the two rooms, drawing a boundary. When it's not needed or I want to cook and still see the TV in the living room, then I could push the curtain back so that it just hangs in front of that bank of cabinets to the left (which is something of an eyesore anyway, and probably would be much better off with a dressing of pretty fabric over it).

Something like this...

Image via design*dump

But maybe in more of this shade and weight of fabric...

Image via design*dump

This one is a pretty example, too, dressed up with sconces...

Image via griege

I'm predicting a trip to Joanne's in my future.


Molly said...

ooh, that's so fun!!! what a great idea.

The Hayden Family said...

GORGEOUS! Love that idea! Cannot wait to see the finished product!

The Kelley's said...

I totally agree with wanting to hide while trying to get food prepped!! Can't wait to see what you do!