French Country Kitchen and a Pile of Books

The Daily Prompt by The Daily Post:

“You just inherited a dilapidated, crumbling-down grand mansion in the countryside. Assuming money is no issue, what do you do with it?”

A man came to my home a week ago, with a neat stack of valuable papers in his hand. Valuable for me, of course, because in those papers was a dream of mine that I had never been able to even think into existence: a will containing my inheritance to a beautiful old mansion in the countryside.  Along with the mansion, the man also assured me that money was no longer an issue, as the will also promised to me a sizable amount of money. A mansion in the countryside? And no more money worries? There was no way I could not accept.

So, I took a drive to this new inheritance of mine. As I drove onto the property, I was awestruck. The grand mansion sits on an immense estate with woods further in the back and a driveway (well, what used to be a driveway, anyway) that spanned the two acres in front of the house. The gate and fence that ran along the front and side perimeter of the house was old, crumbling, and rusted over. It would have to go.  As I walked closer to the house, I noticed the hinges of the front door were rusted and seemed about to fall apart. The door, surprisingly, was in pretty good shape. Walking through the rest of the house, I slowly made a list of everything that had to be done before decorating could even begin to be a word I would regularly use from my vocabulary.

The foundation of the east wing was crumbling and had to be fixed. Most of the walls had to be re-supported, and some of them I took out to make the house a bit more “open-concept”. The kitchen was a complete disaster.  It was tiny, cramped, and there were empty cans, broken plates, and old silverware everywhere. Nothing could be salvaged.

The next week, I hired a contractor and set to work.

First to be done was work on the exterior of the house.  I wanted to preserve the character of the house, so the design of the house (from the outside) did not change much. All of the old gray brick was replaced with new pieces. The front door was refaced and painted a beautiful, deep red color to contrast with the dark gray brick. The ancient, decaying gate was replaced with a new wrought iron gate that matched the character of the mansion. A new stone fence was put in, as well. The foundation was fixed. I hired a landscaper, who was a great help in figuring out what I wanted to do with all the land. Most of the front was cleared out and mowed down, making it look clean and fresh. Nearer to the house there are a multitude of flower beds, bushes, and a few tree saplings that will grow into strong thick-trunk trees in the long years to come. A patio can be seen starting on the east side of the house and hugging the walls, wrapping itself around to the backyard (it’s more of a huge field, actually). Further down on the grounds there is a vegetable garden.

The interior of the house looked a bit different from the original. Of course the charming country character was preserved inside the house. I’m not one for super modern lines. I love for my home to feel comfortable and cozy, a safe haven after a long day’s work. The crown molding was repaired. Some walls had come down to make the interior less suffocating and claustrophobic.

The kitchen was the first room to be repaired. Many walls were demolished to make the kitchen bigger. It was painted a light, blue-grey color and decorated in a “french country” fashion with rich ivory cabinets and cherry hardwood floors. New stainless steel appliances were installed that would leave any chef itching to get their hands dirty. There is an island in the middle and a breakfast nook tucked in the corner.

The next room to be repaired was the study. It was a dark and dingy room. It looks as if it was once a beautiful study with mahogany shelving all around the room and dark leather chairs. There was an old desk in the room as well, which I was hoping to restore, but it fell apart as we tried to pick it up and take it outside. This dungeon of a study I converted into a long-awaited dream of mine–a library. The room was cleared out and cleaned down to the studs. New drywall was put up and the room was painted a cool green color, the kind that reminds you of green pastures (coincidentally, the same view can be seen through the window in this very room). Speaking of windows, there are two. Since the room is a corner room of the house, there is one massive bay-window that lets in a generous amount of natural light. The second window is smaller and it sits on the wall perpendicular to the bay-window. There is no space on the walls because every single one is covered edge-to-edge in off-white colored bookshelves. Books line every single shelf with barely any room left for new additions. In the middle of the room is a rug. On top of it sits the most comfortable couch you could imagine with a small coffee table opposite it. Two cozy armchairs sit across from the couch.

The rest of the house is still being worked on, but I have officially moved out of my old, cramped apartment into this magnificent mansion in the countryside. My bedroom is next to be worked on, along with a second bathroom.

Slowly, but surely, everything will come together.
 

(This post is all fiction. Of course, I would have loved if someone came to me telling me I am the heiress of a magnificent old mansion in the countryside, but oh well. Maybe one day.)