Heart of the home

Your kitchen should be filled with stories, memories and personal pieces
Kitchenalia is the stuff with which you furnish and kit out your kitchen – the jugs and jars, pots and pans, bowls and baskets. It is all the things you acquire and accumulate to make your kitchen a useful and enjoyable place to be. Some of these things may be new but most will be sourced from a vintage or classic design base.

Almost everything I prepare or cook in my kitchen involves a little bit of history and often a memory. There is a favourite old serving spoon with a monogrammed handle that I use for stirring sugar into a meringue or flour into a cake mix. The spoon reminds me of baking with my mother, because she used the same spoon.

House-Oct03-01-5901. The units here are 1950s English Rose, with a melamine-topped table chairs from the same era 2. Using a single colour – in this case green – plus added pattern, makes a strong impact in this kitchen. The palm-leaf motif Palmeral wallpaper, with matching china and linens, is from House of Hackney

There are weighing scales that belonged to my grandmother and plates and bowls from my mother-inlaw and grandmother-in-law. Often they are referred to by name or house name, such as Granny Hunter’s plate or the Rockmount bowl, because they are remembered by their association with that person or place.

These things may be old, but they are still useful, with a patina of age and a familiarity that makes them special. They are objects that have survived because they perform the function for which they were made and have withstood the test of time, sometimes in the hands of several generations.

House-Oct03-02-5903. In this collector’s kitchen, a diverse selection of china in different styles and from various periods is arranged on an open dresser to form the focal point of the room 4. In this reclaimed kitchen, the black doors on either side of the hob are made from old exterior cladding and the door and drawer handles are Champagne corks

I also have a collection of blue-andwhite plates found in second-hand shops and markets while on holiday, so they have memories of the time and place where they were found, whether it was a sunny weekend in Saltburn-by-the-Sea or a damp day out in Hastings. Then there are things given to me as presents by friends who share an interest in cooking or know my weakness for a certain style of china or type of gadget.

Kitchenalia can be a collection of hand-me-downs and presents, some with a specific purpose, others just because you like them. It can be made up of things that are useful, beautiful or often both; you have them in your home because you enjoy using them and having them around you gives you daily pleasure.

House-Oct03-03-5905. If you have a collection of chinaware or other kitchenalia, paint cupboards a colour that will enhance the display 6. The 1970s-style Paisley Crescent wallpaper from Mini Moderns was used to line the back of a cabinet to draw attention to the china on show 7. Wood is the theme here, and the floor, fitted units, chest of drawers and dining furniture are all of a similar hue, set against white walls

Kitchenalia, by Vinnie Lee, is published by Jacqui Small, priced £30.