Readers kitchens: Sue in Chelsea


Who: Sue

Where: flat 4 floors up above the roaring traffic, hospital sirens and braying Sloanes on the Fulham Road in Chelsea. It seemed a romantic place to move to 25 years ago, but clicking knee joints and a Freedom Pass make it seem less so these days and a stairlift doesn't seem to be an option ……. I do dream of a cottage with a garden by the sea but would miss being on the 14 bus route, seeing Hugh Grant in the pub and Kylie in Sainsbury's (well the Hugh bit, not Kylie)

What do you do in your kitchen and who with? I'd like to say I do naughty things on the kitchen table but that said clicking knee joints are a great passion killer. My kitchen is my favourite room and is the scene of much cooking as well as the place I enjoy a wind-down G&T (or 3) with The Husband at the end of a long day's toil and where we entertain our daughter and grandkids most Sundays.In fact what I love is that this has always been a family kitchen. My kids angsted their way through their teens and some of their twenties here and it's played host to their assorted friends, lovers, husbands and a wife. Now it's their children's home from home. I cherish that family continuity……….   

How would you describe your style? Most people are a bit shell shocked when they first come into my kitchen — and I don't think it's because of the climb up 4 flights of stairs . You could say it's because of the vibrant colour everywhere. I have been collecting art deco and 40s china for over 30 years and being the hub of the flat, the kitchen has gradually evolved into a sort of showcase for my collection so it seemed natural to paint everywhere to match the china.

It may seem a bit haphazard to the naked eye but I am sadly anal in my regimented displays (I hate to admit I did once leave a photograph of the sitting room cushion arrangements with The Husband when I went away so's he could make sure they were in the right formation when I got back). I couldn't live with fitted units and granite worktops, far too grown-up and sensible. Not to mention boring and sterile. But each to their own.

I grew up in the 50s and so I suppose subconsciously I have tried to create a room full of comforting nostalgia to remind me of all those tea times in Auntie Ethel's back parlour. I've never really been one for the complicated trappings of modern life but I suppose that could all change when I grow up.


What is your favourite object and most useful item? My most useful item has to be my old blue Le Crueset casserole dish – I use it for everything. It's like an old friend. My favourite object is much more difficult …… it could be my baby blue Smeg fridge (which matches the baby blue Smeg oven) which I found on Gumtree and the seller lived round the corner in Chelsea so it obviously had my name on it. Or it could be my Mabel Lucy Atwell wall plaque that my grandaughter Kitty Valentine left a message on …. or maybe the kitsch doll's teaset …that's the problem with my kitchen, most of the objects are pretty useless and my mother says they are nothing but dust harbourers , but I love them all.


Su botto,

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