We haven’t done a Readers Kitchens for ages, but when we visited the inspiring kitchen of photographer and This Is 50 blogger Kristin Perers, it was a no-brainer, it just HAD to go on the blog.
Kristin is a vicar’s wife and lives in a Georgian vicarage in North London, right next door to her husband’s church. She has redecorated it from top to bottom on a shoe string budget, since obviously, it’s not her house. I spent the first part of my visit just agog at Kristin’s amazing style and talent for placing things just ‘so’. I have to tell you she’s also kind and beautiful, it’s just not fair really is it? I have a big girl-crush on her…
Kristin, what goes on in the kitchen and with whom?
Our kitchen has always been the centre of gravity in the house and a crossroads for the wider church and, to an extent, our neighbourhood community too. Being a working vicarage means that what goes on in the kitchen and with whom varies greatly. There will be dinners en famille in the kitchen, church council meetings around the dinning table, and open house for the neighbourhood. Sometimes it’s for two, sometimes it’s for twenty.
How would you describe your style?
I think my pioneer roots can be seen in the Mid-western directness of the open space. Where others might see B&Q downmarket shelving I see prairie practicality. I like to know what’s going on. I keep all the dry goods stored in Mason jars where dwindling stocks can be checked at a glance. My great grandfather owned the local general store in the Shanandoah Valley in West Virginia, so running a supply store must run in the family! Besides, who would want to hide Amanda’s beautiful gingham cherry jam behind a cupboard door!? (‘blushes,’ it’s a proper crush, I’m even giving presents….A)
Recently I’ve been wondering whether my kitchen shows my age (52) and my roles as family caretaker and community host. I am a champion of making our food production system simpler and smaller. This means we have started a kitchen garden and I’ve now got the materials together to start a small lettuce patch on the roof. Also with age comes a growing concern with health and a recent health scare has got me brewing my own Kombucha – a kind of fermented green tea that is said ‘to align the body soul’ but actually tastes like vegan champagne.
My most useful item?
Because I photograph a lot of cookbooks, I get to see into a lot of kitchens and I love discovering new tools. I collect my tools with an eccentric delight and passion – Swedish scrub brushes, German floor rags, New England home crochet oven mitts. Everything gets used and re-used. But my most favourite item has to be my husband’s lovely orange biscuit tin. The deal is I keep it filled with something tasty. After all the gut cleansing organic health food sometimes the most healing thing is tea and a biscuit with the vicar…. So where others might see a blend of American/English style I see a love story and the blending of families in faith and hope.
Kristin’s blog This Is 50 is a fab read and very inspiring, check out Neisha Crosland if you’ve ever wondered where her name Neisha came from and my favourite, the extraordinarily insightful Philippa Perry (she might be my new girl-crush). Kristin also has a great website cataloguing her photography work here