It feels a little magical to be driving at night down first one country road, turning off to another, gradually wending our way into the woods and then finding the unmarked single lane path to follow, turning a corner and there it is-our friend's cottage. And like the house in the tale of Hansel and Gretel this one is all-inviting, gleaming glass and warmly lit, every outside light glowing in the near dusk.
This house is our friend's own design and every single item in it from the floor up was chosen by her. It is small by today's standards, with three bedrooms, one of which doubles as her den. Her kitchen is an eat-in kitchen with her large dining table a foot or so away from the peninsula and her cook top stove...this is all the better for easily serving guests right from the stove. Her living room has large, almost floor to ceiling windows on three sides and it is a defining feature...what gives the house a true cottage feeling.
But also it is something to do with the colour scheme she has chosen, soft pastels in ice cream flavours, as well as all her collections everywhere you look. All her shelving is open both in the kitchen and the eating area and endless assortments of dishes and memorabilia are on display. They are remarkable because most represent years of enjoyment searching out just the right item for each collection. Many of the things are vintage and add a nostalgic charm to the overall feel of the house. I can remember some things...casserole dishes with bright red cherries and orange/red strawberries painted on them and milk glass tea cups, for instance, from my own childhood.
But too, there are many pieces, large platters and heaps of serving dishes which reinforce the idea that a serious cook lives here. Dinner does not disappoint...a velvety soup, roast leg of lamb with all the trimmings, followed by a pumpkin custard pie that is delicious. Our friend possesses such ease in the kitchen; one of those people who can cook with all the guests gathered round, the way you think the professionals could do. It is an unself-consciousness that I admire very much, a comfort level I could never reach. Though I love having people in for dinner, I have to have at least half the meal made beforehand before I can relax and enjoy it all.
On the drive home, I can picture our friend in the calm and peacefulness of her sweet woodsy cottage. I think about her lovely things all nestling together on their lace-lined shelves. There is a poignancy to it too, for who could love it like the one who put it all together. No one, really.