hungry? come visit my kitchen on the kitchn blog

the kitchn photo margaret cookingILOVE TO COOK FROM MY GARDEN, but it never occurred to me that any *real* cooks would be stopping by. Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, cookbook author and proprietor of The Kitchn blog on the giant Apartment Therapy network, and her husband, AT founder Maxwell, were the first bloggers to wish me well online when I left my career to live in my garden in 2008, and I’d said “come by sometime if you’re in the area.” And guess what? The result was a visit filled with great conversation and some of my simple-but-fresh food, including a pizza (my specialty), and now a lovely story and slideshow on Sara Kate’s blog. Do go see my kitchen tour, as she calls it, and please tell her in comments that Margaret sent you. (Photo by Sara, from the show.)

  1. chigal says:

    I love how you make even the vegetable garden (they can get scraggly looking late in the season) look interesting and attractive by composing it with that long planter across the front in Sara’s pic.

  2. Amy says:

    Your house is so charming and cozy looking — much as I had imagined it. (We were very respectful and did NOT peak in the windows on the day of the garden tour!) I envy your pantry.

  3. Deirdre says:

    I want your mud room! Not that it would be anthing like as tidy if it were mine, but a staging area to come in and out of the garden through would be really handy.

  4. Dana says:

    It was great to see you Margaret at “the kitchn”… it’s my other favorite website! Like Amy I didn’t peek during open garden. Thanks for letting us in.

  5. Margaret says:

    @Amy and Dana: Well, you would be the only two non-peekers…I think everyone at garden tours goes around to the side where I can’t see them and then looks in. :) Actually, I don’t mind at all.

    @Deirdre: The original house was 600 square feet upstairs and 600 down. I added on the mudroom (80 feet) and a den of the same size above it, and a little back mudroom (maybe 40 feet) and a little back porch. So now the house is about 700 feet on a floor. No laundry room, no real closets (two, each only the size of a small coat closet)…hilarious. The mudrooms were essential to my being able to live here more than weekends (to put it mildly).

    @Christine: You are welcome. So sweet of Sara Kate to create the little tour.

    @Chigal: Bench. :)

  6. Brian G. says:

    That was a nice slide show. I left my regards (as instructed). My house is equally small, maybe smaller. The living room is currently gutted and I am on the verge of drywall. I have been in this state for 13 months! Working for only 36 hours a week is veeerrrryy slowwww goooing. I do like your painted kitchen floor. Mine is rough sanded at the moment, by me (too expensive to have done professionally). I was going to continue and clear coat but now I may save myself some grief and paint it. Something to think on.

  7. Bobster says:

    LOVE that you have garden tools hanging in the mud room!! It is of course, the perfect place for them! So, so very practical! Will be mounting hooks tomorrow!!!

    Thank you for sharing the ‘inside’ part of your life. It’s actually just like your garden..beautiful, whimsical, artful, engaging. I am CONSTANTLY reminded that it’s all really about editing!

  8. Loretta Donovan says:

    We moved into our 1770 country house almost a year ago. Our exterior paint colors seem to be the same as yours. The color of our kitchen walls is what I recall from school hallways 50 years ago – just wrong since it lacks energy and subtlety. You’ve got just the color combination I’ve been looking for.

    As for my garden . . . let’s just say time to rip it out and start planning for next year.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Loretta. The exterior here is the darkest olive there is, with orange-red trim. Inside the walls are a linen white (ivory) or palest green, and all the window trim is pale gray, almost silvery..it doesn’t interfere with my views out the windows, almost melting into the stone patios outside and the sky above.

      Gardens do need the occasional rip-out, and there’s some of that about to happen here, too. That’s the fun part…fresh starts, hopes, dreams. :)

  9. Michael (Amy's husband) says:

    As a cabinetmaker and kitchen designer, I really, really wanted to peek, but didn’t. So glad to see inside now, what a treasure! Great solutions to spatial challenges–thanks for the look.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Michael. The funniest part: The kitchen (minus appliances and the steel countertop/sink) probably cost less than $750 to build about 20 years ago, using birch-face ply for shelving and beadboard (spruce roofers) to form the “cabinets” and so on, and formica for the pieces of counter beside the stove and under the staircase overhang. Most of the materials were scraps from the DIY renovations my ex and I were doing, leftovers.

      Every year I think, “I should get nice counters and real cabinets not made of beadboard.” And then I just put another coat of paint where things have worn and forget about it. :)

  10. Willi says:

    It was a treat to see so many pictures of your vegetable garden. I think I might be dreaming about your potting shed tonight! Quick question: what kind of pizza pan do you have? Is it cast iron? My husband is a longtime vegetarian and we make a lot of pizza at home, too. So I was intrigued by your pan. I often bake little pizzas on the bottom of my cast iron skillet.

    1. Margaret says:

      @Willi: My pan is cast iron, made by Lodge and widely available so shop for the best price, but here’s their corporate site with the model etc. Many friends have a pizza stone, but I like this pan a lot. I oil it each time, and oil the dough when I turn it out of the bowl as well (and I bake the pies at very high heat, like 550).

  11. Brenda says:

    Your kitchen must be very well designed. I’m impressed by how you do so much with so little space. Obviously you are not a “lots of stuff” kind of person!

  12. Willi says:

    Thanks, Margaret. Now I have an excuse to buy another piece of cast iron. My skillet never leaves the stove since I use it at least once a day!

  13. Carole C. says:

    Oh how I would have loved to peek into your cozy home when I visited your garden, but I didn’t so it’s a thrill to see it now! What I especially love is the homeiness (is that a word?) and that you use every bit of space in such a practical way without any unnecessary extras that rarely if ever get used. Also, I agree with Deirdre that I too would love to have your mud room… and your garden and your entire house! So kind of you to share with all of us!

  14. Patti says:


    Any chance I could get the receipe for your seasonal sauce that was mentioned in the Kitchen article on you??? I wasn’t able to locate them on their site.

    I loved the article and sent it on to several friends.

    Thank you.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Patti. I just make this basic red sauce, then add lightly-steamed vegetables (such as cut-up green beans) before tossing with the pasta. Sometimes I used chard, or whatever is available, but green beans or chard are my favorites mixed into tomato sauce and served over pasta.

  15. Dana says:

    What a great kitchen !!!! I love getting ideas. I to live in a very modest home.. My husband and I are always troubleshooting ways to reserve the small space we have. You made a small space look so elegant. Thanks for the red sauce recipe…

  16. Mary Farrand says:

    Margaret….HELP….I need a “tired of winter” idea for a Friday evening appetizer (date night in our house)…sick of cheese and crackers (albeit really good cheese), salsa and chips or veggies and hummus…..

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Mary. I indulge in colorful bell peppers from the market, core and quarter them (if really big, cut in sixths) and roast them on a cookie sheet with basil flakes and olive oil, then serve on little rounds of baguette slightly toasted w/parmesan sprinkles on top. Mentioned in this article as a “recipe” in detail. Then I often really cop out and buy some shrimp to boil/serve really cold w/horseradish-laced cocktail sauce and lemon juice.

  17. Mary Farrand says:

    Miss Margaret, I have been thinking about purchasing a small freezer. The kind that sits in the garage or basement and opens from the top. Do you have any preference as to which veggies freeze better?

    1. Margaret says:

      @Mary:I freeze many things, including tomatoes (whole and as sauce), applesauce, herbs (as pesto and in some cases leaves), soups and stews made from greens and sweet potatoes and so on. Browse through my “edibles” category at this link for the stories about growing and storing a year of various crops.

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