The nostalgic wonder of a spice cupboard

Even when you have moved on, your presence in a home lingers

The thrill of real estate and home design is getting to go into homes and see what the layout is like and how the home is decorated.

My mind never stops scanning and putting things, colours and new design elements in their place and it is always fascinating to see interiors and to discover interesting and unique home layouts.

From time to time I take clients into vacant properties and we imagine how people have lived and the places they made special in the home.

Some rooms are obvious due to colours and decorative items and yet others can be vague in their tales of how the previous clients inhabited.

One wonderful giveaway for me is the spice cupboard, we all know it and have had that cupboard in our homes.

The combined scents that greet us when we open the door can take us back to when we were young and watched our mom pull out items and place them on the counter. Oh, the anticipation that would rise depending on which spices she was arranging!

Would it be savoury or sweet? My mom, although an excellent cook, did use spices very traditionally and if cinnamon and nutmeg were present then she was making bread pudding or cinnamon buns or some kind of cookie.

I habitually cook with nutmeg and cinnamon in supper preparation as I love the hint of middle eastern cuisine so when ginger was present there were gingersnap cookies pending, not lemon grass stir-fry!

As I’m touring clients around a vacant home, I always search for the spice cupboard which is typically beside the stove. Even a long-vacated home will keep the heady scents of combined spices locked up and the smell is always amazing and welcoming.

When I tell the clients ‘I’ve found the spice cupboard’, they always come over to take a sniff and smiles always result. I think that it makes my clients as nostalgic as it makes me to smell that combination of aromas.

Even when a home is vacated, the previous occupants can leave their faint footprints; faded paint can tell tales of where family photos used to be hung and worn paths in carpeting can leave a migratory pattern that echoes of how a family travelled through the home.

Often you can clearly see where furniture had lived for many years and which burner was the favoured one for use (usually the front left-hand burner for some reason!).

Fingerprint marks at certain heights give hints of the age of children past and there may even be a door frame or wall with ascending lines marked with names and dates for families who raised children from young to old.

Even when you have moved on, your presence in a home lingers.

You may leave perennials in the flowerbed or a sweet, aromatic cupboard behind or you may leave silent footsteps which are only visible once you have moved your belongings to a new residence.

Your life in that home is not soon forgotten by new owners who will brand the house with their own special memories. When you are back at home today, go and deeply inhale your spice cupboard and be reminded of scents of your childhood and realize that this will be the footprint you will leave for another.

Kim Wyse is a Central Alberta freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Kim Wyse Associate Royal Lepage Tamarack Trail Realty’.

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