It was an ugly duckling, looking more like a glorified outhouse than the place where we should store our precious handmade preserves and food for everyday meals at home.
An unsustainable eyesore with questionable green paint and a lowered ceiling that just had to go, or it would have fallen apart by itself…
Self-reliant beings we have become, taking control over matters in our earthen buildings, carefully placing handful after handful of cob to recreate functional spaces with hints of art.
Like most home improvements, simplifying this pantry took longer than expected, naturally coinciding with life, teaching, learning and sewing shoes. First came the laborous scraping of the paint, then three wheelbarrows full of cob mix (reused clay bricks with added river sand for strength) to be worked into the cracks, holes and deteriorated lower parts of the walls.
Corners were rounded and everyone helped to the best of their ability.
Clay has a wonderful plasticity that can encourage anyone to try their hand at building or repair. There is no right or wrong, there is a chance to do and to learn. These pantry walls breathe and as soon as the wet cob mixture dried, they were ready for whitewash.
A couple hours of scraping the tile floor was nothing compared to the many days of bending and stretching – repairing the walls. Suddenly it became apparent that we could no longer call it csúnya. In went the same shelves and the organic homemade jams, preserves, chutneys and pickles began to line up once again.
Jars were recycled that lost their lids, gluten-contaminated baking sheets flew away by bicycle to the village and order was restored to our small space.
A newly felted window curtain blocks the southern sun and large felt curtains replace the oil-painted/styrofoam-insulated sheet of pressed board. Natural materials are warming the way, sliding back and forth ready to let dishes and pies in and out.
While we removed an inner door frame, we left the load bearing beam, so please remember to duck on your way in and out!
Simplifying your home takes patience, time and determination to get rid of undesirable materials and to replace them with healthy alternatives. Restoring can only take you so far, but it is one of the small steps we are taking towards promoting a sustainable future.
Gradually get rid of plastics, switch over to stainless steel and glass containers, use and reuse your market bags, make do with what you already have.
Is your pantry prepared for winter?