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About the Kitchen Renovation


A Swiss Woman settles in India –10

By Simone Toni Weibel

It is another bright sunny day. I just went out on my scooter and again, in the middle of all that traffic, blowing horns, hectic activity and dust, I just felt happy. I am in a bubble, feeling calm and pleased to be here. This week I spent renovating my kitchen. The yellow colour on the wall, combined with the peach tiles, made me kind of restless every day. After talking to my landlords, I got approval to just do what I want. Again, I’m so lucky.

I went to the paint shop to get tile paint, brushes and paint rollers and just started to paint the floor. That was kind of the wrong start, because as it looked so nice, one thing leads to another and I continued to paint the cupboard frames, then the wall and at the end it looked all so nice and fresh, but the ceiling was staring at me ugly and unfriendly. I ended, where I should have started – I took all the rather ugly panels down. You can’t imagine the dirt coming down on me! The whole kitchen was covered with dust, cement, leaves and spiderwebs. Don’t get me started about my face and hair. But it was really worth the pain. I figured out that the backside of the panels has an imprint of fabric and that was my relief, because that looks quite pretty. I painted the ceiling metal grid with black enamel and positioned the freshly brushed and painted panels back into their space. I am still thrilled at how good it looks. It has a Chanel appearance, very classy and chic, unbelievable. At the end, I sewed the curtains for the cupboards. I ripped the doors out of the frame, because they were rotten and the humidity worked to impart a bad smell into the shelves. I plan to build two big drawers, but actually the curtains look so nice too. Have to think about that.

With 3 days of work, I had this beautiful kitchen done and I love to step inside and even drink my tea on the kitchen floor to enjoy the new look. I know, I am very pretentious when it comes to beauty. It is not a matter of luxury. Even when I spend a week in a simple guesthouse, I would do my best to make it comfortable and cozy. I have seen very poor huts in India, where the stamped mud floor was wiped and the kitchen utensils sparkled with cleanliness. It was visible that the residents where valuing their possessions and happy to live there. Of course, I’m privileged to be able to spend on nice things but even I try not to exaggerate. But sometimes I feel bad, when I receive my parcel with new stuff, I have to admit. I try to balance it by being nice and generous to people in general, I guess. Something to work on but, I have to say, that kitchen just makes me happy.

(Simone Toni Weibel (47) is an independent artist, teacher and writer from Switzerland who has settled down in Dehradun.)