The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Dressing the larder


Photo: Lacy larder shelves

Photo: Lacy larder shelves

“What’s this word on the bottom of the list?”
I peered over Danny’s shoulder. I’ve always had ‘doctor’s writing’ and sometimes even I find it hard to read.
“Those silly round paper things people put cakes on?”
“What on earth do you want those for?”
“Wait and see.”
“Well you’ll have to go shopping. I wouldn’t be seen dead buying doilies.”

Between you and me I’d never, ever bought a doilie. I’m not a lacy sort of lady and generally have an aversion to frills. But I was on a mission to transform the smallest room of our cottage – our larder.

We are very lucky. We have a proper old fashioned larder here at the cottage. Built on the north west side of the cottage it’s a genuine cold room. Unfortunately the cold room qualities vanished when we moved our fridge freezer in there but it still is a great space for storing food.

A few years ago I added extra shelves to our larder creating much more storage space. But it looked messy – the new shelves were made of wood and the original shelves white melamine that had bent over the years.

Recently Jean and I spent hours cleaning out this little room. Putting food into jars, tossing out ancient ingredients years past their sell by date. Suddenly we had lots of space! Perfect as we are deep on the heart of the preserving season. We store a lot of bottled fruit in the barn but it would be good to bring in a few jars just to remind me what we have available.

A few weeks ago I was browsing on the excellent blog The English Kitchen and fell in love with Marie’s larder shelves. They were so pretty that I couldn’t get them out of my mind. Perhaps I could be lacy in our larder?

I invested in three packs of mixed sized doilies from Waitrose – total cost £2.97 for sixty. And spent yesterday afternoon playing with the larder shelves. I think the effect is really sweet and cottagey. Even Danny gasped (with delight) when he opened the larder door. The mismatched shelves are disguised and look clean and fresh.

The larder floor has a few new traps (killer ones in here). If a mouse makes a grand entrance to ohh! squeak and ahh! squeak at the 40’ of lacy loveliness hopefully he will not live to tell the tale.

Mouse count to date is 13

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  1. patricia ellingford

    Could we see more please now we’ve seen a smidgeon a tiny one at that. I love larders and peeking in them as everyone has them so very different. My Nan had a larder and from a very early age it always intrigued me especially as she wouldn’t let us in in case we broke something precious.



  2. Sue Jamison-Powell

    These look lovely! I have a similar set up to you (including wood mice, 2 voles and a shrew). I am going to try this this weekend, I had planned a pantry tidy anyway – this will be the icing on the cake.

  3. Wow!! Very impressive larder, mine would never stay looking so smart!

  4. Hey, well done, the doilies look like fine crotcheted, victorian lace, brilliant idea, they look the part in the larder, just in the bin when they’re dirty.
    Now that’s my idea of time and money well spent!
    Thanks again for a great tip,
    Odelle X

  5. Kooky Girl

    I like the look, these go well in the right environment – eg a cottage like you have. They would look a little silly on my aluminium shelves. Also, your shelf cleaning days are over ! Doillie in the bin and fresh one on the shelf. Job done – Excellent.
    PS> 13 mice ! Oh my…

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