Posted by: oceannah | August 21, 2012

Jefferson’s Kitchen ~at Monticello

Jefferson's kitchen/MonticelloWe took a trip south a while back and visited Monticello.  There are many wonderful things there but I was particularly interested in the kitchen.  After his wifes death Thomas Jefferson spent a lot of time abroad as the U.S. Minister to France (1784).  At the time most cooking in America was a pretty simple affair…stewed in a pot over a fire,  roasted in an over or direct flame.  At Monticello Thomas Jefferson had the kitchen above installed.  It is a row of single burners that can be heated quickly from their individual fireboxes below not all too different from the stove tops of today.  This allowed for more quickly sauteed dishes not common at the time.  The kitchen at Monticello was one of the best equipped in Virginia.  Stocked with the finest cookware from France (lovely copper pots!) as well as a bake oven and fireplace.   I could be very comfortable in this kitchen.

Currently I am in the final phase of what feels like the never ending planning for a kitchen remodel.  No, I’m not installing wood fired saute stations, but I do appreciate the clean lines in TJ’s kitchen.

monticello kitchenThis is the view of the opposite wall.  I appreciate the simplicity of the design, the space and the tools.  Everything old is new again.  The open shelving here from the late 1700’s is what I’ve been seeing in pretty much every home decor magazine the library stocks!

crockery of monticello

The crocks and pottery of Monticello were meant as functional pieces that serve a variety of functions.  That they are in fact lovely is an added bonus.

rosemary at monticelloThe rosemary was blooming when we were visiting.  The gardens are lovely and I would love to get back there when the season is in full swing.

west front monticello

The west front of Monticello.  The building is still a work in progress…much as it always was when Jefferson himself lived there.  Much as our place is too…always tweaking here and there.  Do you live in a space that is utterly complete with not a care to change a thing?  Although I envy that I don’t think I’ll ever actually arrive, there’s always something…



  1. My first thought was “oh those look like my pots” I’m sure he bought those in the same village in France I bought mine from. They’ve been making copper pots, by hand, for centuries. Loved my visit to Monticello many years ago now. He was a very innovative thinker, was Mr. Jefferson.

    • Wow Joss, that’s a beautiful thing to have such wonderful pots! Monticello was a great trip, we all had a splendid time.

  2. Now, I’m really jealous. 🙂 After listening to this audio program in May, I am determined to visit Jefferson’s garden.

    • Kaye I would love to see it in its full glory too!
      You will LOVE the place, it is gorgeous…but not terrible close to anything else…TJ the recluse…

  3. I could be quite at home there too! Its beautiful!
    If money and time were no object, I’m sure a perfect / complete home may be possible but I agree that something always needs to be done, as soon as one task is finished, another needs to be started. So I’m content until the imperfections become so obvious I find them too annoying to put up with any longer! xoxo

    • Agreed Sonia…always something.

  4. TJ certainly knew how to plan a kitchen!! nice! Make sure you do before and after pics for us to see!!

    • Working on it…Jefferson was an interesting character!

  5. Ah, so true, there is always something “on the burner” LOL (back or otherwise; )

  6. What a lovely your of the kitchen! Beautiful… We’re you tempted to cut some rosemary???

  7. That is beautiful! We were in Richmond VA a few years ago and could have visited Monticello but we went to Williamsburg instead. I would love to go someday and see the gardens. I love to look at old kitchens and I love the utilitarian look of this one. Our place is in the process of being built and I’m planning on having open shelves as opposed to wall cabinets.

    • Jenny when you get there you will love it! See what I mean about the open shelves being new again!! Can’t wait to see your remodel pics!

  8. What wonderful pictures: the longer I looked…
    all brick: floors and (whitewashed) walls could be kept so clean (and bright), the massive water heating system (?) in the fireplace opening (but, hmm, it looks like stainless steel, perhaps it’s not original to the kitchen?), “servery” bell system (or perhaps a hoist for pots/lids?) over to the right, built in wall oven with its massive peel and poker and oh, that gorgeous earthenware.
    Wonder what that large white, round bottomed “pot” on the floor was for? It almost looks like a crucible for smelting/molten metals (lead, etc for bullets or pewter perhaps?)
    Fantastic photos Anna – thanks for sharing your trip – heard and read so much about Monticello (it was almost like being there!: )

    • Thanks Deb, I do believe the large thing you refer to (white on the floor) is a mortar of sorts…used for grinding. A cusinart of the time so to speak.

  9. Reblogged this on ℛ@♥ℯᾔ❝ṧ ωї☂ḉ♄ ☽●☾ and commented:
    very interesting.

    • Jefferson was a very cool dude!

      • yes he was! i loved the documenatry P.B.S. did on him a few yrs. ago 🙂

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