Before I begin here is what you must know: I married a Contractor. His mother worked as a kitchen designer. I’m crazy. Okay let’s begin…
When we bought our house, we recognized that the kitchen had problems. The layout was the first thing that had to be changed. The refrigerator caused a traffic jam every time you opened it. A ceiling cabinet above the stove hung just low enough that if seated at the counter you had to duck down to see the head atop of the body. Not to mention that it appeared to be an eventual death trap. The divide between the cabinet and ceiling grew larger everyday. It was only a matter of time before the cabinets came falling.
The face of the cabinets were cracked, the wood looked like it would give you splinters. The granite was nice, if you like that kind of thing. By thing, I mean black, blue, gray, green speckled with a tender hint of pink. The stove had one working burner. The dishwasher could not hold anything in place so you were constantly having to perform a balancing act with china. The lighting sucked. The pantry, although awesome in size, was directly across from our powder room. It didn’t even occur to me until we began the redesign. I see nothing complementary in having your food stored a stone’s throw from your dumping ground. The sink was good but no garbage disposal. It was awesome.
After a year of dealing, we’d had enough; and so the talk of the new kitchen began. I started to look at pictures and initiate plans. Rather I should say, I’d spend hours at night sifting through online websites (houzz is my personal favorite) grabbing ideas. I went to Lowe’s and Home Depot and a local cabinet store and took every brochure they displayed. While at Lowe’s my husband (who I will call Carpenter) had me look at appliances. Even though we were not at the “appliance getting” stage he wanted me to start looking at size and function. We would also need measurements when drawing the plans.
Our first “battle”: the microwave drawer. I’m not a big microwave fan, up until two years ago I didn’t even own one, but all the idealistic bullshit goes out the window when you have a baby. Energy is no longer a strong suit. I came across a microwave drawer that I thought was brilliant. I could place it on a lower cabinet, out of the sight, keep my counters clear and enjoy its convenience.
Carpenter’s mom was getting set to draw it into the plans when Carpenter began to stir. “I don’t like the microwave drawer. I think it’s a stupid design.” I’ll spare you the back and forth. Just imagine two VERY stubborn people thinking they know best. Now make the people a little more stubborn. There.
Carpenter’s point: First, if you put a cup of tea in the “drawer”, it would spill when you opened it, unless you were precise with your movement. Problem number two were the buttons. With a “little” in the picture, those buttons were a neon beacon, asking for him to blow shit up or just wreak havoc on the appliance in general. I dug my heels in the sand, because it was prettier, arguing that we should sample one before we made assumptions. Surely the engineers thought of the spillage factor. I was doomed, Carpenter busted the child safety card. Carpenter won.
When you are married to a Carpenter whose catch phrase is, “I can build it” you start to take on this invincible, anything is possible, attitude. That’s what happened to me. Soon the kitchen redesign had moved from the kitchen to the dining room to the hallway. In my mind, everything must go! I wanted to open the space (they do it all the time on HGTV) and make our house about family. I envision my son doing his homework at the kitchen/dining table while the Carpenter cooks dinner (yes he’s the cook) and I pick up the scatterings of the day. So when I pointed at a closet lining the entryway and asked if he could literally turn it, he said yes! But then he followed the yes with, I’ll have to rip up the floor and change the base board heating. To which I replied, “you can do that?!” He was a virtual potpourri of possibilities.
The kitchen planning was not terribly long. I had the design assembled in my head and my mother-in-law filled in the blanks. Of course she may have a different opinion of the process, but I guess that’s why I’m doing the writing. There were things that I hadn’t accounted for:
- how many different cabinet options are available
- what was pretty vs. what was practical
- which appliance to choose, they are all so shiny
- my husband got a say in the plans
- we have a budget
Today we stand with plans in hand, a cabinet style and color picked out, and a budget. The rest is going to be a bit like paint by numbers, but I intend to fill you in on all the details. Oh, I almost forgot, my husband demoed the kitchen. He said it was time and he did it. Let me tell you even if we had to put it all back together just the way it was, it was worth it. We found mail from the previous owners, hoards of mail wedged between the wall and the old cabinets, dust, dirt and mice poop. So gross. To think that my son was breathing in the mice poop fumes grosses me out and makes me want to take a bleach bath. It only took two days to undo the disaster we had lived with. Now the room is a hollow shell. I like it so much better. Fortunately we have an in-law apartment so we are not without a kitchen, because believe you me, girlfriend needs an eatery.
If along the way you have questions, shout them out. Welcome to the kitchen diaries. And in case you’re keeping score:
Carpenter 1. Woman 0.
Next up the demo…