…to remodeling your kitchen.
Hate the layout? Need an island? Ugly cabinets got you down? You have three options:
- Learn to love it the way it is.
- Burn the house down.
That’s it. Those are the only options.
You’re not as smart as you look.
Or perhaps you have the same problem Brian and I had back in the early days of our marriage: hubris so big, it’s amazing we could get our stupid giant heads through doors. I mean really, how did we not understand how disruptive it would be to gut the cooking room in the middle of our house?
First thing we did was pack up most of the kitchen. I’m all about using almost nothing disposable, but for the kitchen remodel we went over to Costco and bought paper plates, paper towels, plastic forks, and all the rest of it. My thinking was that, if I didn’t have to wash dishes in the bathtub, the whole remodeling thing wouldn’t be so bad. It makes me snort and chortle to remember that part. There is no not so bad in kitchen remodeling.
We had this weird vanity in the hall bathroom in our old house. It was a great diaper-changing area when we had babies, but since we had no babies at that time, I set it up like a kitchenette – microwave on the counter, utensils and all that paper crap underneath. Then we got busy tearing our kitchen apart.
There’s a corollary here: just as you should never remodel a kitchen, you should also never buy a house from people whose idea of a fun Saturday is to drink a whole lot of beer and do household projects. True story: the first time I climbed into the crawl space above our house, I found hundreds of beer cans all around the new ductwork that had been, ahem, interestingly installed. Hey, we’re all about DIY around here, but I’d like to think we know when we’ve come to the limits of our abilities.
Anyway, all of that explains this next bit: the kitchen cabinets were nailed to the walls. Just dozens and dozens of giant nails through the backs of those cabinets into the drywall behind them. We took turns, one of us holding up the cabinets while the other pulled nail after nail after nail
It went on forever.
There was abundant cussing.
When we finally got the cabinet into the yard, we broke it into as many pieces as we could manage while cussing our home’s former owners.
At which time we realized we really should save our energy because that bit of cabinetry that was nailed to the wall was maybe 20% of the total.
By the time we got all the counters and cabinets out of the house, all those nails didn’t seem so bad. When we pulled out the base cabinet and the stove, we discovered that the former owners had moved the 220 outlet into which the stove was plugged by splicing some wires and dragging the whole thing over by about 9 inches, then duct taping the damn electrical-fire-in-waiting to the back of the bathtub that was on the other side of the wall.
Safety was, apparently, not even on their list of priorities.
The mess of stove outlet told us we needed an electrician. Said electrician discovered we needed a new breaker box and the whole kitchen had to be re-wired.
After he was done with all that, we had to hire a guy to come fix the drywall.
After we had the new (gorgeous!) cabinets put in, Oops! We hadn’t measured right. We had to have someone come in and move the window.
By then, we were maybe 7 years into not having a kitchen (Or maybe it was more like 2 months; who can remember?) and one evening, as I was squatting in front of the refrigerator making a sandwich (Our refrigerator didn’t fit through the doors, so it stayed right in the kitchen the whole time, along with our kitchen table because I couldn’t find anywhere else to put it.), I had a bit of a breakdown. By “bit of a breakdown,” I mean I picked a huge fight with Brian during which I threw the kitchen table and took a chunk out of the side. I’m so proud.
When I was finished screaming at him, Brian took me to the Chinese restaurant down the street for dinner. It was my favorite restaurant for years, and it is again, but for the two years following the kitchen remodel? I wouldn’t go near the place.
By the end, all my good intentions were completely scrapped. I gave up on preparing healthy burritos in the microwave or omelets on the hot plate. Nope. It’s the only time in my life I’ve ever purchased Lunchables. We were subsisting on Pop Tarts and every manner of crap you can buy in the grocery store that is meant to be cooked in the microwave. It’s amazing none of the children turned into a pizza. We made a pathetic nod to healthful eating by keeping fresh fruit and carrots in the house.
By the way, did I ever tell you about the time I came into the kitchen and found Jacob and Spencer eating carrots for breakfast? No? My kids are weird.
When we were finally exhausted from the whole project and weak from consuming mostly crap, it was time to take out the old floor. Hellooooo, asbestos!
We were so sick of the whole damn thing, we sent the kids to their grandma’s house and tore that floor out, precautions be damned. If Brian and I come down with mesothelioma in a dozen years, we’ll all know why.
Finally, when all was said and done, the only things left of the old kitchen were the faucet, the refrigerator, and the table and chairs. It was beautiful and functional and totally suited me.
I don’t like the kitchen in our new house.
I’m learning to live with it.