Thursday, February 18, 2010

LOVE THY NEIGHBOR (12th Increment)


Kitchen Renovation 101

Could I finally be getting my new kitchen? For three years I'd point out the window to the bar and say, there's my new kitchen. That's because we used the money earmarked for the kitchen renovation for a down payment on the building. Not that I ever for a moment regretted the decision. After all, how can you put a price tag on peace?

Still, my kitchen was rather revolting. The room we found when we bought the house (not the original 1927 kitchen, of course) was largely gone. Though we didn't do a full-scale renovation, we did do some things to make it better. We tore off the acoustic ceiling tile and replaced the hideous light fixture. That light fixture was so horrid, in fact, that guests would come over and offer to buy us a new one. I kid you not. We'd laugh and tell them thanks, but we really do plan to replace it. I had never even seen such a fixture. It was a square yellowish metal box with four globes sticking out, one from each corner. We replaced it with a beautiful period schoolhouse pendant fixture from Rejuvenation. First, though, we put an unpainted tin ceiling over the black gobs of hardened glue that remained after the acoustic tiles were gone. Then we took off the country apron thingy from over the sink and tore off the faux brick that covered the soffits. (Hilariously, one of the former owners of my house happened along one day and I invited him in since I recognized his name from the deed. He seemed disappointed that the faux brick hadn't held up and I had to tell him that my husband "accidentally" damaged it while checking on something. Which was sort of true since Dean was checking to see what was behind it in order to determine how difficult it would be to banish it from the house forever. So now I knew who the bad-taste culprit was or one of them anyway.) Dean replaced the cardboard brick with sheetrock and we painted the walls a pretty eggplant color to complement the existing brick-colored ceramic floor tile. I regrouted those floor tiles and put a fresh coat of white paint on the cabinets. We purchased new cabinet hardware—brushed nickel—from Restoration Hardware. Finally, we ripped out the country bookcase over the radiator; hell, we just ripped out the radiator too (I don't recommend that to renovators, by the way; there is a reason rooms have radiators and I froze my butt off for winters to come as punishment). It was during this time that I learned that the adjective "country" was merely a euphemism for ugly, outdated shit—just as "cozy" means ridiculously small, and "convenient" means a highway runs through the property.

What was still disgusting? Well, the cabinets were old if not original to the house and the wood used was crappy to say the least. Consequently, the wood was splintering, the doors didn't close, the paint was peeling from too many coats applied amateurishly over the decades, the bottom cabinets had no bottom as old cabinets don't—the bottom is the floor! I find that really icky. The drawer fronts were separating from the drawers and none of the drawers were on tracks, which is always fun when they fall out and all of your shit scatters everywhere. When they don't fall out, the friction from opening and closing the drawer salts everything below with a generous spray of sawdust a.k.a disintegrating cabinet drawers. And then there was the counter. When it was new it was ugly but now it was old and ugly AND falling apart. It was a faux butcher block laminate and the edges were peeling off and you could pull it and it would snap back into place more or less. Some parts of it were missing since I pulled them off outright. Eventually I removed all the hardware from the cabinets in a bid to "encourage" Dean to start the renovation. I told him that it didn't pay for me to put it back on since I had to continually repaint the cabinets since they were white and there were disgusting male persons living in my house. Dean held fast, though. He took the passive aggression for a good two years before finally caving. We started planning our new and wonderful kitchen. Hooray for me.

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