Since December, my spare time has been filled with planning for and working on the remodeling of our kitchen. I haven't written about it on the blog before now because I didn't want to hijack our conversation about all things fashionable. It appears, however, that I can't have any conversation these days that doesn't eventually involve the new kitchen, or Kitchen 2.0 as we have come to call it. So I thought I would introduce the topic here, starting at the beginning and documenting the transformation of the heart of our home.
Our home is a modest 1957 single-level ranch style house located on a quiet street with eleven similar dwellings. Before we moved in we thought of this type of house as a "Ranchburger," a sort of 1950s mass-produced equivalent of the modern-day suburban McMansion. In the past twelve years we have come to appreciate the individual personality of our home with its original red oak floors, its bright family room addition, and its solid construction. It has been a comfortable, pleasant, and affordable home for us from the very start.
That's not to say the house was (or is) in perfect shape -- we have undertaken many repairs including the addition of a bathroom fan, the replacement of the deck, and the installation of a new roof. We have a long list of work yet to be done. We knew even as we were moving into the house that we would want to make some major changes in the kitchen and the bathroom(s). We jokingly told each other that we would remodel the main bathroom in five years and the kitchen in ten. And we grew increasingly frustrated as we came to recognize the limitations of our kitchen, an awkward 1980s remodel job with wasted space and peeling paint.
So we have been thinking about this project for years. At first I had a plan that would allow us to spruce up the existing kitchen with a fresh two-tone paint job on the cabinets, new counters, and no more tacky wallpaper. We could have done that on the cheap -- less than $2000 plus our own labor -- but we realized that we would just end up with a prettier version of the same old poorly functioning kitchen. It would still have limited storage space (four drawers!), and the lights would still flicker when the refrigerator turned on.
Since we were planning on living with the kitchen in the long term, we didn't want to give it a non-functional face lift. That was only one of the many things we didn't want: we also didn't want to build a kitchen that was too fancy for the house. We didn't want to go deep into debt to fund a remodeling project. We didn't want to build a trendy kitchen with granite counters and travertine tile that would look dated in ten years. We didn't want to pay a contractor anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 to remodel our kitchen for us -- but we didn't think it would be a good idea to do it all ourselves, either!
With few ideas about what we did want for our new kitchen, and other plans taking priority, it wasn't until last year that we decided to tackle the renovation head-on. Even then it was a happy coincidence of our trip to Holland and another successful remodeling project that gave us the impetus we needed. More on that in my next post.