Saturday, April 17, 2010

I'm dreaming of a new kitchen . . .

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

I was recently interviewed for a blog and one of the questions was:  Tell us about your life that doesn't involve writing.

That's a toughie.  I have to be one of the most boring people on the face of the planet.  I mean, isn't that why I write--so I can live vicariously through my characters?  (Believe me, I'd be the last person on Earth to try to solve a crime.) 

HGTV What are my hobbies?  Carpal tunnel put an end to counted cross stitch (and knitting), and I don't often read fiction when I'm writing, so I read a LOT of decorating books and magazines.  And when I visit my mother, we watch HGTV.  Because of that, I spend a lot of my off hours thinking about home renovation.

I want a new kitchen.

There, I said it.

I have the worst kitchen on the planet.  When we bought this house, it somehow escaped both of us that the kitchen was this small, square box without even room for a table.  We eat all our meals in the dining room (which is also a bit small).  The house was built in 1967 and I suspect the entire kitchen is original.  The cabinets are in good shape, but dated (dark oak Formica) and certainly not nearly enough of them.  The ceramic floor is a creamy beige and shows every spill.  (Worse yet, it's slippery when wet.)

I see kitchen renovations on TV that usually cost between $25-$50,000.  Whoa!  There's no way I want to put that kind of money into our pokey little kitchen.  I have a much more modest renovation in mind.  First of all, the cabinets are SOLID.  I'd reface rather than replace them.  (Why put perfectly good cabinets in the waste stream?)  In the last two years, we've replaced all the appliances, so no need to do it again.  The floor--I'd still like tile, but something that doesn't show the dirt and won't kill us next time the cat's water bowl sloshes on it's way from the sink to the floor.

The biggest problem?  Money.  I was thinking that this fall we could replace the kitchen floor and then next year worry about the cabinets, but that plan went down the drain when our cat Bonnie got sick.  Her best option for a cure put us $1800 in the hole.  Save kitty or get new floor?  Well, that was a no brainer.

Bonnie 4 6-08 So, I guess I'll just watch the home renovation shows for a while and dream about a new and different kitchen. 

And I'll pet my purring cat.

18 comments:

Andrea C. said...

I feel your pain! I watch a lot of HGTV - my favorite is House Hunters - and while it is fun to see different house, it just makes me notice all the flaws and things I want to change about my own house. The same house that I was so happy to come home to a few hours before! I guess it is true - we always want what we can't have - but if a new kitchen is the biggest thing I can't have, I will probably be okay in the end! :)
PS-I'd pick my pups over a new kitchen in a heartbeat!

Vicki said...

If someone asked me to describe my life without adding in my teaching stuff, I wouldn't have much to tell either. I do enjoy cross-stitching, but rarely have time to do it...Christmas break and summers. It is fun to think about how you can improve your house, but money is always the kicker! I might try to at least paint a bathroom this summer myself.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Kitchens are so expensive! I'd like to redo mine, too. Sigh...

Elizabeth

Mystery Writing is Murder

Kaye said...

I laughed at your description of your "poky" little kitchen. The last house we lived (built in 1926) in had a kitchen so small, the regrigerator was on the little porch at the back door and the oven could barely hold a roast chicken, never mind a turkey! That was the first thing we changed about the house but that first year was tough. We didn't have room for a table either.

Shel said...

Add my voice to the chorus here. I want a new kitchen SO BAD. Lorna, I think our kitchen might give yours some competition for worst kitchen on the planet. Same story...square box, no room for a table, but to add insult to injury, THREE walls have doorways in them. This means there is no room for an uninterruped counter top anywhere but the one wall, and guess what? That's not where the countertop is. I have exactly 4 feet 3 inches worth of counter. That, fortunately is getting a new top soon - courtesy of 23.00 per four foot section laminate countertop at our local home center.

Lorna Barrett said...

I feel your pain, Shel. I've got about 3 feet of counter on the right side of the sink, and 2 feet on the left. I have to keep my stand mixer down in the basement, same with my cake carrier, and big bowls. I fear that if we ever needed to sell, the house would languish on the market forever because of the kitchen. They've become so important these days when talking real estate. (At least, that's what they say on all those HGTV shows.)

Lover of Books said...

I live in a two bedroom apartment. Counter space is not something we have a lot of. I have a couple of appliances that have never been out of the box that were Christmas gifts. Oh vey! A couple of houses we looked at were nice but the kitchens were bigger than the one I have now so that's all that mattered to me. lol
Krista

Rural View said...

My kitchen has been torn up (the stove is in the middle of the floor) for a couple years now. We started (actually my husband started) several projects at once. Now he is unable to finish them due to a chronic health problem so I'm saving my pennies to hire someone to finish the kitchen. I sure hope it's in my lifetime! :)

Kate Collins said...

My husband gets extremely nervous when I finish a book because I celebrate by taking two days off to watch home decorating shows all day. (Is that pathetic or what?) He knows that I will get lots of new ideas from said shows and that will translate into $$$. Hmm. Maybe that's why cable TV mysteriously goes out twice a year....

cricket said...

I have been wanting my kitchen redone for a 13 years. Our house is all chopped up. I want the wall in between my kitchen and living room knocked out so that when we have people over we can actually visit while I cook. Also we have such a small table it means some people eat in our living room. So how do we visit? Yell through a wall? My cabinets are white and made from what looks like leftover junk wood. I sometimes think the entire house is made up of leftover materials from the other houses built at the same time in my area. When we gutted the bathroom, we found studs that were pieced together, not very reassuring. So we of course replaced those ones. My husband is leaving for a week in May, I know he is worried that I'll just knock the wall down while he is gone. I have been known to do such things. (^^,)

signlady217 said...

When we bought this house just over 8 years ago, the one thing I told my husband that HAD to be done was change the kitchen cabinets (other than regular repainting and carpeting, everything thing else was fine). There were a lot of them, and they were very dark, I think maybe a black walnut stain color, horrible! We finally had them redone 3 years ago. And yes, we hired someone to do them for us. Took a crew of three guys just over a week to get them done, but now they are so lovely! A creamy antique white, yummy! It was unbelievable how much it lightened up the kitchen. Paint is a wonderful, (fairly) cheap way to get a big change quickly. Lots of bang for your buck!

And I love HGTV too! Especially the holiday shows! (And I'm glad your kitty is ok.)

Debra said...

When we bought our house the previous owners had redone the kitchen....in pink. The laminate counters matched the pink walls. I firmly believe all kitchens should a soft yellow. Fortunately, they put in nice white cabinets and ok appliances. After the kichen was painted the required yellow,I just keep wanting black granite counters and a new floor -wood,stone anything but white linoleum. It is big. In our last house, I had to get up during a meal if anyone wanted something from the silverware drawer. I don't miss that.

Heather Webber said...

Yep, kitty is more important, and I hope she's better soon.

We put in a new floor and bought new appliances 18 months ago. I'd love, love, love granite countertops and new cabinets, but it doesn't make financial sense. Hate when that happens!

Kris said...

I guess I'm the odd-woman out, I have a new kitchen. We bought our current house 3 years ago and immediately started to renovate the kitchen. It was pink..from the floor to the counter tops to the wall paper. I don't remember exactly how much we spent on the kitchen, but I know it was less than $20,000. We have a rather large kitchen too. we did replace all the cabinets, but we sold the ones we removed on craigslist so they didn't end up in the dump and we made some money from it. We also replaced the floor to be laminate (but everyone thinks it's wood and we don't correct them). We knocked down walls, we replaced the counter top (love the black granite). all in all..everything but the appliances is new. We love it!

If you care to see some pictures..here's a link:

http://notenoughbooks.blogspot.com/2009/10/hooked-on-house-tours-fall-edition.html

Anonymous said...

Oh, Kris, what a wonderful transformation! Lucky you. Now that I'm facing thousands of dollars of new dental work, my new kitchen will be even farther off in the future. Thanks for letting me live vicariously through your makeover!

Valerie Consoer said...

I have to join Kris in her bragging rights. My husband bought our house shortly after we started dating (I'm convinced to this day that he knew what he was doing). It wasn't but maybe two years old at that time and it's actually a nice house. The only thing I would change is the bedrooms. The master bedroom is at one end of the house and the other two are at the opposite end of the house. Whenever we decide to have kids, I'm going to have to trek to the other end of the house if the kids have a bad dream or something. Good thinking, Mr. Designer! Our kitchen, on the other hand, is quite nice. The guy that lived here before was a dummy and painted the walls a bright neon green with stupid dark blue stenciled tropical themed thingies. I literally had to put Kilz over the dark blue stencils before I even dared to paint the walls. It is now a gorgeous dark orange. It's quite nice to come home to in the fall time especially. I would definitely like to re-do the cabinets, but they'll suffice for the time being. Do not think you're alone, small-kitchen-people. I have dealt with my share of hideous kitchens. Chins up, girlies!

Kris said...

Lorraine - Thanks - glad you liked it. Bummer about the dental work but hope it all turns out well.

Valerie - too funny regarding the bedroom situation, husband and I searched and searched for a house with that set-up and only found one that had it but didn't get it because it was behind a fast food restaurant (and didn't have a room for my library). While it's not the best set-up while the kiddo's are young...imagine how nice it will be when they are teenagers!

EsteeDarla said...

She's so presious we are the same way with our beloved pets their really our babies. Glad all is well loved reading everything here.