Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Series of Small Kitchen Disasters

Usually, when I'm talking about kitchen disasters, it's things I tried to make.

This time, it really is the kitchen. And it's really a series of very first-world problems, to borrow Gwyneth Paltrow's phrase.

But, problems they are.

Over the summer, we had ants invade our house. They are teeny, gross, and, as I mentioned on Facebook, the only "natural" solution that was working on them was squishing them. Vinegar wasn't destroying their tracks, they seemed attracted to salt as much as sugar, and cinnamon was merely a delightful scent, no barrier at all. We used the opportunity to clean out our cabinets, put everything in plastic bags or containers, cleaned up as scrupulously as I know how...and still. The ants.

Before that, my drainboard was knocked off so it wasn't draining in the sink, but behind the sink, and I didn't notice and it warped the particleboard under my laminate countertop/backsplash. It bothered the heck out of me at first but now I barely notice it. (More on that later.)

Before that, some of you may remember that we needed a new refrigerator and ended up losing almost 2 cubic feet (which is a TON of space) because the cabinets were built around the old, unfixable-for-less-than-$600 fridge.

Now today, the door to my despised (though oh-so-useful) corner cabinet fell off. Not at the hardware, but at the architectural-interest indentation. So the wood split.

And if you've been with me for any amount of time, you know that my dishwasher is on a long march to death as well.

So. My question to you is: when do you pull the trigger on a redo? On one hand, I hate to do it. The kitchen was one of the first things we fell in love with at this house. The new-for-our-town kitchen was a huge selling point and it has been functional and homey. Neither of us adored the laminate countertops but in some ways, that was fine, because the spot where the superglue exploded or the heat discolored or the kids banged with a rock--who cares? But if I get a new kitchen. I will care, deeply. AND...I don't at all trust my own instincts on house projects. There isn't a single major or even minor re-do here that I wouldn't change somewhat dramatically if given the chance. (Except the sewer line. That was awesome start to finish. But anything with a design element--I just am not happy when all is said and done.) Part of it is I don't know the right questions to ask. Part of it is that I lack the ability to envision things in a way they are not. I would agonize about things like, should we build in a breakfast bar to the peninsula again even though we don't use the one we have because surely this time it would be different?

Did I mention that the "vent" (which is really just part of the microwave) does not in fact vent?

My usual (cheap) MO is to just eke things along and be frugal for as long as possible. But when does frugal cross the line in to shabby (and not shabby-chic, just plain old shabby)?


Mom24 said...

That's a tough one. At least a kitchen remodel will really add value to your house.

We remodeled our kitchen two years ago. For the most part, I love it. I wish I had not gone with deco-tiles in the backsplash, and I don't love the paint. The tiles I can live with, I like them, I just don't like the permanence of them. The paint, one of these days I'll decide it bothers me enough to change it. That's just all to say I understand where you're coming from about the fear/nervousness of not making the right decisions.

One piece of advice--we were going to buy our cabinets from Lowes and have our contractor install them. At the last minute, I called a kitchen and bath remodeling company--with a pretty expensive reputation. The beat Lowes price on the cabinets AND the salesperson was much more knowledgeable about things we should get, for example wood panels on the exposed side of the cabinets above the sink, etc. Most cabinets are not solid wood anymore (sigh), we would never have even known that was an option with our Lowes salesperson.

Good luck. It's not easy. Also, eventually you'll get over the 'everything's new, don't mess it up' mentality. Eventually. :-)
It took me about a year to let up on our refinished hardwood floors. Now I just sort of sigh and accept that we do have to live here.

Kelly said...

I say do what will make you happy. It's an investment in an area thats' the heart of your house where you
(and the boys) spend lots of time. (see, it's so easy to rationalize spending someone else's $$). If you do decide to redo, I'd be more than willing to help you plan...I love kitchens...if you didn't know that! :)
Hi to everyone for me!

Anonymous said...

I can only chime in from my perspective, and as you know, my house is always in the "work in progress stage" but.. I'd try and eke it out another year or two until you have less likelyhood of a kidtastrophe. The fact that you will care will most likely mean that something will happen. (wow aren't I a pessimist?)

And here I am sitting around waiting to redo my floors (ugh the floors) until the kids are a little less likely to destroy it!

brandy101 said...

Now that I am living in a torn-up house, I can tell you it is TOUGH but we hope it will be all done befor eit gets TOO cold outside. You might want to plan to pull the trigger the end of next spring so then you can at least be grilling and eating outside and such while your kitchen is out of commission.

Start now finding contractors, researching prices and ideas for cabinets, flooring, counters, appliances.