The demolition has begun! After more than a decade of living with an outdated and dysfunctional kitchen, we are slapping the tackiness out of this place and creating our own functional, beautiful, and family-and-friends-friendly space. My husband and I are thrifty, practical people--and because of that, we put off updates to our home until we got through the messy, silly, frantically busy, and expensive years of early parenthood and entertaining groups of rowdy children. But now our daughter is graduating from elementary school, my parents are newly retired and eager to help, and pandemic legislation put our student loans on hold, so IT IS TIME!
Until a couple of weeks ago, our late kitchen featured: a partially broken, scuffed-up, shabby, and weirdly tiny sink; a rusty, falling-apart vent hood; a poorly installed, ugly tile backsplash; broken cabinets with peeling doors; three lights and several outlets that don't work, due to horrifyingly wrong electrical wiring; countertops made of rotten plywood with a shattered layer of grungy tiles pasted on top; and a Tuscan-themed wallpaper border around the top of all walls in the kitchen and dining rooms, plus an EXTRA double layer of stacked wallpaper borders on the sides of the wobbly, misaligned soffits, one of which floated almost, but not quite, directly above the peninsula counter.
It feels empowering to finally smash it all up and start over. The process has been hard and dirty and hot and sweaty and stressful and resulting in minor injuries, but my husband and I and my parents are all bonding over the shared experience and proud of what we've accomplished so far.
The kitchen we're demolishing is tiny, and the workers gotta eat, so my husband and dad have done most of the initial work while my mom and I watch my daughter at my parents' house and cook meals in a functioning kitchen. Sometimes we also watch an episode of Love It or List It, a surreal glimpse into the lives of people with a million bucks to blow on demolishing a perfectly sound, functioning kitchen that just isn't quite the style they prefer, chucking it all in the trash, and building a new one for no real reason other than changing trends.
I could feel wrathfully jealous, but I don't. The other way to think about it is with awe that some people cannot be happy no matter how much wealth and excessive square footage they own, while my family and I can be made happy by just getting started on creating our "dream kitchen" in a space not sufficient for some wealthy whiner's walk-in closet.
We are good at winning the gratitude game.
It's a relief to invest in new plumbing and electrical circuits that we can rely upon to keep working and keep us safe in the long run--and to remove all the gross, moldy junk from the inside of our house, particularly in the room where we prepare food and entertain guests.
It's enjoyable to come up with design ideas and scavenge resale shops with my husband, a fellow artistic weirdo who shares my visions well enough to get excited about the same light fixtures but also has different enough needs and tastes to come up with good ideas that I wouldn't have dreamed of on my own.
On top of enhanced health, hygiene, safety, and ease of preparing meals and cleaning up, we are looking forward to all the fun we're going to have with family and friends who come over for dinner. Our new kitchen and dining area will allow us to have more good times and make new memories in a place that feels more like our own home than ever.
We are trying to be Marie Kondo-style thankful to our little old kitchen as we tear it down and haul its wreckage to the dump, but oh my God. For so long, we've lived inside of a shoebox diorama of other people's mistakes and imaginative limitations, and that time is finally coming to an end. We have achieved another level of adulthood! At long last, we are claiming our right to feel completely at home in our home, a space that reflects our personalities and tastes and supports the things we like to do, the relationships we want to nurture, and the health of the people (and cat) who live here.
Visit the Nutshell for the next three Mondays for updates and pictures!