I needed a new kitchen floor. That's how it started. But when I imagined a kitchen floor that wasn't vinyl tiles, that had no holes in sets of four from dropping forks, tines down, onto it, no exposed nails or ridges from an uneven subfloor, suddenly my cabinets looked old. No doubt because they were. Ten years ago, my husband and I refinished all of them, stained them, and refitted them with new hardware. They looked much better, but that was before we needed a new floor. Now they looked homemade and not in a good way.
It always bugged me to look at the one whole side of a cabinet that we had forgotten to varnish. That just happens to be the one that the trash can resides next to. In a family with children, this means that instead of scraps getting scraped off plates into the trash can in an orderly fashion, they get catapulted off the plate with a butter knife from three feet away. This leaves a cabinet looking like the inside of my microwave after a ravioli explosion. It makes an unvarnished cabinet decidedly harder to clean. It would be a shame to have a new floor and still have to look at those cabinets. Of course, new cabinets means new countertops. New countertops means a new back splash. And while we're tearing the kitchen apart, why don't we get rid of this wall here? So you can see the logical progression of my thoughts, can't you? Still, when a woman's kitchen gets ripped apart, there is some anxiety. Not a separation sort of anxiety, I was quite willing to be separated from my old kitchen , it was the sort of anxiety one feels when one imagines workmen with dirty boots carrying large appliances, boards with nails and disintegrating drywall through my perfectly good living room. This was a living room I did not wish to be separated from. The carpet was only two years old, or maybe three or four? I don't know, but it was perfectly good. When I voice my concern, the contractor will say "Don't worry, ma'am. We can do your living room for another $5,000." "Really?" I'll ask, momentarily distracted. "Yeah. But yer bathroom will prob'ly take a hit." I'll decide against it and ask if it were possible for them to take their boots off when they came in the house and offer them all a wet wipe and hand sanitizer. I don't imagine they'll be very cooperative. We had talked about the kind of cabinets that don't quite reach the ceiling. My sister-in-law has cabinets like that and I always admired her ceramic cookie jar collection she displays up there. Unfortunately, I only have one cookie jar and it's made of stainless steel, a necessity in a house full of cookie monsters. Besides, our cabinet liaison (aka sales rep) said that we can use the extra cabinet space to store things like a tortilla and salsa serving tray shaped like a sombrero. I nodded knowingly. I didn't have a sombrero tray, but there was that gigantic plastic turkey platter on which was depicted a giant cartoon cornucopia and tiny little pilgrims. Plus, I could use those higher cabinets to place things I don't want my children to see or reach, like the cookie jar... or my stash of chocolate. There's one thing about a new kitchen that our kitchen liaison didn't warn us about, though. He didn't tell us how bad the rest of the house would look when the kitchen was finished.