Tuesday, July 31, 2007

More than one way to get a new kitchen

Turns out the solution to my obsession (see entry below) is to have the appliances recalled...one at a time.

I opened what turned out to be a love letter from GE yesterday, saying my
dishwasher had been recalled. They'll come out and fix it for free, or give me $150 toward a new one (or $300 for one of their fancy-pants models). I've never been so happy to find out that one of my appliances might catch on fire.

I ran to Lowe's at lunch today to check out the GE dishwashers. They only had two. I couldn't even open the door on one of them because a display sign was in front of it, bolted to the floor (kinda discourages one from purchasing that particular model). The other was nothing exciting.

What was exciting were the $998 Bosch dishwashers (mmm...stainless steel interior...). Costs more than my first two cars combined.

Now if I would just get a letter saying that my cabinets are about to explode...

Monday, July 9, 2007

So many bad things going on in the world—the war rages on and people keep dying, babies are falling out of windows, a heat wave grips much of the country, Bush gives the finger to the judicial system and the whole friggin’ country, the Reds are still in last place (or close to it; I don't really know)—and all I can think about is how badly I want a new kitchen. I am obsessed.
The previous owners of our house had trouble selling it because of the kitchen. Nobody wanted a house with such an outdated kitchen. Except, apparently, me (But in my defense, I wanted the house for the yard and was willing to overlook the kitchen. Until now).
The cabinets are original, 1977 dark, ugly (oak maybe?) doors with laminate exteriors and particleboard interiors. Many of the plastic clips holding up the bowing shelves are missing or broken (I tried to move a shelf the other day to accommodate my cookbooks to get them off the counter and managed to snap off two of the clips, rendering the shelf completely useless.). They are not only dark, but also stubby, rising up only as tall as the soffit (which I would love to remove and replace with 42” cabinets soaring all the way to the ceiling, but alas, there is plumbing and/or wiring in them and I’m not going to pay to have that all re-routed, despite the fact that, if anyone should have 42” cabinets it’s a 6’0” woman who can reach the top shelf without a step stool).

The floor is peel-and-stick vinyl in a “wood” parquet design. It’s bowed up in places where the dishwasher leaked.

The walls are painted not a terrible shade of green, but the paint job is very sloppy. A slightly different shade of green was used over patch jobs, and the patch jobs look like they were done by a 2-year-old. Clumps of patching material were slapped on the wall and not sanded very well.

The appliances are okay, nothing terrible but nothing great either. White, circa 1990 or so. Except that the dishwasher has rusty racks and we’ve sunk a couple hundred dollars into it already due to a stuck food/overflow problem that was made worse by the repair (long story).
The counters are a gray laminate, also not terrible, although they are laminate. The sink is some kind of strange, hard plastic composite material, not like Corian, but more like what toys are made out of. The newer faucet was nice, until we pried the hot water label/cover off the handle while putting in or taking out the baby tub. It went in the garbage disposal and got ground down to nothing. The light fixtures are fairly new and l like them. Black wrought iron. The pantry is fine; not much we can do about it and although I would like a bigger one, it works. There is no backsplash, just drywall which is always getting wet from the faucet right in front of it.

I have never had a beautiful kitchen. All the rentals I’ve lived in over the years—ugh don’t get me started. I stayed out of those as much as possible. Then the first house we owned was built in 1947 and the kitchen had original everything—including floors (greenish linoleum with tiny indents all over it from a 1950s housewife’s pumps). We replaced those, and I painted the cabinets a cheerful apple green with darker green trim, cleaned up the original hardware, painted the walls a pale yellow, hung white eyelet curtains and it was charming.

No amount of paint or curtains is going to make my current kitchen charming. It’s a disaster and needs to be gutted. It’s not going to happen anytime soon, which is okay because it’s going to take me a while to figure out exactly what I want. Kitchen makeover shows and design magazines have become my porn. I drool over the stainless steel appliances, the pull-out shelving, the integrated sinks. I dream about 1" glass tiles, hardwood floors, a peninsula. I obsessively collect paint chips, mark pages in cabinet brochures, research design and installation companies. I lurk about the kitchen section of Lowe's, running my hands over the clean, smooth cabinets and sleek granite counters. I read page after page of cabinet manufacturers' Web sites, learning about materials and construction. Oh, that I, too, might one day know the pleasures of a new kitchen. It's good to have dreams.