Out of Left Field: The Kitchen Remodel – Vital


My house was built in 1972. It was a groovy time of shag carpet, macramé and fondue pots. The building trends of 1972 represented a paradox of complete lack of character and craftsmanship mixed with unnecessarily gaudy accents. Ours was a very typical dwelling of the period — a split foyer filled with dark oak trim and ornate brass door and cabinet hardware throughout. Also typical of the era was our boxed-in kitchen, dimly lit by a single fluorescent light fixture adorned with lovely painted pink roses.


We moved into the house in 2001 — just after we were married. It wasn’t perfect, but it was everything we could afford and everything we needed at the time. It was good, but not great. But from the moment we moved in, we dreamed about changes we would make in the future. The walls would come down. Cabinets redone. Countertops replaced. Someday, we were going to remodel. We continued to dream about our “someday” kitchen over countless boxes of uninspired mac and cheese under the filtered pink glow of the most elegant plastic light fixture 1972 had to offer. And then we blinked, and 20 years had passed.


Finally, this spring, we heard the imaginary sound of the last extra penny cha-chinging into our remodel savings account. No more waiting around to see if/when Nixon-era cabinet hardware was coming back into style! We hitched up our britches, strapped on our tool belts and embarked on the genesis of our epic kitchen renovation. (OK, we called a contractor.) After only a single day into the project, we walked in to find a carpet-less, wall-less void, blanketed with a haze of construction dust. Reality truly set in when we saw the pink rose light fixture sitting atop a pile of rubble in a dumpster outside our house. There was no turning back.


The next several weeks were stressful as we tried to carry on with life during the project. Various strangers arrived each morning to tear a new area of our house apart, then magically piece it back together better than it was before. Through the chaos, we always appreciated the necessary turmoil to get to our goal. We did our research. We crunched the numbers. We invited this calculated risk into our lives. After the dust literally settled and the final light-switch cover was screwed in, our dream was officially reality. With a newly unobstructed view of our “open concept” living space, we could see the dirty dishes in our new sink, seated from our orange and brown flowered sofa (we didn’t budget for a new sofa.) And they were beautiful dirty dishes. It was our same kitchen, but also brand new. And it was ready for the next 20 years of culinary adventure.



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