Monday, June 11, 2012

Kitchen Redo Ideas

“I can’t wait to redo this kitchen,” I said eying the room over my morning tea.
“Yes,” Mr. Wonderful said buttering his toast.
“And get rid of this faded blue-green paint.”
“And the ugly copper handles.”
He nodded.  “By the way, what do you want to replace them with?”
“Oh…” I sucked in my breath.  “I have no idea.”

Leave it to Mr. Wonderful to teach me something new.  Again. 

Lesson 1: The easiest part of redoing a kitchen is deciding to: Redo the kitchen.  The hardest part is: Planning the new one. 

This is our house,” he said.  “We can do whatever we want to the kitchen: put in an island, swap the sink with the oven’s position, rip out walls—”

Suddenly with all these new, limitless possibilities I started to feel less confident about this remodel.  What should go in a kitchen?  What should go in my new kitchen?  Of course I needed the basic appliances but did I also want an island?  A wine refrigerator?  A double oven?  What type of kitchen should we install in its place—Country French, Minimalist Cube, Mid Century Modern. Retro-Metro?  I hadn’t a clue.

I needed ideas.  I needed inspiration.  When the mountain doesn’t come to moi, moi goes to the mountain.  At my computer I went to Google and typed in “kitchen remodel”.  In .004 seconds I got over 15 million results.  I scanned the first 57 screen pages.  Then right when my left eye was crossing my right eye from screen fatigue, much like the transit of Venus, I clicked my browser closed.  I hadn’t gone to the mountain of ideas, I’d gone to their universe.  I was overwhelmed.  If I wanted to make any headway, I needed to narrow the idea field.   

I drove to Ikea.  I got my modular Swedish on and meandered through the maze of display rooms.  I looked at every single enkdorp, luftig, akurum room and loved over half of them.  Which meant now I was more lost than when I’d entered the blue and yellow box store the size of eighty-two football fields.  Ikea still had too many trygg and jokkmokk choices that I had to leave the store immediately or risk having my brain go bjursta.  Somehow I escaped while still managing to buy $100 worth of un-kitchen items.  I scratched my head.  How did Ikea get you to buy when you didn’t even know what you wanted?  Clearly what I needed was someone to speak my language.
I went to the bookstore and snatched up a stack of kitchen redo magazines as well as the house porn magazines like Traditional Home, Metropolitan Home and Farm and Home, basically I bought anything with “home”, “shelter” or “cave” in the title.  Then I ripped out the pages I liked.  I ripped out Southern, suburban, urban and Amish Country House styles, of which the latter is actually an oxymoron since Amish houses are always in the “country”.  The question remained: what kitchen style was I—and “Scattered” didn’t count.

The tearing sound of slick magazine paper triggered a memory in my brain.  I’d been tearing up magazines... for years.  At home I went to my filing cabinet and dug out a hanging file two inches thick.  Inside were page after page of magazine, newspaper and advertisement clippings of living rooms, bathrooms and—lo and behold—kitchens (!) that I’d seen and liked during the years that we’d rented and I’d longed to buy a house.  Obviously I liked these clippings enough to keep them when we’d moved.  These clippings were the ideas I needed to remind myself who I was, what kitchen style I liked and what I wanted in a kitchen. 

I made a cup of tea and started paging through the file’s clippings.  I felt strongly that my kitchen was among these pages.  Turning the pages, I knew I’d find it.  In the meantime I got to re-live my dreams of kitchens.  These were just the ideas I’d wanted; the ones I'd already had.