Seven Quick Takes Friday

Seven Quick Takes Friday

Kitchen Desperation Edition

People say their kitchens are awful, but I don’t think they know what awful means. Around the country, families are remodeling kitchens that, from my perspective, are already quite serviceable.

Give me your tired, your worn, your avocado appliances. Your vinyl floor yearning to be wiped clean. The sparkling product of your gleaming double sink. Replace my crumbling kitchen from a bygone era.

Which era, I’m not certain.

We’ve lived with this kitchen for eighteen years, finally socking away enough from a refinance to do something to it, only to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the project and a plethora of choices.

Its state of disrepair crystallized when a year or more ago, I watched a sampling of entry videos for a kitchen remodel competition. These, presumably, were the worst of the worst. I watched these videos astonished that with one exception on par with our wretched room, the remainder would be a giant step up for us.

I’d intended to make a humorous video of our own kitchen as a fun summer project. Perhaps a producer of some kitchen redo show would find it, take pity on us, and help us with an upgrade. Alas, it has not come to pass. Here instead are my Seven Quick Takes from my nightmarish kitchen. Consider it a service, as it will surely make you appreciate your current digs.


The Cabinetry

Let’s just call the shade “poop brown.” Some doors sport interesting,  um, scratches. Like a small canine long deprived of sustenance clawed at them in a desperate search for kibble. One drawer has simply collapsed. Sometimes I catch one of the kids playing with the gaping hole where the drawer once lived, using it as a pretend oven and stuffing things in it as if it were a built-in terrarium of sorts. Or toddler habitat.

kitchen cabinetry

The gaping hole where a drawer once lived.


The Hardware

I possess limited spacial abilities and capacity for basic physics, but even I know sticking a giant, vertical, spear-like handle in the middle of the door gives you zero torque. Okay, probably the wrong term, but the fact is this “design” requires you to use your whole body weight to pull open the cabinet, after which it pops open with such force you careen backwards. These fixtures were also recently responsible for a gash to my son’s leg so large it required seven stitches.

kitcenh handle impaler

Deadly impaler/handle.


The Floor

The floor is held together by duct tape. As part of a home safety Cub Scout requirement, my son once surveyed the house and addressed safety hazards. Upon completion, I think we had a dozen shiny, gray “patches” in the floor. Oh, and there may be asbestos in there. Can’t get a clear answer on that one.

kitchen floor

Duct tape: Holding together the heart of the home for several years.


The Walls and Ceiling

The brown paneling from the seventies is stylish, isn’t it? Topped with wallpaper depicting, uh, are those tomatoes? It’s got blood-red plates, pitchers, bowls, and urns scattered with random red fruit. The dropped ceiling, which we discovered hides the busted out plaster beneath the bathroom, is new. Yes, we replaced the nicotine-stained ceiling tiles with tiles my workplace was throwing out and replacing about fifteen years ago. Lovely, huh?

kitchen walls

Tomatoes, apples, or cherries? Keeping the hungry hordes guessing.


The Countertop

Who designs a kitchen with six inches – six measly inches of countertop next to the sink? There’s no space for an automatic dish washer, so that means I’ve got to pile dishes from dinner for six on an area not much wider than the width of my palm.  (This may or may not be related to the rising number of shattered glassware.) There’s also the issue of the gold-flecked pattern, replete with a few strategically-placed burn marks.

kitchen countertop

A balance beam for dishware.



I don’t know feng shui from chop suey, but even I know an oven shouldn’t go next to a refrigerator with nothing in between and no countertop on either side. On some elemental culinary level, it’s just wrong. 


Doors, Doors, Doors

Part of the challenge in redesigning the kitchen is the number of entries. The rectangular room has one window and four -count ’em FOUR- doors. With access to the basement, living room, dining room, and mudroom, and no heating or cooling, the kitchen is little more than a glorified hallway. With a chimney in the corner. And asbestos beneath your feet.

ktichen door

Yes, the glass is missing. Long story. Above the door is the most charming feature of the kitchen IMHO: the transom window. Only it’s painted shut and half hidden.


For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum.

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5 thoughts on “Seven Quick Takes Friday

  1. When we moved here, I made it conditional on a kitchen reno. We had the same handles on our cabinets. They were Formica, very heavy doors, and the worst part of our kitchen was the extra “bonus” cabinets with sliding doors underneath the wall cabinet and about 2 inches off the countertop. You couldn’t put anything in front of them, stuff would roll underneath, and they were useless except for spice jars, which I do have a lot of, but still. Wall oven was right next to fridge. I didn’t make all the best choices in the redesign, but it’s MUCH improved, though anyone buying this house would, I’m sure, tear it out because it’s “dated.”

    • We knew how horrid the kitchen was when we bought it, but we had other priorities, like a roof! We did A TON of work to the house. Then I quit working and the money for those kinds of things dried up. Sounds like your kitchen was a twinsie of mine.

  2. Oh, we’re practically kitchen triplets! I don’t have dangerous hardware, but the home-made cabinets (really) have single tracks under the drawers and will fall out on your feet if you pull them too far, which is any more than about 1/3 out. We’ve actually added 4′ of counterspace and could use more, but the kitchen project is nowhere near the top of the priorities list any more.

    Those redesign shows where people destroy cabinets that I’d LOVE to have in my kitchen by putting sledgehammers though them make me so mad!! “Oh, this kitchen doesn’t have granite…HOW AWFUL! HOW CAN SOMEONE COOK IN HERE???”

    Makes me want to smack someone.

  3. Pingback: Small Success Thursday | Carolyn Astfalk

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