PixabayYou know how you just go along every day getting up and going to work, paying the bills, cooking meals, doing laundry and all the same old things – and then one day you suddenly look up and 25 years have passed? [Don’t laugh. If that hasn’t happened to you yet, don’t be too smug. It will.]

Anyway, 25 years ago when we first bought our house, we gutted it. One of the things we were most proud of was the installation of a brand new kitchen. Oh, it was beautiful! It had a ceramic tile floor, pickled-oak cabinets, white laminate counter-top with wood trim and gleaming white appliances. I felt like Lady Di!

kitchenB43Then, a couple of weeks ago, we turned on the light in the kitchen, and suddenly it looked like an old woman without her makeup. Our kitchen was wearing a ratty, housecoat and tattered bedroom slippers and had a cigarette hanging out the side of her mouth. She looked up at us with a sneer and said, “I only exist for you, when you need something, right?”

kitchenB44That’s when we realized we’d been terribly self-centered and negligent in her care. Poor old lady!

kitchenB41And [even worse in my estimation] was the nagging question “How are we ever going to sell this place with a kitchen so outdated?”

I already had a pretty good idea of the kind of kitchen I’d like.

Carl_Larsson_vira_1901However, what  I really NEED is less grand and much cheaper. I’m only feeding two people now and the menu preferences are known by heart. Any deviation causes great angst on the part of my husband. He wants beans!

kitchenjohnBesides, I no longer have the burning desire to cook everything from scratch. The microwave is my friend. I do not need a large variety of kitchen gadgets  [Goodbye, bread-making machine!] Nor do I need vast counter space. I have a cutting board and a sturdy, wooden kitchen table.kitchenmess2We shopped around at some of the big-box home improvement stores and got some ideas and had a couple of people come to our  house and give us estimates. The prices quoted were way more than what we wanted to spend, which is probably typical for most folks.

kitchentile1Luckily for me I have a husband who can do anything! I’m not kidding! He has some great skills. I knew he could do most of it himself and do a better job of it, if I could only persuade him to take it on. It might take a little longer, but in the end we’d both be happier than paying someone an enormous fee for shoddy work.

kitchentile2I took to Pinterest in a big way – researching DIY kitchens.  There are a lot of great DIY kitchens out there, but my all time favorite was skiesofparchment  Look at her beautiful kitchen!


Of course, I had to nix the idea of open storage – I need cabinet doors to hide my clutter.

We decided to paint the cabinets ourselves.  First, we cleaned everything with Krud Kutter and wiped it down with Clorox Wet Wipes. We removed the cabinet doors, replaced all the old cabinet hinges with soft-close, and painted everything with a base coat of white latex and a topcoat of Benjamin Moore Bunny Gray.


I say “we,” but really  my sole contribution to this project was to whine about having to accompany my husband to every hardware store and Habitat-For-Humanity in the area with a tape measure and notepad in my purse and a debit card in my wallet.

kitchentile5I also performed what I call “Quality Assurance” and he calls “nitpicking” i.e. pointing out every infinitesimal flaw.

It may take some time to adjust to new elements, but I love it!

mightyquinnALICEI’ve complained that my husband never throws anything away. Yet, I was thrilled when he found a zip-lock bag full of silver cabinet knobs in the garage that actually looked just like what I had in mind! “See!” he gloated. [Pack Rat justification at last!]

kitchendave4We had to purchase some matching silver drawer pulls. Then we decided to remove a portion of our old, white tile back-splash from behind the sink and install a multicolored strip of pencil tile in shades of white, gray and black. So far, our total cost is only $389.00 – a far cry from what was quoted to us, I assure you!

All that is left is the counter-top!

kitchendave1Who would have thought that there may be an advantage to being married to a pack rat? Yes, unbelievable as it may be, he “just happened” to have some big slabs of black granite in the barn!

kitchendave2Unfortunately, not enough. How can this dilemma be solved? Don’t despair! You just don’t know how mighty the mighty Quinn is, do you? He has some big slabs of old butcher-block too. (Which is what I originally wanted.) Good bye, portable cutting boards! Mine will be built-in. Everybody jump for joy!

kitchendave3Next, he will install the new OTR microwave. Oh, and paint the kitchen walls one shade gray darker than the cabinets! Oh, Oh, and then we have to purchase new stainless steel appliances!

      “Come all without, come all within,

You’ll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn!”

mighty quinnA final thought:  I came across a quote by Louis Parrish that said   “If you can organize your kitchen, you can organize your life.”  Well, we’ll soon see if old Louis was right or not.  I have my doubts!

Get your DIY on with CPL:
DIY Ideas: Projects and Tips for Every Room
The DIY Decorator’s Handbook
DIY Art at Home
Kitchen: Decorating Ideas & Projects


Born to read, forced to work.

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2 thoughts on “Hell’s Kitchen

  1. Right! We won’t talk about the 17 “already opened” packages of assorted rubber O-rings; none of which contain any size he needs. We’re keeping them all , of course, because you just never know…

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