My kitchen was nice.
We moved to this apartment in 2001, used the original wooden cabinets plus a couple of metal, glass-fronted 1950s cabinets we brought with us from Tennessee to North Carolina to New York. With new Whirlpool appliances, tile floor, and brushed aluminum counters (from Formica), the kitchen was fine. Later, our friend Toby made new rounded-corner cabinet fronts and drawers, and I painted them red and put snazzy brushed steel 1950s-tailfin-looking handles on them.
It was getting shabby. The not-very-good-to-begin-with paint jobs on the cabinets was getting chipped and perma-grime. The oven stopped working. The floor had cracks. The dishwasher sounded like a plane taking off. The counter was battered (though handsomely). The faucet barely flowed and then dripped.
Steve and I are planning to stay here. This New York apartment is a great place to grow old. It's got elevators. You can get anything delivered. Curbs are all ramped and all buses can pick up wheelchairs and walkers.
I pictured us in a few years, shuffling around our sticky old ruin of a kitchen, each of us also a sticky old ruin, old cabinet doors falling on our heads, us shakily lighting burners with matches because the ignition doesn't work any more, our fingers sticking to the grungy knobs. Would our decrepitude be more tolerable in a brighter atmosphere? It's hard to say. Maybe we'll be so bleary-eyed, we won't notice. But if we do notice, it'll be depressing, and we are unlikely to have enough money then to fix up the place, since we will have spent it all on thick glasses and hearing aids all kinds of medical things.
I embarked on a re-do to take us into old age. Here is the floor plan of the kitchen as it was:
After months of drawing, talking with friends for ideas, and research, here is what I came up with. Using the same footprint, it didn't seem like much of a change:
The old metal cabinets would be stripped and powder-coated. I'd replace the red cabinets with--red cabinets. Replace the gray tile floor with--a gray tile floor. A new stove would turn the corner and be against the wall by the window with a new little cabinet and counter to the left. A new refrigerator with the freezer below and a smaller, quieter dishwasher would be stainless steel, as were the ones they were replacing.
There'd be a broom closet to hold the ladder I seem to need all the time to reach upper cabinets. The ladder now stood by the stove--not an attractive look. The garbage never had a good spot either. Now I'd have a drawer just for garbage. A garbage drawer!
Really, it was the garbage drawer that got me motivated. My sister got one, and loved it. When I visited her, I thought, YEAH, that's what I want. A garbage drawer.
I'd also have the doorways widened, especially the one leading to the dining area, which is off the living room. I hoped to create a kitchen/dining space that would be sociable, almost like an eat-in kitchen, but, well, a dining area/kitchen. Best of all, the sunset could show itself off into the kitchen. Sunset is when I'm often in the kitchen, and I miss those sunsets.
I'd gain some storage space, a little counter space, more light, more communion with the dining area, but it would look similar.
As I priced out the components, one thought kept going through my mind:
Are you crazy?
Not Crazy, probably
Yesterday, demolition started. And when I looked at that big open doorway, I thought, oh yeah, this is very very nice.
First, here's how it looked just before the sledgehammer:
Here's how it looks now:
That's gonna work, right? Kitchen/dining area coming up.
More to come.