Piece of Mind: Resigned to settling for less

July 06, 2011|By Carol Cormaci

I've been eyeing a couple of spots recently loosening up in the faded wallpaper that has, until now, seemed permanently cemented to the walls — and even the ceiling — of our shabby kitchen. I've despised that paper since we moved into our house 25 years ago this month, but updating the kitchen has remained on our back burner for all these years.

That's because I don't just want it freshened by a simple coat of paint. That poor old room, surely stylish enough when it welcomed its first homeowners in 1951 (coincidentally the same year the Community Center was built), is crying out for new cabinets, a new sink, new faucet, new countertops, new flooring. A wine bar would be nice too.

We also should address the fact that it's not an “eat-in” kitchen, as there is scarcely enough space for the tiniest of tables, let alone any chairs. That could be rectified if we knocked out a wall and encroached into our backyard.


I knew all this on my first walk-through of the house. But I had no idea then that a quarter-century later, I'd still be looking at the same worn kitchen.

Read today’s article on the dilapidated state of the Community Center and you’ll see why I identify with its beleaguered board.

Anyway, even though I realized I'd have a really hard time convincing my parsimonious partner that we should start all over on that section of the house, in about 1989 I took a Saturday class at PCC to learn how we could go about remodeling our kitchen on a budget.

I remember the instructors, two women who were in the business of redesigning kitchens, convincingly presenting the subject as though it would actually be a doable project for any of us. I became optimistic that this little job would be taken care of within a year or two.

Our teachers also entertained us with amusing stories centering on some of their remodels. I rather admired their candid San Marino client who, when asked what she most needed from a new kitchen, replied that her sole requirement was that it look fabulous as she walked across its shiny floor and flipped off the lights on her way out to dinner.

Good answer, I thought, but probably not an anecdote that should be repeated to my husband if I wanted his buy-in on the project.

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