Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Kitchen Envy

I was accused over the weekend of having kitchen envy. Saturday I attended a baby shower at the newly-purchased home of A&A. The house is maybe 30-40 years old, but has a very nice updated kitchen. The kitchen boasts granite tile countertops and a double-oven, as well as newer light fixtures, including can lights over the breakfast area, and pendants over the peninsula/breakfast bar. It is really nicely done. I also noticed that the dimensions are similar to our own kitchen/breakfast area. I told my husband M. about it, and how I liked the arrangement of cabinets--basically cabinets on 3 sides, and a peninsula on the 4th that can be used as a breakfast bar. I'd previously wondered how that sort of arrangement would work in a kitchen our size, and whether it would feel crowded or not, etc. My mind was working on kitchen layouts and appliance placements on Sunday when we had friends over for dinner. They guessed, rightly, why I was suddenly thinking about it.

If I do have kitchen envy, it didn't start with A&A's kitchen. It's been going on since, well, since before we actually owned a kitchen of our own. I blame HGTV. We built a new house almost 6 years ago, so you'd think that we would already have a great kitchen. Alas, we built in a planned development from a builder who charges extra for every little thing. And many of the "standard" features they offered are what I would consider fairly sub-standard. Like the corner base cabinet in our L-shaped kitchen...What corner base cabinet in our kitchen? There is none. There are 2 "filler" strips of wood, and a whole cabinet's worth of storage space completely wasted :( The cabinets are particle board, and the shelves sag (sure, blame it on the number of dishes that I own...), and the sides are the paper "wood-print" design like on Walmart put-together furniture. The *fronts* of the cabinets are solid wood and just fine (we had to "upgrade" those though), though we have no knobs or drawer pulls, because that would have required a second mortgage. The upper cabinets are 42" tall and go all the way to the ceiling (another upgrade, for the storage space), but the they don't sit flush in places (ceilings aren't always completely level, I understand), and there isn't enough room to add crown molding around the top to cover the gaps.

Also, the color is not what M or I wanted--we would have chosen a darker cherry/mahogany stain had they offered us a choice. We had a choice of white-washed, pale yellow-y pine, medium oak, or dark oak. We have the medium oak--though most of the other furnishings we've picked out for the house have been in the darker reddish wood stain colors. (Apparently, later the builder started offering the cherry color because friends of ours in the neighborhood have it, for an upgrade fee of course).

*sigh* The kitchen isn't all that bad, but I do spend a lot of time in it, so the shortcomings are glaring to me. And though I have a lot of storage space in my kitchen, I still have to edit things more than I'd like (and we own 2 china cabinets and have a separate pantry, also full). I have a lot of dishes, cookware, and serving pieces--more than average probably, but I like dishes and cooking and we actually use the majority of this stuff (not every day, but often enough not to hide it away in the basement).

We aren't about to re-do the kitchen right this moment--probably not for many years. And even then, we probably won't be able to afford the fancy custom cabinets, high-end appliances, and granite counters that I'd love to have. But that doesn't mean I can't keep watching those design shows and checking out other people's houses and dreaming of the kitchen I'd like to have some day. If that's kitchen envy, then I'm guilty as charged.


Amanda said...

Alas, the cherry cabinets were two upgrades up, which were a must have so we got rid of the fireplace. We didn't even know that there were taller cabinets available. Probably couldn't have afforded them though. I have major kitchen envy as well, but likewise, no budget to do anything :)

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