Monday, February 02, 2009

One door opens (or is it two?)...

My kitchen-update freakout and I have called a truce.

In case you hadn’t read my previous post about the subject, we have to do some work in our kitchen. Our sliding door is leaking water into the house, which is damaging the floor and into the subfloor, and staining the ceiling of our basement bathroom. In order to fix the floor, we will have to replace the sheet vinyl that is currently there—we have already had to cut a square out of it just to see the extent of the damage. Plus, our adjacent family room carpeting is coming due for replacement. It’s cheap and it’s been well-used.

Because the kitchen, breakfast room, and family room are really all one big room, I have long wanted one seamless floor. The (12-foot long) threshold between the breakfast area’s vinyl and the family room’s carpet is in an aribitrary spot, and is the site of some of the worst wear and tear.

But, I’ve wanted to remodel the kitchen from almost the day we bought the house and I realized just how shoddy of a job the builder had done. And I’d long stated that I didn’t want to replace the kitchen floor without just re-doing the kitchen. Doesn’t seem right to fancy up what we’ve got, when I sometimes fear that the cabinet shelves will simply collapse in the night.

However, now is just not the right time for a full remodel of the kitchen. We have design issues to work out, including whether (and where) to move the existing laundry room (so that we can add its space to the kitchen or as a bigger pantry). And, of course, financing. If the world would stop spinning right here, then financing the kitchen is no big deal. But over the next year, we have kid(s) changing schools (possibly to much more expensive private ones), and possible job changes for at least one of us. And our (currently paid off) cars are aging. Our finances in 12 months may look completely different than today’s, and I’m just not comfortable taking out a second mortgage or home equity loan or whatever to finance a kitchen remodel that we’re not ready for.

The compromise: we need to replace our door, and then the floor. Those two items are not negotiable at this point. And the laminate is purchased. We picked out a new door—a French door this time instead of a slider, and it is much more reasonable in cost than I initially feared. Before installation, we’re talking about 2/3 of what I thought a barebones model would be. That door will be installed over the next 2-4 weeks, probably on the shorter end of it assuming there are no unforeseen complications to the install. After that, my husband and I will find a good long weekend to move all of our furniture, rip up carpeting, add underlayment, snap together floors, and reinstall/replace baseboards.

And, a year from now, we can re-evaluate where we are financially and possibly start real planning on a new kitchen. “Real Planning” involves more than sketches on paper and collecting free catalogs from Lowes. We’re talking actual appointments to design, order, install, schedule everything. That gives us time to adjust to school tuitions, salaries, etc, and possibly even sock away some cash so we’re not financing everything. Or decide to scrap the whole idea if we can’t afford it.

Yep, I’m doing what I never wanted to do: installing a new floor in the kitchen next to the old cabinets. And then planning to possibly rip it right up not long after. But it’s a good compromise. The laminate floors are very reasonably priced, so we aren’t wasting nice hardwood. And the snap-together installation makes me think that we could potentially re-use the flooring (back in the new kitchen, or elsewhere in the house). Possibly. And, I’ve wanted to replace the slider with a French door, so we’re already ahead of that piece of the puzzle.

All in all, a good compromise. Now, I just have to handle living for another month with a pallet's worth of laminate flooring boxes in my formal dining room.

1 comment:

Bethany said...

Pergo (or like material) rocks. Good luck, although I doubt you need it (other than vents or weird angles it's really not that hard to put together) If you don't move it somewhere in your own house when you're done with it you could always donate it to somewhere like the Restore. Habitat won't take it apart, but they will usually pick it up for free.