Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Retirement Downsizing - Kitchen Redo

It’s 7:30 on Wednesday evening and I’m waiting patiently for some inspiration for today’s post. Once again, I have nothing. To be fair, I’ve been tied up this week with painters and plasterers. In between that, I was roaming the aisles of Home Depot, part of the time with my stager, part of the time by myself. (More on that below.)

My Realtor felt strongly (just one notch below “insisted”) that I needed to redo my kitchen. Not a done-done redo; just a freshening up. That meant removing the old wallpaper, plastering, sanding, prepping and painting. Did I mention that the ceiling was also wallpapered? We took the coward’s way out and covered that with wallboard. (Does that make it ceiling board?) The ceilings are so high, we could afford to lose a few inches.

I, too, can afford to lose a few inches, but I’ve yet to reap any weight reduction benefits from all my lifting and climbing. The only thing I have to show for my hard work are black and blue marks up and down the insides of my arms. They are about three inches too short to effectively hold a carton of books without having to clutch them to my chest as though they were a case of my favorite wine. Or any wine, for that matter.

Back to the workers in my kitchen. It’s mind boggling how much plaster dust one room can generate. No matter how careful the workmen are, it migrates throughout the house. They finished at 6:30 this evening and dutifully cleaned up the kitchen area and the front hall. I’m left to clean up the dust in the dining room, living room, back pantry and various other hallways and areas. As you might expect, writing this post seemed like a far more attractive task at this hour.

The kitchen certainly looks refreshed, or as I prefer to say, sterilized to within an inch of its life. If you look up “tabula rasa” in Wikipedia next week, you will likely see photos of my kitchen. (They have not yet been taken.) The only things between the redone room and Realtor perfection are that there is no hardware on the cabinetry and there are no overhead lighting fixtures.

Here is where my trips to Home Depot come into the story. My stager wanted me to replace the non-descript white porcelain knobs that were previously on the cabinetry with non-descript satin nickel knobs. Apparently, satin nickel is the material du jour. Moreover, the drawers will not get knobs, as they had before, but rather bin pulls. Picture an orange wedge, with the juicy part removed, and dipped in metal. You have a bin pull.

In addition, my knobs were in the wrong place. (Oh, the ignominy!) They should be in the very corner at the bottom of the door. Mine were four inches too high. My cabinets are oversized, so the distance from the top of the door to the knobs was probably correct, but apparently that doesn’t count.

I know I shouldn’t take this personally. After all, the knobs were there when I bought the house in 1992. Still, I had an overwhelming urge to cross my arms over my chest when I heard: “Your knobs are in the wrong place.” I guess I should be grateful that the next sentence was: “They’re too high,” rather than: “They’re half way to your knees.” My new knobs will be installed on Friday. Don’t hold your breath waiting for photos.

Also on Friday, the new lighting fixtures will be put up. My old ones looked “too eighties.” I didn’t tell the stager that I actually purchased them in the nineties. In the first place, he wouldn’t have let me keep nineties either. More importantly, I didn’t want to admit that I purchased eighties lights in the nineties and didn’t even realize it. Worse yet, I paid full price. How lame is that.

The good news is that my kitchen will now be trés 2011, or twenty-tens, or whatever we call the decade that we’re currently in. The bad news is that we don’t dare eat in it, cook in it, clutter it, or use it in any way. Now I understand why all those houses that have been professionally staged have kitchens with nothing in them. You move everything out for the workmen to have at it. Then you just don’t move anything back in when they’re finished.

I shudder to think what will happen if the Realtor takes a closer look at our bedroom. If the kitchen is any indication, we’ll be banished from our own bed. I wonder if Home Depot sells air mattresses…

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