For some inexplicable reason, last weekend Scott and I were treated to access to the Food Network. (We only pay for the most basic-basic cable, and we get our extras online and through Netflix, both of which end up being cheaper than extended cable.) How does one describe the Food Network? You may recall my referring to the Williams-Sonoma catalogue as “kitchen porn”? On the scale of kitchen porn, Williams-Sonoma’s catalogue is akin to the Victoria’s Secret catalog, whereas the Food Network is more like a live webcam.
Half the food they make is nothing we would ever eat, but the kitchens they cook in are incredible, filled with all the great appliances and tools and pots and pans and gorgeous serving dishes anyone could possibly want. They never have to make do; they have a props department that always finds exactly the right funky-yet-elegant dish to display and serve the garlic-rubbed toast in, or the perfect dishes in which to put delicious soups.
We ended up going to the website and downloading a few of the recipes we saw as we sat there, awestruck, and watched back-to-back half-hour cooking shows for at least 3 hours. Maybe 4. Both the recipes I downloaded were for cakes, natch. The rest were real food that Scott would make, of course.
I may not be much of a cook, but I do love beautiful dishes, and beautiful rooms, and I could not get those gorgeous kitchens out of my mind. Because while my kitchen is reasonably functional, it is ugly. Whoever built this house had a ridiculous and slightly frightening love affair with beige. No lie, there are at least 9 different versions of beige paint on our walls and in leftover cans in the garage, which was big fun when I went to touch up paint we’d nicked up, and I found that the match I thought I’d nailed was in fact the right color but wrong finish. Which is why I have several shiny spots in my master bathroom and will, at some point, have to repaint the entire frelling room.
But I digress.
The kitchen tile is beige. The paint is beige. And in addition to putting in what amounts to darker beige cabinets, they thought it’d be kicky to put these funky Southwesternish designs on each of the doors, which is the only thing I disliked about the house when we first looked at it. To top the whole thing off, the counters are pink. A light salmon, really. But a lame pink that you see on a million stuccoed houses around here. The whole room seemed to be designed with a single “flesh” crayon that, as we all noted even as kindergartners, matched the flesh tone of no actual person, living or dead, ever. The kitchen has zero personality whatsoever. It lacks “zing.”
You can tell I was cooking the night I took this picture.
Note the frozen pizza cardboard on the stove.
I had gotten over that, for the most part, until the Food Network came along with all its glorious kitchens that made me look at my kitchen anew with fault-finding eyes. The Food Network was aided and abetted by my friends Beth and Pam who have been busily decorating their new home and making everything just so. Their project zeal and tasteful accomplishment have only egged me on.
It had to go. All of it.
Scott and I discussed the possibilities, including expanding the kitchen into the dining room and eating in the family room. And then we came back down to earth and decided that we couldn’t afford a major renovation, or new cabinetry. We will never have our dream kitchen; there’s not enough space in the house or money in the budget for that. But perhaps we could do better with what we had.
We cleaned out cupboards and found that with a little judicious tossing of crap we never use anyway, we probably would have plenty of cabinet space after all. However, that would not cure the “ugly” problem.
So I started scheming. And then I picked up some kitchen magazines, which is always dangerous. And then when I went to Lowe’s the other night to return some stuff I bought but did not use for the never-ending nightmare that is my bathroom sink drain, I wandered through the kitchen and paint departments picking up samples. I picked up a lot of them, and am pleased to see from the brochure that if I buy new countertops, not only will my kitchen will be gorgeous, but seemingly I will also end up with killer hair.
It is a near certainty that I will be painting the cabinets. I’m thinking a nice cream on the outside with red inside the funky Southwestern deal, and perhaps a stenciled thing vaguely echoing that in white again. I wanted red countertops, too, but thought it might be too much. I love red, but I don’t need it to look like a butcher’s.
And then I saw the sink. The heavens may have opened up and a light shone through the store’s ceiling to point out the sink that was made for me, but that might not have actually happened except for in my mind.
Now you can’t put a red sink in a red countertop, because that would be overkill, but in a black countertop, it would be AWESOME, if not better.
So here’s the thing: The painting will be relatively easy, if not painless. But I’m afraid to even get an estimate for the countertops and the plumbing required to get the new sink in place, because what if it is so expensive it crushes all my dreams? I’m obsessing about this more than a little bit, I must admit.
It’s a good thing we don’t get the Home & Garden network, huh?