Our kitchen really bothered me when we bought this place six years ago.
This kitchen was a significant downgrade from the compact but modern kitchen of our previous home. No gas range, no smooth granite counter tops and although we had increased our square footage considerably, our new kitchen was as small or perhaps smaller than our last one. It was closed off and our last kitchen had been open concept. It was shockingly dirty. The hood fan was coated with grease and the cupboards had some serious grime in them. The grout between the tiles was black. A deep clean solved some of this but the grout remained dark gray even after some intense scrubbing.
We got some quotes for full renovations, kitchen + 2 bathrooms + flooring, back in 2009 when we moved in. It was, as you would expect, a lot of money. We were on the edge of pulling the trigger when a small sliver of sanity awakened us from our consumer slumber: we were cash poor and mortgaged to the hilt. A new kitchen and bathrooms would put us on or over the edge. We settled for getting the carpet ripped out, laminate floors installed, paint and, after the dishwasher broke, new appliances.
This kitchen was a challenge when we were living here last time around. It’s a one person space. The storage is limited. There is so little storage that when we last lived here I had a china cabinet to store dishes out in the living room. You can’t talk to anyone, or more importantly, keep an eye on anyone, while cooking or doing dishes. Back then I was really frustrated by this kitchen.
When we moved overseas I had dreams of nice of a kitchen upgrade. I got one but as you may have seen on our House Hunters International episode, it was new but closet-like. The next two homes we were living in on the Isle of Man had larger open kitchens and I was pretty happy with them.
For the last few years I have thought of our Vancouver kitchen with a lot of dread. Small, old, ugly. When we decided to move back I was excited to live in Vancouver again but every time I thought of our kitchen I remembered how ugly, old and cramped it was. Renovations were on my mind.
Now we’re back in it and… it’s really not so bad. It’s actually not as bad I remembered it. Sure, it’s old and unfashionable. The pinkish Formica counter tops and the tired looking cabinets have seen better days but they are still functional. Our renters didn’t use the kitchen much so there’s been almost no wear on our appliances.
Yeah, it’s ugly. And closed off and the storage is the pits. We don’t have a china cabinet now so I’m trying to fit everything in and it’s doable but tight.
Should we renovate? We’ve been talking about it a lot. And for now, with our employment situations being somewhat tenuous, and Vancouver being pretty expensive, the answer is: no.
It would be really nice and enjoyable to have a new kitchen. A kitchen that opens onto the living area, that I could see the kids at play and chat with my husband from. But for now, our ugly small kitchen is working and the cash investment for a new one just doesn’t feel like the right use of our savings.
I’m learning to love my ugly kitchen. Ugly kitchens are a first world problem. I’m lucky to live where I live and have what I have. I’ve also come to like that it is closed off. In the evening if I’m tidying up I get that space to myself. Kids and spouse can’t see me so I use that almost alone time to recharge. And being in a mental space where an ugly kitchen bothers me less than feeling financially unsteady would, makes me feel like a grown-up. It makes me feel like I’m actually learning something. That the work we’ve done to get out of debt and be more mindful of what we give our time and money to, has been worth it.
Anyone else have an ugly kitchen? Have you learned to love it or are you suffering and counting down the days to move or renovate?