Monday, November 28, 2011

calm before the storm

Peace prevails, but not for long.  Next Monday I will be turning my house over to the renovators who are re-doing my kitchen.  I have heard horror stories from those who have endured kitchen renovations.  I never thought I'd be joining their ranks.  Yet here I am, bracing myself for my small house to become engulfed in turmoil for at least a month.  And I will have no kitchen during that period.  I just hope it doesn't send me over the brink.

I never gave a hoot what my kitchen looked like as long as it functioned.  (And it did.)  But ohhhhhhh nooooooo.  It's not good enough for the people who viewed my house when it was for sale.  They found my kitchen unacceptable.  I hope they realize that now, after spending a ton of money on renovations, I will have no room to negotiate when the house goes back on the market in the spring. 

Of course I'm scared.  I just can't figure out what my biggest fear is.  I suppose it's that the renovations I'm doing won't be enough.  Is it enough to do the kitchen, the floors, and paint the walls?   I can't help but notice that once you start making changes to a 50 year old house, everything that isn't changed stands out more than it did before.

I worry that the renovated kitchen will end up being mine, and it isn't being designed for me.  It is designed for Jane Doe Homebuyer.  The plan is that I am supposed to be able to sell this house after the renovations.  But the plan may not work, and I don't need or want a new kitchen.

I am scared.


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Kitchen confusion

This is my kitchen.  Apparently many people who have had showings at my house (which is for sale) have considered this kitchen to be unacceptable, in that it is small and in need of updates (according to them).

Sometimes that assessment feels like an insult, since I personally have no problem with the kitchen (although I'll admit that it's small).  How is it that this kitchen is good enough for me but it's not good enough for other people?

My realtor, who really is good at his job, claims that in the current market, my house will not sell unless I have certain renovations done in the kitchen.

Yes, the cabinets look worn.  They are 50-year-old high-quality cabinets.  They don't look particularly impressive under a microscope but they function perfectly well.

Yes, the oven and stove are dated.  But they work perfectly well.  (The oven is beside the stove, above it and to the right.)

The refrigerator is not stainless steel  Who cares?  It works.

The floors are "vintage".
I wonder if flooring sold today will last 50 years.  Let me guess.........

The countertops - well, even I don't like the countertops.  But....yeah, they work.

Why, I say why do so many people find this peninsula offensive?   Seriously.

When I moved into this house, the cupboards above the peninsula had doors on them, making the kitchen tiny and dark (and yet I bought the house!).  I removed the cupboard doors, which instantly brightened up the kitchen.

As it is, the peninsula divides the room into a (small) kitchen and a (small) dining area.

The renovation recommended by the realtor calls for demolition of the peninsula.  (This was originally my idea, but I have since abandoned it.  The realtor has grabbed onto it like a bulldog.) 

I think it would be a mistake to open up the area into one room.  It will then be about the size of a normal kitchen (although still not a very big one).  The realtor wants me to get rid of my current table (rectangular with leaves) and replace it with a small round elevated cafe table with 2 chairs.  (Augh!   Is he nuts?)  I think the proposed plan will look awkward and will draw attention to the fact that the house has no dining room.

These 2 comparative drawings put it all into perspective:

As it is now, I could probably fit 6 people into my dining area if I tried.  Maybe.  (I have never tried.)

The realtor's (and contractor's) plan includes painting the cabinets white, replacing the countertops with granite, moving the (new stainless steel) refrigerator to the end of what is now the dining area, getting rid of the soffits, removing the wallpaper (I'd do that myself), installing a new stainless steel stove, ceramic floors and of course removing the peninsula.

Here's what I think:  I should replace the counters with black granite, install white and black large checkered vinyl flooring, remove the wallpaper, replace the refrigerator and stove with stainless steel, leave the old oven in place (it can be used for storage if it's not needed for baking).  Leave the peninsula as is.

I am not a realtor, nor am I a renovator.  And I am the type who has a hard time spending money.  But tell me.  What do you think?