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What was the reason you started your kitchen?

Ilene Perl
July 20, 2012

The start of my kitchen was when my DW broke, the self cleaning stopped 6 months before, my cooktop never cooked even, the refrigerator was warm on top but froze on bottom. We wound up at Sears, their Friends and Family day was the next day we ordered new SS appliances, except for DW which I ordered in black thought it went with the old oak cabinets better. I hated the powder blue counter tops so we were going to get new, first I looked at Formica, decided on granite. I wanted a new floor, maybe a BS. Then Hurricane Irene hit, roof damage, and cracking of sheet rock around 5 skylights. I canceled delivery of everything except DW. When looking at granite with my old oak cabinet door I realized I was putting a band aid on something that needed stitches. Money was an issue, we decided to have the cabinets painted thank you GW. Fortunately a contractor that came asked if I liked the style of the doors, I didn't. He knew where I could order new doors, they would tell me what color BM to paint the boxes. I lived in my old house for 20 yrs and hated the kitchen the whole time we lived there. When we decided to buy this house I told DH that the powder blue formica had to go, along with the BS, that was six years ago.....I'm happy with my new kitchen, window treatments were installed today! I will post pictures on Tues, we are going away for the weekend.

Comments (47)

  • chardie

    I had been saving money for 7 years for a bathroom upstairs. Then my oven broke during a dinner party. Shortly thereafter my dishwasher started leaking. I hate to waste money and replace things that aren't broken, but at that point only my cooktop worked. The kitchen came with about 12 inches of counter space. So it was time. I talk about the kitchen reno process on my blog.

    Here is a link that might be useful: new kitchen

  • remodelfla

    cause it looked like this:

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  • Specific ibex

    We re-did our monthly budget last fall, and, looking ahead to this fall when we will have two kids starting college and enormous tuition bills, decided that we could either do a face-lift of the kitchen immediately or we would need to wait about five years to do more. We chose a facelift (added peninsula, redid floor, lighting, countertops, sink, range, paint, etc.). At least now we can enjoy the kitchen while we live off of Ramen noodles...right?

  • doc8404

    Well, let's see -

    I hated the electric cooktop and there was no exhaust ventilation.

    The sink and faucet combination was specifically designed to throw water all over the floor and me. Additionally, the sink was divided so poorly that it was difficult to wash anything.

    The cabinets were falling apart.

    The granite countertops were of the same type stone that is used for tombstones.

    The wall oven was too small for my half-sheet baking trays.

    But perhaps worst of all, the walls were painted in what my lovely wife referred to as "t***y pink".

    Final installation is scheduled to begin August 6th. I'm more than ready.


  • nycbluedevil

    Haha Zen

    I have two kids starting college this fall too (and another already there). Doing the kitchen is my consolation prize for having no kids left at home or as they roll their eyes and say, "Mommy needs a new project..."

    And it is certainly more fun than my day job!

  • Cavimum

    We are in early stages of renovation. The "trigger" was when the microwave part of a 27" wall oven/micro combo died this past March, at the ripe old age of 26 years. Rather than just replace and fiddle with the miniscule cab cut-out differences on a new GE oven/micro combo unit, we're going to remove soffits and dark oak cabs (on dark oak floors) and replace everything. And get a 30" oven and separate microwave.

  • notlazysusan

    What a thought-provoking post, Ilene! We have been talking about moving our kitchen to the back of the house to truly enjoy the views of our backyard and to gain more space, for about 8 years (whole time we have been here). We have one in college now, another heading off next year and like everyone, I suppose, freak out about those costs. We just decided that we should do the kitchen now so that we can enjoy it, rather than wait 5-10 years. We plan on being here 20 more years plus I'm turning 50 (big ugh) in the fall, our 25 year anniversary is next summer. A great gift to ourselves!

  • denali2007

    My kitchen reno was started to a series of unfortunate events, or should I say fortunate events. We bought our home 27 years ago and the best part of the house was the kitchen. I came from a house with a small galley kitchen with three kids. Our kitchen served us well.When the kids graduated from college, got married and had children of their own, I decided to close the kitchen! My dream kitchen became a dorm fridge, microwave and a hot plate. I hated cooking. So, DH took over the cooking duties.

    He put in some under cabinet lighting. Then the dreaded florescent light box died. Yipee! He was going to put in some can lights. Then the faucet started leaking and he was thrilled that American Standard was giving him free replacement parts. However it still leaked and I went out and bought a nice Hansgrohe goose neck faucet. One day I was cooking and agreed with DH that it was time for the Jenn Aire cooktop to go. The coils were not level anymore or heating properly. He wanted a gas cooktop and since gas was brought into our home several years ago, we decided to go that route. Of course we had to have someone bring the gas line up from the basement and install it. DH said lets get a granite counter top. I said not unless we reface the cabinets or get new ones.We decided to go with new cabinets.
    That's how it all started.

  • dilly_ny

    My new kitchen was jump started by vacations. We went to Hawaii and spent three glorious weeks sitting on lanais, sipping pina coladas and living the good life. We decided right then and there that life was too short to be aggravated everyday by a kitchen that didn't work well for our family, lacked storage and was original 1948 cabinetry. We decided to get some Aloha in our life and make some changes. We came home and started planning.

    Another vacation influence came mid renovation, when we took a weekend trip to visit our cabinet maker and stayed in a nice country inn that had a gas, remote control, fireplace. We sat around it as a family all weekend. It was so cozy. We came home and called the architect to add it to our kitchen plan. GW wasn't sure how it would work out, but my Godsend of a neighbor (interior designer) sat with us for hours to make the layout work. I lost my pantry, but worked in everything else I wanted!

    Now, my lanai is my covered porch and the pina coladas should be flowing any minute. I am getting closer to the good life. I am hoping my enormous renovation costs, many of which were charged to Amex, will get us some miles for free flights back to Hawaii.

    Thank you GW for helping me every step of the way!

    P.S. my bathroom renovation in the 90's was also influenced by vacation. Maybe its the only time you really get to step back and clear your mind and set a vision for how you would like things to be.

  • TxMarti

    Our back door leaked and rotted out the bottom of the cabinet next to it. Ripping that out started the snowball rolling. I had planned on rebuilding a few cabinets and new formica countertops, but we've gone beyond that to granite, new sink, and new floors.

  • willtv

    After 23 years we decided we'd had enough of this.

    Like the lighting?

  • CEFreeman

    This is a lot of ruminating and turned out rather long. As usual for me! But it does lead to my kitchen being started!! I hardly remember the beginning:
    We bought this '74 Ranch fully intending to renovate the whole thing. DH had the skills, being a GC, and the world was possible.

    The kitchen had badly painted wanna-be fake wood. In the era before particle board and MDF, there was some weird pressed board, blackish brown stuff. Blind corners, another corner of fake BB countertop, but only uppers on that side of the kitchen. A corner upper with no lazy Susan. No DW, and a fridge where only the freezer consistently worked.

    Then....[big drum roll]
    We had a fire.
    Took that opportunity to move walls, pull out gross and ruined stuff, and had mostly a shell. Anything remained possible!

    Then....[big drum roll]
    DH started screwing around and all work and even talking about it stopped. Said he was tired & sick. Nothing unusual about that. I added in depression from the fire & other losses that came around that time.

    Then....[big drum roll]
    In summer 2007, only thanks to me, his "life" was exposed. In 2008 I realized that now, even tho he talked about getting some $$ together and finishing the house, waiting for him to put his (lack of)$$ where his mouth is was insane on my part. After all, the gigolo profession comes with very little, actual disposable income.

    Now....[BIGGEST drum roll]
    I've been working on this myself for the last couple of years and have accomplished an incredible amount. Learning by trial and LOTS and LOTS of error, it's finally starting to come together.

    I'm not afraid to try and I'm not afraid to rip out and change something if I find a better idea.

    So unfortunately and fortunately, the fire taught me a lot about (my STBX) how to use my tools and not be afraid to try. I'm grateful we bought $1000s worth of materials with the insurance $$, which I have been able to put right into the house where they belong. (No $$ for them now!) I'm grateful that I can make this house and kitchen be exactly what I want, for MY size.

    Wish I had the skills to do it faster, but hey!? What's the rush. I'm only turning 54, right? :)

  • deedles

    Era: 1974 (and that's not my stuff in there, either. Pic from before we bought it)

  • ginny20

    We bought the house, a 1940 Cape Cod, in 1988. The kitchen had last been remodeled in 1961. We did a superficial update in about 1990, with tile floor, new wallpaper and knobs, but other than replacing appliances as they broke, it was still the old kitchen. While it was very functional in many ways, things were getting really old and worn looking. I knew that we'd have to redo it if we ever wanted to sell the house, and it didn't make sense to redo it for someone else. My husband independently had come to the same conclusion. He told me that for our 20th anniversary, I could redo the kitchen down to the studs, and I could pick everything. Those last four words were the real gift.

  • AnnaA

    Cooking is a respite from my work, but our old kitchen kept me very secluded. It was old (you can hunt down pics), but it never really bothered me because it was functional - and we had other $ priorities.

    But, we saved just the same, knowing I'd LOVE a fix to its limits. But the clincher was knowing that if we ever needed to move, I didn't want to remodel so we could sell it, missing out on an updated space. I want to enjoy it now, AND relax knowing the house is that much more ready to be sold, if needed.

    Glad we did it! But, I'm shocked at how much I'm more tempted to move as I'd love to design a new kitchen all over again. How crazy is that?? :-)

  • andreak100

    When we bought the house 1 1/2 years ago, we KNEW that we were redoing the kitchen as soon as we could. Pictures from the listing:

    I'm afraid it looks even worse now, we've managed to take the wallpaper down, but haven't painted because everything is getting changed around. The bathroom is above it, and we had a leak, so there's some nice water discoloration, etc. up in the ceiling area. The room is a mishmash - the cabinet at the right now houses a stainless steel DW (for me, it was a must to have a DW when we moved here, even if we couldn't do the remodel right away). The range was replaced with a Craigslist item that is okay, but will go when the kitchen is redone, and the old (non-vented) hood is still the avacado gren, which matched the carpets in the rest of the house perfectly!) We also had to buy a new fridge earlier this year as the old one wasn't working anymore.

    God love the people who owned this house - they were the original owners from when the house was built in the 1950's and they kept it in great shape, but the last it was updated was in the 1970s.

  • Debbi Branka

    This is so interesting! Great stories everyone! We bought our 1999 house in 2009. I loved the white cabinets and the oak hardwood floors, but hated the formica counters with oak edging. There was 10 years of gunk in teh seams of that edging that was not ours!! Anyway, I started pricing granite and we wanted to refinish the hard wood floors. The in June 2010, while outside with my dogs, I heard a huge crash in the house. Go in to find 90" of wall cabinets had fallen off the wall (backs of cabs still attached to the wall) onto the floor, mangled cabinets and broken glass everywhere. Of course, DH was out of town for work. I called the insurance company (who we'd had for 6 whole months!) and they came out. The cabinets were no longer available, so they replaced all of them (uppers & lowers) because they wouldn't be able to match them. Since they had to replace the cabinets, they had to rip out the counters, so they replaced those too. And the fall had caused some damage to the floor, so they refinished that. And they did all the paint since removing the old cabinets would make that necessary. We paid for some upgrades (modified some cabinet heights and got crown molding, granite and a silgranit sink). Then after that was all finished, we decided to have the island done, and that was just finished in May.

    Here's a picture after I cleaned up the mangled cabinets off the floor:

  • numbersjunkie

    My cooktop was on its last legs (1 working burner left), counter top was cracked, tile floor chipped. And the layout just wasn't working if there was more than one person trying to work. So glad I spent the extra $$ and completely re configured it. A year later I still can't stop smiling when I see it.

  • leela4

    We bought our house new in 1980 and the kitchen looked like this:

    And I was THRILLED with it (note the hide everything carpeting).
    We did some minor stuff in 1990 and some more major stuff in '95 but still had this little problem:

    That space (or lack thereof) between the end of the peninsula and the refrigerator was what prompted us to start thinking of a change.

  • suzanne_sl

    We wanted to build an addition onto an inherited family home, but that didn't work out. So we looked at adding onto the house we've been living in for the past 38 years. That wasn't going to work either. We decided to work with the original footprint and re-do the kitchen altogether, and that was a winner.

  • pghgolfgirl

    1. I hated my wallpaper and border
    2. My oven was a built-in circa 1970ish
    3. Half of the burners on my "Magic Chef" cook top didn't work
    4. My dishwasher didn't work and held my tin foil and saran wrap
    5. I hated the ceramic tile on the floor - it never looked clean, was cold and hard
    6. The cabinets were good quality but were short and certain boxes and bottles wouldn't fit
    7. My kitchen is small and was inefficently designed

    but the main reason I decided to redo my kitchen now was

    8. I found an extra $10,000 CD that I didn't know I had. That was enough to send me over the top with my other savings.

    Demo was this week - cabinets are to be installed the week of August 6th.

  • babushka_cat

    need i say more?

  • instrumentality

    After looking for a condo for almost a year, we basically got sick of looking and jumped on something at the right price with all of our major criteria. But the kitchen, in spite of being twice the size of our tiny apartment galley kitchen, was one of those 1920s kitchen with the stove on one wall, the sink on another wall, and the fridge on another. Barely any storage or counter space, and the existing appliances and floors were a mess (they had been water damaged and the previous owner had just finished right over the damage). I had promised myself one of the advantages of moving out of our apartment was a functional kitchen where more than one person could comfortably work. Our new kitchen didn't really count as functional for us so we're doing it right away - cabinets going in now, paint next week, then counters...can't wait! We've been eating out of the fridge and toaster for the past month.

  • carybk

    Water damage.

    Specifically, returning from vacation to find that the inlet valve to the DW had been leaking for two weeks, the previously white lino floor was black, and the previously level DR floor was wavy.

  • Susied3

    Bought our house in 96', lived with a very nice kitchen for 14 years, HOWEVER, I wanted a gas range, cooking on wobbling electric coils was driving me nuts, and Doc described the t***y pink Formica perfect! (still have those pink countertops, but they will be coming off in a matter of weeks! Hip Hip Hurrah!!

  • zeebee

    No cabinetry. No counter space. Nonworking oven and temperamental gas burners (and I really don't like having to type 'temperamental' and 'gas' in the same sentence). Dying refrigerator.

  • prospect711

    The oven door had to be held shut with a bungee cord, there was no ventilation, the teapot wallpaper was peeling, and the old crappy 18" DW was grinding itself to pieces. There was no place in the old kitchen layout to put a "real" DW so we re-did the whole thing.

  • bahacca

    The orange wood in the house got to me after about 7 years living here. My poor husband grew up in the house we live in, so he'd lived here for almost 30 years. I decided to stain all the cabinets in the house a walnut to darken them up. I started with the smallest space(guest bath downstairs) and worked my way around the house, perfecting the steps of stripping and restaining before I did the kitchen. Whole house took me about 2 years between weather, kids and life(including a slab leak that made us put off the countertops and other kitchen stuff to repipe the house)
    The counter tops are white TILE which I've hated ever since we moved in. I cannot wait until the holidays where I can roll out my cookies on my COUNTER and not my dinette table. And no more GROUT to clean!

  • jakabedy

    Because the whole Bonanza-meets-Boogie-Nights vibe, in all its fleshtoned, slack jawed glory, just wasn't working for me.

  • palimpsest

    A bad DW in the first one. I wasn't going to put a new DW in and then still have to open the fridge door to open the DW.

    A burner didn't work in the second one. The DW was a built in installed with no cabinet on one side, just the insulation. The range hood didn't work. The broiler would burn the gasket on the fridge. The cooktop, hood, and oven were from 1965. The fridge and DW were from about 1981.

  • bellsmom

    Because the old one looked like this:

    and after visiting GW, I finally could envision out what cabs would work in the new kitchen.

  • cluelessincolorado

    I was over the pink... Actually I was over the pink before we closed on it... The lack of a range was a hard one to overcome too.

  • hags00

    It twas the great freeze of 2012 followed by the great flood of 2012 and the great mold infestation of 2012! Now it is all mold remediated, the new drywall is in place, the soffits are gone and my new cabinets and Marmoleum were delivered today...time to build a kitchen!

  • Susied3

    Clueless! We have the EXACT same countertops!!

    Happy day will be when I rip those suckers off!

  • lascatx

    We bought this house when it was about 10 years old. I'd lived with tile counters before and knew I wanted to replace those and the appliances were all looking old and tired and were more basic than what we wanted to be cooking on.

    We decided to take our realtor's advise and wait 6 moths to a year to decide what really worked and what didn't.

    Then the folks who did a lease/purchase on our old house let us know they were not going forward with the purchase part. They moved out leaving a lot of damage and not having cooperated with any showings, so we had a lot of work to clean up, repair and list the house. New buyer was a PITA. Somewhere in there, we went looking at granite and I had some remnants fall on my leg -- I couldn't go out and look at more kitchen stuff for months.

    By the time we got back to looking at doing our kitchen, we had a double oven with one door that wouldn't close and the other had cracked glass. The cooktop was solid disc burners that made cooking difficult and unpleasant (slow to heat and slower to cool and not all of them were heating well)-- and they were rusting out on the sides. The DW was noisy and didn't clean well -- but it was tiled in by the edge of the tile counters. The tile counters had loose and missing tiles. The white cabinets needed paint, but we discovered the heavy moulding and shallow tile overhang meant the cabinets caught every drip and DH insisted on at least new doors. Meanwhile, I'd decided I hated my pantry and the location of the microwave (which had died and was replaced with a countertop model slid into that spot) -- but there was no cabinet that would fit the micro in a better location. Basically, my fridge was the only thing still working in my kitchen -- including me more and more. I started looking at new appliances and counters, then found myself dreaming of better use of space -- both in storage and function. My frugality gave in to DH's desire to replace the cabinets, not just the doors, and I started working on making a better place to cook and bake.

  • cj47_gw

    There was a large crack in the basement wall, and it was getting bigger every year. The cost to repair it was going to be astronomical, because it involved digging up everything to fix the drainage all around the house. So we decided since we were digging anyway, we might as well add a little onto the house and get some space for all that money. :-p And the kitchen looked like this:

    So we added on 10 feet and I got a new kitchen. Among other things. And I no longer sleep on a beanbag in the basement when it's raining hard, waiting for the water alarm to go off so I can spring into action with the shop vac. Life is good.


  • plllog

    Start? I bought the house!

    (Bad layout, bad appliances, lack of storage in big area, to name a few. Not ugly, though not pretty. Really really low on the functionality scale, though.)

  • tripletmom83

    Our kitchen remodel started with a broken DW too. It was only a year old, but when it was pulled out to investigate we noticed the floor beneath it was rotting. Turned out we had had a slow leak from outside dripping down the inside of the wall behind our sink and most of our cabs. It must have been leaking for years with no outward sign. It's a good thing that the intake valve on the DW decided to break or we may have ended up with our kitchen in the basement. The whole back wall of our kitchen had to be torn out and repaired, which of course meant the cabs had to come out. They were 30 years old, we had been thinking about a new kitchen but procrastinating. This was the push we needed.
    When life hands you lemons you make lemonade. We love the new kitchen, and I can't imagine going through being all torn up and not getting anything new out of it.

  • mrsmortarmixer

    Mine started when I was out of town LOL. But there is an incredibly long list of things that I don't like about the old kitchen. Navy blue plywood floors over 3 side by side 2x6's because I guess they didn't think the termites would jump to the other? OSB in the pantry. Yellow walls (my least favorite color) and two types of flimsy cabinets that like to fall apart on occasion. No insulation except for what randomly falls out of the cracks in the ceiling boards and the basement stairs. We were originally going to just immediately put it to use as the pantry, but now we're gutting the entire thing and doing it right since we've already got the entire house torn apart. I honestly wasn't expecting a in progress kitchen when I got home, but I'm sure glad it was started because the dreams of taking a sledgehammer to the old kitchen were occurring more often than I would like to admit.


    Original "built in place" cupboards from 1964
    Extremely small, completely dysfunctional
    Couldn't put anything on the shelves in the cupboards taller than 7 inches nor wider than 10 inches
    Cupboards wouldn't close as they had 57 coats of paint on the doors, including the hinges
    Only 4 small drawers without glides - just wood bottoms sliding on wood frames which created never ending sawdust on the things in the drawer below and on the floor
    The dishwasher wouldn't open fully as it bumped into the cabinets on the other side and was kiddy corner with the sink so you had to reach OVER the sort-of-open door to get things out of the sink and then try and get them into the dishwasher without being able to slide the dishwasher racks out
    "Lazy Susan" was really, really lazy - wouldn't turn at all
    Once the coffee maker, toaster and tiny microwave was put on the counter ('cause there was no where else to put them) there was 24 inches of prep and clean-up space left

    Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera................!

    We wanted to wait to renovate the kitchen till we had more money saved as we are renovating the entire house but after a year of trying to "live with it" it was either renovate or do each other in.

  • blfenton

    Because we needed new living room carpets.

    Our new kitchen was the result of "while we're doing this, why don't we do that." Needing new carpets led to a down-to-the-studs-and-plywood whole house reno.

    The kitchen was included because there was no counter space, 1/2 the sink was broken, tap was leaking, cabinets were splitting, hated the soffits, hated the popcorn ceiling and there was only one light.

  • etchbee

    Oh my God some of these pictures and stories just made me laugh out loud! My 80's kitchen with the laminate countertops and chipping paint on the doors actually looks pretty decent by comparison. We are renovating because I hate the cooktop and want a gas range, and I want a bigger fridge and nicer finishes. Feel a little silly now looking at what some of you have had to put up with! Would love to see the afters along with the befores!

  • melissastar

    Started mine because when I bought this house the kitchen had 2 feet of counterspace, horrible cheap appliances, a floor that had beercaps pounded into it and was painted a grotesque orangey-yellow. But you know what? I was glad it was so ugly. Meant I got to do exactly what I wanted with the kitchen without paying for someone else's bad taste.

  • jgopp

    It looked like the cabinet above the old fridge was starting to sink down on one side. Turned out that the entire wall was collapsing into the basement. The joists below the fridge were cracked and everything was sinking down toward the fridge. Good thing I caught it before the entire kitchen fell through to the basement. Plus it just needed a general update.

  • babushka_cat

    For ehtchbee - the after...

  • a2gemini

    The formica counter top was delaminating and I hated the cabinets. They were the same contractor Merrilat cabinets that were used all over town and even my dentist got rid of his!

    The faucet was dying (and did not make it to the remodel but DH and friend had to fix it - and made it worse....)

    Although, we did minimal changes to the floor plan (no major walls were moved), it is so much more functional!

    Got rid of the awful soffits also!

    After picture of the same run (their is another run with the fridge and ovens)

    Still in the ABB club, though...

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