If the kitchen is, as many say, the heart of the home, our house truly is on life support. Our kitchen is barren and ugly, and has been since I’ve known it. When we first moved in, TMIM was in graduate school, and The Kid was in elementary school, with weekends full of sports. Due to a combined lack of disposable income and time, the kitchen remained as we found it, a pass through to the other rooms, where Dr. T. labored alone to provide us delicious food.

Hamburger Helper reigned supreme when our house was built in 1972.  Although it was originally occupied by one of the neighborhood’s developers, and features many upgrades throughout, the  kitchen is bare-bones basic. I don’t think there was a lot of cooking going on then. But now there is, and TMIM deserves better.  I have painted almost every other room in the house at least once, and we’ve made some other improvements, but we have been as guilty of kitchen neglect as  previous owners, except for installing a restaurant style pot rack when we first lived here. A series of increasingly undesirable tenants hasn’t helped. That pot rack is long gone, replaced by lumpy patches of what I assume is spackle (which for some reason does not cover the nearby holes.) The only good thing that happened in our absence was someone priming the walls, covering the 80’s style country print wallpaper.

I’ve been stewing over  the issue of the kitchen since we reclaimed our turf in 2008, intensely since I came back for good last June.  In the abstract, I know what I want: a friendly, useful space that accommodates more than one cook, and maybe a guest or two.  Specifically, I want to replace almost everything- the dilapidated cabinets, the ancient faux brick vinyl floor (with a seam right in the middle of it-what’s up with that?!) and our ancient stove. I want to add a bar/workspace big enough for two stools, and improve our storage. I would also dearly love to open the kitchen to the family and dining rooms. Is that too much to ask? (Fortunately, our refrigerator and dishwasher are new, energy-efficient, and fairly attractive. Just don’t fall for the term “stainless” steel- it’s not- at least in my house.)

True to my status as a graduate of the Rube Goldberg School of  Project Management, I actually started my kitchen rehab the same day I started the cushion cover for the recliner in my living room  (Let’s not talk about that right now) by finally buying the paint I needed for a little project I found on Pinterest. I painted the side of one of our cabinets with blackboard paint, and trimmed the edges with the paint I bought to perk up the window sill and frame.  The best thing about our kitchen is the pair of south-facing windows over the sink, looking to our front yard and deep wooded lots across the street. The worst thing is the cabinetry- it’s dark oak and seems impossible to really clean, and it’s the first thing you notice. The doors are solid wood, but the frames are not. In a perfect world, we could tear them out and start over. Maybe someday we will. For now,inspired by the immediate improvement  my other painting offered, I am extending the same coat of glossy light color to the uppers, starting with the pair flanking the window. Pre-paint, my view seemed to stop at those oppressive cabinets; now, I walk in and see the trees, almost fully leafed out now, and the white blooms of the dogwood across the street.

Suddenly, I am full ideas for the rest of the room. I won’t start anything else until I finish those upper cabinets, which may take a week or two. I’ve decided to attack them in sections, in order to be able to contain the mess and leave Dr. T room to operate. The “before” is so bad I am reluctant to post pictures. If all goes according to plan, I will proudly post “afters.”