Friday, June 12, 2009

Loving My Kitchen

My (rich) sister's Christmas gift to me was a complete interior repainting of my house. The entire residence looks 100% better, but nowhere did the paint make a bigger difference than in my kitchen.

Keep in mind that my kitchen had blue plaid wallpaper which was coming off the walls. I'm not sure that the wallpaper could ever have looked good, even when new. But it was especially unattractive as it peeled. Now that the wallpaper is gone, and the walls are sage green, one can safely cook in my kitchen without wanting to throw up. (There will be no cracks about my cooking--I'm talking about walls, here!)

The kitchen also came with fake oak veneer cabinets. Amazingly, these look a lot better now that they are painted white and the wooden knobs have been changed out for ones made of brushed nickle.

I'm happy with the new look.

But I'm getting a little tired of folks who keep asking if I was going to have granite counters and stainless steel appliances installed.


I wouldn't have granite counters put in even if I could afford them, which I can't.

In fact, I don't get the attraction of granite at all. It's expensive; it's heavy; it's easily stained unless properly sealed; it requires maintenance that I'm unlikely to do; dishes break when dropped on it (something klutzy Grace does all too often); it dulls knives if you cut on it; and it can crack if stressed.

My counters are formica and they work just fine. If I felt I needed new counters, I'd likely get more formica, though perhaps in a different color or pattern.

My real point here is that if granite really isn't optimal in a kitchen, why are all the "in" remodelers and designers using it? Why are people paying a premium for homes that have it?

I feel the same way about stainless steel appliances. Why get something that is a magnet for scratches and fingerprints, requires significantly more expense and maintainance and doesn't work any better than a regular appliance? (Oh, and speaking of magnets, WON'T allow you to stick one's treasured magnets on the front of it!)

Isn't it all a bit precious and silly to pay extra for items of decor that don't enhance the function of the room or the activities that take place there?

Or am I just being cheap?


Anonymous said...

I have formica also AND I LOVE IT!!!!

I think granite and stainless steel is out anyway. People are going back to butcher block countertops and that good old formica! Have you seen the latest colors???? They rock.

Anyway, there's a little know danger to granite and other natural stone and that's RADON. Guess your friends forgot to mention that? A lot of remodeled kitchens had to have their countertops ripped out due to the toxins.


I love it!

PS: my appliances are white. there anything more beautiful than white on white appliances? So clean. So fresh. Hey! I'm hungry. Bye.

Anonymous said...

I don't care what the kitchen looks like. Just feed me.

frugal zeitgeist said...

I'm fond of stainless steel, myself. There are ways to make it affordable: when I bought a new refrigerator, I bought one with stainless steel doors and a black cabinet. It fits in an alcove, so who cares what the cabinet looks like? My neighbor liked it so much that she bought the same one.

I like finding a balance between functionality, aesthetics, and cost. On the functionality side, I don't want to replace something after just a couple of years, so I tend to make sure that whatever's going in is solid. (My home came with concrete countertops, which I love.) On the aesthetic side, what's aesthetically appealing to me may not be aesthetically appealing to anyone else, but as long as I'm happy with it, it's enough. Balancing those factors against cost keeps me from going as wild on upgrades as I might otherwise.

Your new kitchen sounds lovely. Enjoy it!

Petunia 100 said...

Your kitchen sounds very nice! Any chance you will snap a pic and post it?

I have white tile counter tops. Not my first choice, but not too bad either and they are in good condition, so I won't be spending money to change them any time soon. I have other more pressing home maintenance needs.

CT Mom said...

Are you being cheap? Absolutely not! When we redid our kitchen in 2005, we put in formica with a granite look, for a fraction of the price. People think it's granite, and don't believe me when I tell them it's not. The only places we have granite is in our two bathrooms as countertops. That's it.

We also didn't replace the appliances, either - we only added a microwave/hood over the stove. The other appliances worked just fine then and worked within the design, so why buy all new ones? I love our new kitchen, and I'll replace items when they wear out, not when they supposedly go out of style.

Sharon said...

Funny you should post this as I'm contemplating updating my kitchen. We are looking at taking out the cooktop on our island and just using a stand alone range. I've oftened wondered when stainless steel and granite would go out of style. I'm looking for stuff that is "classic" and that will never go out of style as this will probably be the last kitchen upgrade I do in this house. I do want to replace appliances with energy star appliances. Anyway you slice it, it's just plain expensive.

I, too, would love to see a picture of your kitchen!

Lori said...

I think you're being sensible, frankly. I also have Formica and it looks great. And stainless steel applicances are a nightmare to keep clean. The one "fancy" thing I did to my kitchen was to install a dishwasher, and because I'd seen and liked them in my friends' very fancy granite-y kitchen, I went with a Miele. But because I wanted white, instead of stainless steel, it had to be special ordered. Cracked me up no end, as every single friend with stainless steel told me they'd never get it again.

Bouncing Back said...

You are not being cheap. Folks went from formica to tile to butcher block to Corian to granite.

I've got a formica counter top and I may 'update" it with some tiles from Home Depot. I may even just paint it (yes you can paint formica) one weekend.

chb said...

I'm totally with you on the granite, and I'm obsessed with all the house shows that push it so strongly! Our apartment rental actually has granite, and because of the specks, it is SO hard to tell if it is either clean or dirty. It drives me NUTS.

Rhea said...

I would love to have a fancy kitchen with tons of counter space and nice applicances. One day...

mapgirl said...

I have granite in my bathroom and I'm already regretting having to seal it before my tenant moves in.

I think a lot of the Silestone/Corian stuff looks great and is **way** less in cost and maintenance.