First in a series. Deconstruction is my forte in the kitchen. I slice, dice, shred, chiffonade. Unlike Willow, the main character in my in-progress project, People in Charge: A Novel, I have done nothing to improve my skills.
Nothing except marry well. Exceptionally well. My love is a fabulous cook. He deserves to work his culinary magic in a suitable kitchen.
When we moved into this house on June 30, 2000, the kitchen was past its prime. It still is. Even after an extensive renovation that begins with a portfolio of ideas called The Casa de Roo Manifesto. We get a loan and hire an architect in September 2006.
Problem one: after several revisions to scale the architectural drawings to our fiscal reality, in October 2007, builder after builder confirms the plans still cost more than double the budget.
“Clients love my work,” the architect says. “They just find the money.”
They. Just. Find. The. Money.
I must be looking in the wrong places, because I have never found tens of thousands of dollars waiting to be squandered.
Problem two is good fortune in disguise: the housing crisis. Via a letter in February 2008, the bank informs us some bureaucrat or algorithm cut our loan in half. The fates aligned to protect us from over-investing in a neighborhood that, to this day, is filled with vacant homes. The property across the street is in foreclosure.
We severe our relationship with an architect whose last name sounds eerily like Dumb-ass. Give marching orders to a new architect and hire a builder to carry them out.
Once permits are approved, we throw the pricey, impractical dumb-ass plans into the dumpster, along with the construction debris my beloved and I haul out as part of doing the demolition. That’s when we learn the hill is sliding onto our home. Money gets funneled to the engineer and foundation work.
Fast-forward to June 2009 and our simplified home rehab passes final inspections.
Except for the kitchen.
Plastic containers have orgies to produce more containers for which lids are eerily missing. Non-stick surfaces scratch. Glasses shatter. Plates no longer satisfied with the self-harm of chipping now hurl themselves from the builder-grade cabinets. Collectively they announce: it’s time to improve our living conditions.
We’ve been saving and planning, so we agree. The new kitchen project kicks off in late January 2014 with the selection of Frank K as our contractor. By late June, we’re down to sheathing, sub-flooring and studs.
Ya gotta let go of what no longer works and embrace the interim chaos in order to welcome transformation.