Kitchen Renovation: Prelude
And so it begins: the insanity of a kitchen renovation. Today the contractors will begin to rip out my 35-year-old cabinets and appliances that are old enough to be on the brink of failure. (One already did; I haven’t had a freezer since it failed on New Year’s Eve, in the middle of a party! One tends to eat a lot more salads while freezer-less—not a bad thing).
I’ve already been through the anxiety of designing for myself—so hard to do I think. I’ve planned, selected materials and products, found contractors, and then rethought everything numerous times, usually in the middle of the night—normal angst.
Now add the green thing. OMG, this renovation has to be as green as green gets and the level of complexity became scarier and more difficult than I imagined. As my daughter once famously said as she watched me struggle with the sustainability of some simple purchases, "Mom, it sucks to be you."
It is possible to know too much and then realize you don’t really know near enough. Take demolition for example. Please! I’ve instructed my contractor that 95 to 98 percent of what comes out of my old kitchen must be salvaged, reused, or donated, but how and where isn’t easy to figure out. As this plays out, I’ll be reporting on the details.
I also plan on sharing this journey with you over the next months: how I made the decisions that I did, the obstacles I stumbled across, and, yes, the painful compromises.
First the backstory: there’s plenty to love about my current kitchen. It’s a good size with lots of storage and the floor plan really works. The oak cabinets are in pretty good condition for their age and recent visitors have questioned why I’m replacing them. My greenest decision would be, as it often is, to refresh and keep them, but I really don’t like them and have long lusted after a new gorgeous kitchen filled with all the sexy amenities and gadgets. Plus, my appliances are energy inefficient and reaching the end of their useful lives (see above referenced freezer.) So the decision has been made to go the less green route and renovate. My old cabinets and some of the appliances will find new homes; my new stuff will have the lowest possible environmental footprint and, after all, happiness counts.