2 truths and 1 lie:
When you have guests:
Everyone ends up in the kitchen.
They tell you your Oak Kitchen Cabinets from 2005 are beautiful.
Trying to get guests to congregate in a different room is impossible.
Can you spot the lie?
Guests always hang in the kitchen no matter what type of allure you add to other locations of your house. It reminds me of when my boys were toddlers and I would do anything to distract them to keep them busy on their own so that I could actually accomplish something, like take a shower. “Play with mommy’s makeup” or “Make a mess with all this Tupperware.” It works for about 30 seconds max. Same issue with adults. So if we are all chillin in the kitchen, here’s one more truth: You have to enjoy being in your kitchen and it sure helps if it’s pretty.
How did I end up with OAK KITCHEN CABINETS? I need to explain. It’s long and winded and like trying to explain the time my friend and I put money in a juke box at a bar in Chicago and it started playing Bobby Brown My Prerogative “accidentally.” There’s an explanation, I swear. I didn’t have a choice with the oak cabinets. I need you to understand.
We had one weekend to house shop in Texas. We took a super early flight out of Baltimore and had no more than 48 hours to pick an area and choose a house in what turned out to be a red hot housing market. Of course, we could have taken some time to think about it and planned another trip, but that would have been too sensible.
Being unfamiliar with a market that is a seller’s market is a daunting experience. Remember the housing crisis of 2006? We didn’t want to make the mistake that we saw so many others make. I like renovating homes. By renovating, I mean picking out finishes and having someone else do the work. It’s costly, expensive, and risky if you don’t know your market.
I didn’t want to of down the renovation road again, but after looking at 12 homes where every single kitchen had OAK CABINETS, I was left with no choice. Some of the houses had painted their oak cabinets, and those looked ok, but it was obvious it was a “quick fix” to sell. There was just no escaping the oak.
We decided which home we wanted to put an offer on and waited. The sellers wanted to see what else they were offered. So annoying. Finally, they accepted and we closed 30 days later.
After moving us cross country, Chris had to go back to the East Coast to finish his projects. My days were long and uneventful and I copped an “I’ll just lay outside by the pool all day” attitude. Turns out, that isn’t as great as it sounds and that got boring. And then it got really really really hot, like living on the sun hot. My boys swam early morning practices, played computer/video games all day (don’t judge) and swam evening practices. I needed something to do since I no longer was employed once we moved here. I told myself to just be happy we were out of our rental house in Pennsylvania and enjoy a quiet summer.
That kitchen though. It consumed my thoughts. I started out slow. We can just add hardware and it will TOTALLY change the look. Maybe just a new faucet. I’ll just paint the island. I wonder how much new cabinets would cost? (Whoops- wasn’t supposed to let my mind go there.)
There was no way I was going to let myself really think about a new kitchen remodel. We’ve done 3 in the past and here is what I know to be true for every single kitchen renovation:
- They are costly and you spend more than you planned.
- They are messy. Dust everywhere forever.
- Eating meals gets complicated, especially with 2 teen boys who are swimming and burning 1000’s of calories a day.
- It takes longer than expected.
- You really need to know your real estate market to know what will work for resale value.
- Did I mention it takes longer than expected and always breaks the bank?
The last kitchen we did was a mess. My rational brain told me that a kitchen remodel is just not going to happen. Don’t you hate when that kicks in? I sometimes despise being an adult.
I jumped online and searched and searched and searched for options. Turns out, I’m not the only one who needed to update oak cabinets.
Before starting, I wanted to have a fully detailed plan. I explored every option I could find: chalk paint, oil paint, milk paint (?), glazing, staining…
Painting seemed like an obvious choice. I’ve painted before. I actually just painted the powder room. Why not paint?
But then I remembered how I had looked at homes where they had painted their oak cabinets and it just didn’t have a look with staying power. Anyone that walks in will know in a second that they are disguised oak cabinets. If we had to sell, would a kitchen full of painted oak cabinets actually be worse than the cabinets being left as is? Will it just look like a quick fix? These are the the terrifying thoughts that kept me up at night.
I had an “Aha!” moment. It’s probably not the oak I hate, it’s the color. Rift cut and quarter sawn oak are actually trendy, modern choices for cabinets. Oak can’t be that bad. Why not refinish and stain to my liking?
Truth is, I have never done anything like this before. Design and select finishes for a new kitchen? YES. Roll up my sleeves and actually do the work? Not at all. Regardless, my mind was set.
I shared this fantastic news with Chris. He was anything but enthusiastic. It kind of sounded like a vendetta to ruin the cabinets so we HAD to replace them.
The thing is, he just moved us 1400 miles across the country and then abandoned us, leaving us to fend for ourselves in the giant state of Texas. That’s a little dramatic, but he knew that’s exactly where I was going to go if he said anything but “Go for it!”
So I did.
Orange Oak NO MORE!!