Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lipstick on a pig...

Back at the end of July I decided I couldn't live with our kitchen any longer. I'm not entirely sure what changed, but I think the breaking point was the day that the sprayer broke for the third time in less than a year, the drainpipes completely gave up draining any water into the sewer in favor of our lower cabinets, and the second piece of peel and stick tile cracked, broke free of the un-primed sub floor and revealed yet another issue with our long suffering kitchen.

Whatever it was, I cracked. I actually threatened J that if one more thing in the kitchen broke I was going to light a match, throw it over my shoulder, and walk away. (Not really. The bathroom we spent nearly a year remodeling is next to the kitchen and apparently it's poor form to run out of your burning house not with your dreamed-of, prayed-for, and much-loved baby but with your dreamed-of, prayed-for, and much-loved bathroom vanity in your arms.)

So I started dreaming and sketching, imagining the kitchen I would love instead of the kitchen I live with. Believe me, it is fabulous!  It is also, if my initial calculations are even close to correct, fabulously expensive.  Even pared down, that kitchen is outside our budget. Rather than mope about the kitchen we can't afford I sat down an made a list of the five things I like well enough about our kitchen and the five things I couldn't stand.  The list of the things I like got me out of the kitchen doldrums. The list of things I hated helped create a budget-friendly remodel I've taken to calling the "lipstick on a pig" plan.

The what?!?

You know the saying that you can put lipstick on a pig, but that it is still a pig?  Well, in our case, we are applying some pretty finishes on our least favorite parts of our pig of a kitchen. At the end of the day, it will still be a pig, a kitchen we dream of replacing. But it will be a pig we can live with for a few more years.

So what's the plan?  I started with a list of five things I couldn't live with:
  • The back door looks awful. Zep used to scratch at it, and his nails did a number on the soft wood.
  • The sink drains into the base cabinet. That's a problem. And the faucet sprayer keeps breaking.
  • I strongly dislike the four-inch ceramic tile counter. And I hate the grout lines in between those tiles. Seriously. No one should ever use tile for a kitchen counter, as there's no way to keep the grout clean. Ever. Even if you are great about cleaning it every day. Which we aren't.
  • The cabinets. Ugh. The doors are weird off-white laminate. Trimmed in yellowing oak. Which matches the cabinet frames, but little else.
  • The peel & stick tile is not my favorite to start with. The fact that it's cracking and popping off makes it worse. The thought of our baby crawling on the floor makes my skin crawl. (The thought of our baby crawling period makes my skin crawl, but apparently that's going to happen whether I like it or not.)
...and using that list of problems, I created my lipstick solution:
  • Skim coat the hideous ceramic tile counters with concrete and seal
  • Replace the back-splash which, also made of that four inch ceramic tile, won't match the new counter
  • Fill the scratched up back door with wood filler, sand and paint
  • Fix the faulty plumbing under the sink
  • Prime and paint those awful laminated cabinet doors (and frames)
  • Replace the cracked peel & stick laminate floor
That's the plan. Stay tuned for progress updates!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


You have outdone yourself. Most of your posts are excellent, but this one is superb! Congratulations.

One caution: Buying new facings for the door is way simpler and way less work than wood filling and sanding. WAY less work.

LOVE the bathroom vs baby analogy!