The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Vicki Sternfeld-Rossi
The Times 

Remodeling the kitchen-just add doubt and fear


Vicki Sternfeld-Rossi

After the demo it can be challenging to find level ground.

On my first trip to Waitsburg to officially meet with contractors to discuss my home renovation, (or tear down), I arrived early and fortuitously wandered in to Ten Ton Coffee. After some introductions, I owned up to the fact that, yes, I was the owner of the wreck of a house on Orchard. The information whirlwind began. I received an encyclopedia of unsolicited advice, which I rapidly turned into solicited advice. Everyone encouraged me to renovate the house, their suggestions and contacts gave me courage and hope.

As I've repeatedly mentioned, I move fast. To quote Rudyard Kipling: "He travels fastest who travels alone." And I flew through electrical, plumbing, fencing, deck, painting, siding, 3 roofs, flooring, closet remodeling, and more. I made decisions, picked colors and materials, all within minutes. I am decisive, I know what I like, and although I have spent numerous hours in museums, I am not going to spend hours debating over the tone of gray paint on the upper level of the house. Maybe there are undertones of violet or green, but I guess I'm just not that discerning when it comes to gray!

Now, it's time for the kitchen, and I am no longer traveling alone. Daniel is here, he is the chef, and obviously, he has opinions about our new kitchen. We remodeled our kitchen together in our Los Angeles home about 18 years ago. It's déjà vu! Why are we remodeling? The fear and doubt are setting in.

How is it possible we can peruse magazines, catalogs, and showrooms in perfect harmony? We both have similar tastes; modern, clean lines, functional with a little funk. But, when it comes to actually choosing our kitchen, it's like we never met. One of our stumbling blocks when remodeling our LA kitchen was color. It was a small room, I wanted white and light colors. He, on the other hand, wanted red and yellow, because those are the colors that encourage appetite. Although my favorite color is red, I don't need my appetite encouraged, and I don't want to live in a McDonald's! We wound up hiring a "decorator/referee" who suggested a terra cotta accent wall. From there, most things went smoothly.

We have made some headway here in our Waitsburg kitchen. And to date, no knives have been drawn. (A chef and a cook have a large collection of knives.) We chose cabinets, glass inserts, we have three options for countertops which we need to narrow down (most likely, cost will be a determinant). I already purchased the faucet (it's been languishing in our shed for 18 months). I purchased too much flooring when I did the rest of the house, so it's going into the kitchen, by default. Seems pretty harmonious now, but the worst is yet to come.

I already dread the basics: pack up the kitchen, where to put the appliances during construction, where are we going to cook, (you can just BBQ so much), where do we store the stuff we have packed? What about Mugsy's dog food, make sure we don't pack that!

The piece de' resistance-our ski slope of a kitchen floor. What will we find when we start the demolition stage of the remodel? Nothing shocks me anymore, since I have previously found a hammer, wrench, shovel, a Chevrolet hood ornament and a roll of brown paper wrapped in a 1945 issue of the U-B, just in the garden and attic.

The big floor questions are: Is it fixable? If yes, at what cost? Or, do we just live life with a permanently sloping kitchen? How many shims does it take to remodel a kitchen in an old house?


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