Welcome to My Kitchen

Welcome to My Kitchen

On tonight’s episode of “Cheap-and-REALLY-Long-and-Drawn-Out Makeovers,” we have the kitchen of Debbie and her husband, S. S had been living in the apartment for over a decade before his fiancée moved in, and in that period the place had never been painted. Not once. And there had been multiple leaks, in several rooms, repaired by relatives of the landlady who generally weren’t construction professionals. Yes, that’s right, the flat was in pretty sad shape. Not exactly a “guy’s” apartment—there were esoteric framed movie posters on the walls, and other evidence of style-consciousness—but not exactly a place a woman would want to live. It needed a makeover, or at least a fresh coat of paint. So they agreed to spend a full month fixing up the place before Debbie moved in. For all of February, they did nothing but wake up early to make repairs and paint, work at their jobs, and then resume repairing and painting until the wee hours. Possibly because the apartment’s bones hadn’t been touched in so long, every project took approximately fifty per cent longer to finish than they anticipated. By the time the movers came, Debbie and S had only finished three out of the six planned room makeovers.

Fast forward to August. By now, Debbie and S have been married nearly three months, and they’ve finished an additional two rooms. All that remained was the terrifyingly damaged bastard of a kitchen, home to three separate leaks and their attendant water damage; thirty-year-old wallpaper, peeling along all its seams; some of the ugliest paneling outside of an Elks Clubhouse; and cabinetry so cheap it looked dirty even after hours of scrubbing. Perhaps you’re saying to yourself, “Hey, wait a minute. We’ve only fast-forwarded to August? But it’s January!” You’re very sharp, you know that? It did, in fact, take our heroes four full months to finish one room. But now that it’s done, don’t it look gooooooood?

The highlight: Pot racks! We found these shelves at a tag sale for $5, added three or four coats of paint, closet rods, and S-hooks, et voila!

That door between the two racks is an ironing-board closet, which S converted into a spice rack.

A pretty good view of the central cooking area, before, and…


Yeah, yeah. This doesn’t look so bad, just messy. Trust me, it was bad.

Not all that much neater, but it looks much better, doesn’t it?

The hideoso cabinets before.

The doors came out a little pinker than we intended, but taking seventeen of them off, cleaning them, priming them, painting them, and putting them back on was such a bitch that we’re never touching them again.

We were pretty sure this wall would kill us. It had had multiple leaks over the years, each time fixed with the construction equivalent of a finger in the dyke. Lord knows if it’s really fixed now, but at least we haven’t had a leak in a while.

Who knew it could look this good?

This wall didn’t do much except hold up the ceiling before.

Now it holds our fantabulous new pot racks!

This gives a sense of the wallpaper situation. Old, peeling, and dingy.

Now it’s warm, buttery, and neat.

There’s a little pantry area, with truly cheezy (and cheap) louvered doors stained the same dirty honey color of the ugly paneling.

Painted a dark wine color, the doors and the paneling both look richer, I think. The cookbooks I posted about yesterday are on the wall facing those doors.

The other major source of tsuris—the landlady’s son-in-law was in the middle of fixing a leak from one corner of this window when another one started. That slowed us down for a good four weeks while they searched for the source. And every time it rained outside, it rained inside, too.

And just look at it now!

I wish I could say we’re completely done, but we still have a new floor to install. Problem is, there are rumors our building’s going up for sale soon and we may be forced to move. We figured that, for now at least, we’d live with our groovy-looking-but-slightly-unfinished kitchen as is. Hey, not bad for four months of work!