I love my kitchen, but it wasn’t always so. When we moved into our house, the kitchen was appalling. What little cabinetry was there was obviously taken from some other kitchen—it didn’t particularly fit the space, and had clearly been cobbled together. In the spaces between cabinets, crude wooden shelves had been tacked up. A tiny sink and an ancient electric range (with a bare wire inside that regularly electrocuted mice) completed the kitchen’s amenities. The kitchen had obviously been built as a lean-to many years ago. Later, the roof had been lifted somewhat to improve the space. Still, that part of the house is well over 100 years old, and little real repair work had ever been done to it. The floor had dangerously soft patches, where you felt that the only thing between you and the ground was a 50 year-old sheet of linoleum. The walls behind the cabinets were largely unlined, and in the winter, cold wind poured through the cracks, chilling everything in the cabinets. The previous owners had weather stripped the cabinet doors in an unsuccessful attempt to reduce the freezing gales whipping across the kitchen floor. Mice scampered in and out through myriad holes in the floor and walls.
Something drastic had to be done.
We set up the toaster and an electric hot plate in the living room and completely gutted the kitchen. Two weeks of hard work, and the room had a new floor, new walls, new cabinetry, a big double sink, and (the big splurge) a beautiful 5-burner gas range. The hideous, unusable space had been transformed. We use the kitchen so heavily that, five years on, we can begin to see wear and tear on things, but I still love the space. It was worth every blister to create it!