April’s Credo #1: Make It Work For You

Pink countertops

aka How I Learned to Love Pink Countertops

It took us an entire year of house hunting before we landed on this particular one.  Our last house was in a standard subdivision with all the “upgrades” – including stainless steal appliances and granite counters.  This house supposedly also has an “upgraded” kitchen (at least according to appraisers).  It also has stainless steal appliances.  And pink counters.  Wait, pink?  Yikes!

Yeah, from the very start (a good 5 years ago) we decided that the kitchen would definitely be redone.  At the bare minimum, the counters obviously had to go!  The kitchen wasn’t the first project on our list though, so it had to wait.  For the next couple of years, I would bemoan the counters to anyone who would listen.  Co-workers, family members and friends all heard about our atrocious pink counters.

During this waiting time period, several things happened.  I became very interested in reducing plastic and garbage consumption. I discovered the plight of workers in foreign countries who produce our clothing for very cheap wages.  I found out about the concept of early retirement.

How do these things relate to our kitchen?  The most obvious is cost.  Redoing a kitchen is expensive.  Even with making cabinets yourself (or at least doing the installation work), you are looking at several thousand dollars.  The idea of postponing a retirement age for a new kitchen seemed ludicrous.  Even more importantly the pink counters are a plastic composite. What would we do with this big plastic monstrosity?  Perhaps they could be donated somewhere and some guy who is comfortable in his skin would be OK putting them in his workshop.  Or most likely they would end up in a landfill.  For what end purpose?  Because I don’t like the color of the counter top material?  That started to strike me as absolutely absurd.  Finally, thinking of our incredible lucky position that we are in to be able to discuss something as trivial as counter top material pushed it over the top.

Even with deciding that they needed to stay, I still had to look at them every day.  Two important things that I did helped me be at least OK with the pink counters which initially were an embarrassment.  1) I did one of Apartment Therapy’s “January Cures” and 2) a friend visited that had only heard about our horrible counter state – not actually seen it for himself.

Doing the cure made me face the kitchen head on.  I cleaned the entire thing from top to bottom.  I donated items that I didn’t use.  I had Kurt create hanging storage for my cooking utensils that were cluttering up drawers.  I oiled hinges and drawer slides.  This gave me an appreciation for the space more than I would have expected.  Prior to this cure, I didn’t cook as often as I would like.  In the end though, I ended up cooking almost every day.

The  outside perspective was surprisingly helpful.  The friend’s comment was that the color was not nearly as bad as we made it out to be.  It might even look good in some ways!  Really?????  Well, I decided to force myself to stop complaining about it.  Instead, I would take the time to admire the depth of color in it while cleaning the kitchen.  I stopped saying anything negative about the kitchen to anyone.

It worked!  Now, I appreciate our counters for what they do for me every day instead of focusing on the one small thing that everyone notices (or what I considered to be shouting as NOT OUR STYLE).  I’m able to create meals every day from breakfast to supper without hating the kitchen.  And, there are some nice benefits to these plastic composite counters.  I don’t have to be careful.  They can get knife cuts and I don’t care.  I can put down hot pans for a few minutes and not worry that they’ll get destroyed.  And – we have a unique kitchen!  It’s not like any other home I’ve ever been to.

Moral of the story?  Maybe just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should do something.  Maybe we should live with something for awhile and see how it works.  Maybe by tweaking other elements we can come up with something that works for us.  In the end, living with pink counters won’t save the world, but they will save us money by not having to redo something, save something from the landfill (reuse or keep using), and I didn’t do some intermediate step of installing cheap materials that may have been created by someone not compensated the way they should.

One comment

  1. We have a similar situation at our house. Our countertop was pretty cheap and the cupboards were out of style when we bought our house, We lived with them for about 25 years until I retired and then we had a contractor come in an estimate the cost of a complete upgrade: bottom to top. The lower had to be replaced but the upper weren’t that bad so we decided to go with just the lower cupboards & countertop which matched the price we were able to afford. We moved the refrigerator from the wall which was next to the stove to a place where the breakfast table was & replaced the breakfast table with a large pullout (a type of breadboard) & found out we actually did what we wanted to at about half the cost. We gained a lot of countertop space & since our kitchen is rather small the slide away table worked too.

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