17 April 2009

Reasons to Remodel



The vast majority of people who walked into our old kitchen thought it was a "great!" kitchen. It is better than most people's kitchens, for sure. Yet, it was not at all a difficult decision for us to remodel the kitchen. We had so many reasons that were compelling to us. That said, I do remain a little self conscious about our remodel. It is excessive to discard a "perfectly good" kitchen in favor of indulging my fairly high standards for function, form, and feel. In my endeavors to lessen our family footprint, taking baby steps towards the prioritized steps of "reduce, reuse, recycle" -- to remodel this kitchen is in no way, shape, or form, a step to "reduce."

So why are we remodeling? The answer basically boils down to the fact that my heart, and our family's soul, is in the kitchen. It is by far the most important space in the house for us, and second place isn't even close. We are avid cooks as well as enjoy a fairly homebody-ish lifestyle. It is important for us to feel like the kitchen reflects our personality and our tastes. Would we be happy people if we didn't remodel the kitchen? Yes. Will we, however, be yet happier if we did remodel the kitchen? Unequivocally, yes! Having a space that resonates with our very core, and feels like an extension of our family and ourselves, is important to us. I learned this with my last house and kitchen remodel. Entering that remodel, I also felt self conscious and excessive, but once it was complete, I never once regretted any expense or result of the remodel.

Compared to most of our friends, we actually are quite thrifty and disciplined in our finances. This is not to say that our friends are wildly out of control spenders, by any means. I think most of our friends have a fairly normal level of spending for their incomes. But we definitely go out less, comparison shop more, and actively budget in areas that our friends and peers do not. Conversely, none of our friends would choose to spend our budget on a kitchen remodel. Each person and family makes choices of their own priorities. This is one priority for us. We try not to spend money on things or events that are easily forgotten. We choose to invest, alternatively, in experiences and memories where we can.

As a matter of curiosity, I decided to research the most common reasons for a kitchen remodel. The following are all common themes:
  • The kitchen needs repair. Appliances are broken. There is unsafe electrical. The plumbing is shot. etc
  • It's cheaper to remodel than to move, generally speaking, so if one is tired of their house, this is one way to go forward.
  • Investing for future sale. Kitchen and bathrooms are the highest ROI areas for house remodeling.
  • The style of the kitchen is terribly outdated. Dated finishes, bulky/awkward/energy guzzling appliances. Often older kitchens are completely walled off from neighboring rooms of the house, which is no longer popular.
  • The kitchen is too small, and/or poorly laid out. The fridge door opens into the oven, or you have to walk fifteen steps from the fridge to the sink.
None of these are directly applicable to our situation. We do have some cabinetry falling apart as well as some plumbing issues, but not enough to dictate a complete to-the-studs remodel. We're definitely not doing this to invest for future sale as we hope to stay in this house for two decades. The style of the kitchen is not "outdated" per se, but it definitely was incredibly bland and boring. I can definitely say for sure, however, that we had layout and function issues. We had no good space for in-kitchen dining, and a 10-foot-long island (which extended beyond the actual kitchen space!) definitely posed a traffic flow barrier. Appropriate lighting in certain spots was a definite problem as well.

Our kitchen remodel driving force can simply be summed up as: transforming the space to express ourselves and serve our family.

To say farewell to our old kitchen, we took these photos before Deconstruction.

We chose Deconstruction Services from the Rebuilding Center in Portland, to dismantle our kitchen. Deconstruction is basically a methodical and careful demolition in which materials are removed with care, so that they can be reused (often in affordable housing projects) instead of headed to a landfill. As a result of using a Deconstruction service, instead of typical demolition, we have been able to donate the following for reuse:
  • 320 square feet of carpet (living room adjacent to kitchen)
  • 84 linear feet of cabinetry
  • 2 sinks
  • 2 faucets (one which is so crappy that I hope it doesn't get reused as a whole, but rather taken apart for parts)
  • 1 dishwasher
  • 1 disposal
  • 8 ceiling lights
  • 4 undercounter lights
  • a 36 square foot slab of granite (this is the 10 foot long "barrier" island)
  • 1 sliding glass door
  • 1 large window
  • 1 interior door
  • some random pieces of granite tile, outlet covers, and construction materials like screws, etc

6 comments:

Paul Anater said...

Hey there, great idea for a blog! I like the way you think. I just subscribed to your feed and am looking forward to seeing your progress as you go through this renovation. Cheers!

Rachele said...

Hi Paul, thanks for stopping by! I have been reading you for awhile. I think we share a lot of favorites: soapstone, blomberg appliances, interest in sketchup, and Not So Big Life. I also just noticed you have a link to Schaub, which I found amusing as just this last week I selected a Schaub handle (Cast Bronze Mountain) as the main pull for my cabinetry. It's certainly one of their simpler pulls, with plenty of knockoffs available, but the weight and the finish just felt right with the door.

Ace's Lady said...

I look forward to keeping up with this for two reasons, aside from the friend factor, of course: (1) The list of reasons people typically remodel their kitchens that you wrote out, above, are ALL the reasons we're going to do ours. (2) In keeping up with your other blog, and you through FB and other venues (including in person), I know what love you & Jay have for the kitchen and what it's supposed to be, not to mention what it should be for YOU. I can't wait for your kitchen to be finished, but for now, I will steal ideas (if I didn't already think of them -- like soapstone).

Koekkener said...

Hey, nice job. Its really excellent. Thank you for sharing

Tony said...
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Jolly said...
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