(Source: Aesthetic Outburst)
‘Bad kitchen’ envy. It’s a thing, folks.
Specifically, it describes those times when you feel envious of someone else’s “bad kitchen” — because it was bad in a way that could be made totally not bad at all with some paint and a few other genius tweaks.
For instance, I recently stumbled across a feature on a late-nineteenth century farmhouse in Oswego, NY — owned by Abbey Hendrickson of the lovely blog, Aesthetic Outburst, and her fam.
With about five hundred bucks and a lot of ingenuity, the Hendrickson family totally transformed their space. So it begs the question: Why couldn’t Manny and I do that?
Before I dive in, I should note why I feel a sense of envy for this kind of kitchen upgrade. Manny and I would have much preferred to keep much of what was already in our kitchen like the Hendricksons did, at least for a few years, and to just take out some of the really bad stuff, paint, switch out hardware, update lighting, etc. Taking our kitchen down to the studs — and buying new everything from the dishwasher to the garbage disposal — this was *not* what we wanted, not just because of the financial obligation that is a total kitchen remodel, but also because of the relative scale of work, hassle, disruption, and sheer stress.
(Disclosure: I totally recognize that even “minor” or mostly cosmetic kitchen makeovers are a lot of work and stress — I’m just saying the magnitude of the project we took on was not what we envisioned when we bought our house last August.)
For instance, even though Manny and I didn’t like the layout of our old kitchen (okay, that’s a major understatement…), we contemplated keeping the cabinets — never mind the cracked, tile counters and the bowed, caving in drawers we were going to have to figure out how to upgrade. We actually wanted to work with them for a while. But when we went to remove a piece of damaged trim that had been (sort of) hiding an unslightly gap on one end we learned that our cabinets had never been attached to the walls properly! They had literally been held in place by a whole lot of caulk and the tile cove-molding backsplash. Unbelievable.
With all of the research I’ve done by now on kitchen remodels, perhaps *the* major lesson to emerge is that there’s good-bad (desperately needs a facelift) and there’s bad-bad (the gut jobs). Kudos to the households like the Hendricksons and Dodges out there who noticed the difference before they got out the sledgehammers. Solid cabinets can often be painted, bad vinyl flooring can be ripped up or covered up, and new hardware and other modern touches can be transformative.
My absolute favorite aspect of the Hendrickson’s kitchen, btw, is one of the good-bad things they decided to keep — the green Formica counters.
On her blog, Abbey writes: “They add a certain charm. And I’ve convinced myself that if we had nice, brand-new countertops, they’d make the rest of the room look like complete crap.”
I mean seriously — how cool are those counters?! They look totally, completely rad with the dark lower cabinetry and the Martha Stewart Living Bedford Brass Pulls and Knobs from Home Depot (a steal at $4.49 a piece — incidentally, the same ones I’ve stocked up on for our own kitchen reno).
Read more about the Hendrickson’s Oswego farmhouse on Abbey’s very cool blog, Aesthetic Outburst. Also, check out a few of the features on their home. My favorite is the post on the kitchen on Remodelista. There is also a look at her dining room on A Beautiful Mess and a great post on her farmhouse style from SF Girl By Bay.
Abbey also has a Flickr page you can check out with more photos of her family’s home.