Yesterday our kitchen started to look like a kitchen again. The plastic is down; the subfloor is in; the drywall is nearly there.
Is it weird (yes, I know it’s weird) that I started crying the second I walked in the door?
There’s all this space. And sure, it’ll be filled with appliances and cabinets and the table I haven’t yet purchased, so the space will be much less space, but still. This was how this kitchen was supposed to look, I just know it. The wall was a mistake, one of those things that seems like a good idea on paper. I can imagine the original construction crew, all fresh from beating the Germans in the war shaking their heads and saying, “All right, if that’s what the boss wants.”
It’s a small thing--I shared it with my family on our group text and got two measly “likes”--but I can see all the way from my office at the back of the house down the (still narrow, sure) hallway and all the way to the window at the front of the kitchen.
A friend commented on Facebook, after my initial before-video tour, that she was generally not in favor of removing walls, and in fact, had wanted to add a wall in her new kitchen. Still, she agreed that my wall had to go.
Back in one of my previous lives, where I wrote about real estate for the now-defunct weekly edition of my town’s newspaper, I toured new home developments, the kind where the house was almost as big as the lot, and the houses themselves had giant, boxy footprints. Six or seven bedrooms, three or four baths, an open concept main floor. It was the open concept that got me every time. In its empty, undefined state, it was simply too much space. What the hell, I’d wonder, did someone do with a thousand square feet of beige carpet?
But then, I’ve always lived in small places. And even when they weren’t technically small--I think the house I grew up in was around 1800 square feet, which doesn’t feel small to me, if you included the space from the converted porch--I shared it with a lot of people at once. My three sisters and I shared one bathroom and only broke into raging fights once a week or so. We had an entire room that was only used for company, and even then, only on holidays.
Come to think of it, that kitchen was probably too small. I never cooked in it myself--as third daughter, I split every-other-night clean-up duties--but now I can see the space would only be improved by knocking out a wall.
Paula Treick DeBoard