Today, as I was preparing to write a new post, I downloaded about twenty photos. I just deleted them all.
I was going to write about ALL WHITE kitchens and how to make them dramatic and effective, yet kid friendly. I took out photos to use from our very first home as examples, but something happened.
I was brought back to 1981. My husband and I were getting married in November of that year and we were fortunate enough to be buying a home.
This was our purchase. An older bungalow style house that was well loved and lived in by one family for many years. The owners were older and did not want the burden of upkeep anymore, so they asked if we would be interested in buying it.
We jumped at the chance as we were young and energetic. We both knew that with a lot of dedication and hard work, the house could be brought back to life and would get us started with making our very own happy memories.
The cabinets were made from scraps of wood and had to be shimmied open and closed. We had a Frigidaire that had a handle like a slot machine. I used a hammer and knife to defrost the freezer. The linoleum floor speaks for itself. The single ceiling fixture was my only lighting. The radiator was a microwave stand. The oven looked new but did not work. The walls were plaster with true paper, not vinyl, glued onto them.
We proudly would have people over to show our off new home. Everyone’s expression would always be the same look as if they felt sorry for us. But we knew better. We knew that we would prevail in this new project!
The “Snowball” began!!
We ripped out walls.
We knocked the cabinets away from the walls. We pulled up those floor tiles.
We scraped off the wallpaper with single edge razors and chipped off the tile below it.
And still with all the work we had ahead of us…
We felt as if we owned the Taj Mahal; Our very own little 1/3 acre of Real Estate that was completely ours! Little by little, things started to fall into place. We purchased things as we could afford them. We fed a lot of friends and family in exchange for their help. We ate a lot of pizza and Chinese food when there were no appliances available. We had some very late nights of scraping, installing, painting and sanding. Our weekends were not for relaxing. Saturday mornings into Sunday nights were spent on our labor of love.
Eventually all of our hard work had paid off. We now were the proud owners of a brand new kitchen where we could cook real food and have running water. We even had a table and chairs to sit down to instead of using empty spackle buckets.
I made the curtains, hung all the wallpaper and even made the stained glass fixture over the table. I was so proud of our new kitchen, that I sent “before” and “after” pictures to Family Circle magazine. To my surprise, they called me and said they would like to do an article for an upcoming issue and we set a date to do so.
When the day came, the house was filled with photographers, lighting specialist, stylists and journalists. It was so much fun to see them take a carload of accessories and make my kitchen worthy of the pages of a magazine. I did not know when the article would be published. It felt like forever. While food shopping one day, right in front of me in the magazine stand was a front page photo of my kitchen.
I actually got teary eyed today as I went through all this memorabilia. My husband and I have really come a long way. Thirty two years later, and three house later, we are now in the midst of building a new home.
Two children have been born and raised and are now on their own. We will build fewer rooms, less stairs and much more room to entertain.
The new place is already proving to be quite a challenge, but for completely different reasons than the first house. We still have the determination we had back then. We know it will get done and be just like we imagined. However…
The one thing that is different this time is that now we can afford to pay someone else to do it!