As I’ve aged I’ve come to learn that I want less rather than more. It’s also become easier in many ways to eliminate things, possessions, from my life. It may have taken a pandemic, but I’m finally truly embracing Marie Kondo in a manner far more profound than simply rolling up my sweaters and storing them in baskets.
At the same time this mild purge occurs, I find myself cherishing that which I am inclined on which to hold. These things have no value really, beyond what they mean to me. There are kitchen items which I’ve owned longer than I’ve been a parent – which is remarkable because you know how kids destroy things. I’m talking about my Pyrex measuring cup with the only slightly chipped pour spout and the Dutch oven that never fails to amaze me by the way it wipes clean like a dream. These (and other) kitchen tools are familiar to my hands in the same way the streets of my childhood hometown are etched in head.
After years of frequent moves, I’ve somehow lived in my house for 25 years. I know this house, just like it knows me. We’ve witnessed each other’s breakdowns and triumphs and we’ve both changed over the years. Walls have come down and improvements have been made. My house and I have grown. Together.
Later in the week I’m closing on a refinance of my mortgage. I’m adding 18 months to my term, but the rate dropped by 1.5 points and my monthly payment increased by just $100. Additionally, I’m pulling a comfortable amount of cash out to invest in my property by crossing a few household projects off of the perpetual list.
Renovating a space in which you’ve lived for a significant time is a different experience than making changes earlier in one’s residency. There’s a thoughtfulness and understanding which just isn’t possible when the connection between structure and occupant is new.
As I explore options for cabinetry, countertops and back splashes, I’m not influenced by trends or what other people’s selections may be. I have a better idea of what I want and what suits my 100+ year old home. While I’m conscious of my budget, I also know that my financial position is more comfortable than it was 20 years when my kitchen last got an overhaul. My choices won’t be extravagant, but I’m willing to spend the money necessary to buy what I want, what might bring me joy, so to speak.
There are two kitchens in my two family house and they’re both getting some love this time around. While my two story upstairs unit, with three bedrooms and two baths, has been home all these years I’m a practical person and imagine that the day will come when dealing with 1800 square feet of living space over two floors will become less possible for me. Eventually, I imagine myself taking the downstairs unit, making the upstairs unit a rental. I’ve got a phenomenal tenant in that downstairs unit, so I’m hoping this move to the downstairs won’t occur for many years. For now, I’m happy to have some room to spare and share with family and friends.
Back to that upcoming project – if you’ve got tips for quality kitchen components, specifically relating to solid cabinets, low maintenance countertop material and attractive backsplash ideas, I’d love to hear them. I’m really good at making fashion choices, but home decor is most certainly not my strength. Share your experiences and suggestions in a comment.