Active Rain June 18, 2011

The Kitchen Thing

Job 1I have seen some REALLY incredible kitchens in my time. 

Some of them were in foreclosed homes. The poor slob who spent $20,000-$30,000 on an amazing kitchen simply primed the pump for the next guy. Sad. 

And this leads me to the question: how many people who are pondering a new, renovated kitchen have a college fund for their kids? Or a fully funded IRA? Or 3 months of salary put away for a rainy day? Some do, but I’ll bet most don’t. As a matter of fact, I know that many people actually borrow more to redo their kitchens and baths. 

From a completely pragmatic, utilitarian point of view this is madness. We have a society that has been hypnotized by cable TV shows to believe that if we don’t have ceramic tiles and stainless steel we are less than. I’ll fill you in on a little secret: Ann’s lasagna tastes just as good prepared on formica as it does on granite. And when I flush the toilet or turn on the shower in my 1962 bathrooms, which looks like period pieces by the way, the desired outcome occurs as if they were 2011 bathrooms. 

Why do we need new everything when “new” is 98% aesthetics? I understand water savings and safe electric, but that should cost hundreds, not tens of thousands. Are we that insecure as a society that if the cabinets are not the latest cherrywood or if the floor is laminate instead of ceramic that we are missing something? 

When Ann and I bought our home it was from an estate and it was incredibly preserved. I told her that she’d want the baths and especially the kitchen updated eventually, but she said that her primary criteria for a counter was “flat.” With 4 kids to feed, clothe and educate and a business to run, we have other priorities. We’ll get a new kitchen someday, but it isn’t on the short list right now. What is on the short list are the kids and the company. 

I truly believe that if more people thought this way the country would be in far better shape. I’m not judging others, and Lord knows I love a nice kitchen as much as anyone, but what I really love is money in the bank, savings in the college fund and liquidity in the company operating account. I sleep better at night, because stainless steel appliances don’t mow the lawn or help with the bills.

Am I crazy?