Saturday, March 06, 2010

Plain Jane vs. The Utopia of Kitchen Utopia

Be honest here. How many of you have walked into a Home Depot and were dazzled by their display of kitchens? Yeah, I know - me too. Especially when compared to my Plain Jane, who, although solid, is as old as my home and about as dazzling as a mouse in a wheat field—no crown molding, no rope trim, no raised or recessed doors, no kick plates, no fancy this or cool that or anyone coming into my kitchen and saying anything even remotely close to a compliment… in passing or otherwise… other than that my kitchen is newly painted and as clean as a pre-surgery operating room. So it’s no wonder I stood openmouthed when facing what I can only be describe as Kitchen Utopia, dramatic music playing in my head and all. Before I knew it, I went crazy via booking an appointment with one of their designers, choosing a kitchen (“The one up front, please… the first one… the one with every goody/feature/amenity known to womankind… the Utopia of Kitchen Utopia… that fawn-glazed jobby with 15% off if I order after February 28th”) and paying $100 to have my old Plain Jane “professionally” measured.

Should I mention here that I’m not exactly a culinary genius? Not that that mattered, I reasoned at the time. With the Utopia of Kitchen Utopia in my home I’d definitely look like one.

I was ecstatic. I was elated. I was losing my mind daydreaming about the Utopia of Kitchen Utopia being picked up and dropped into Plain Jane’s spot. Think of the family gatherings. Think of the Christmases. Think of the crazy neighbors next door who’d see the Utopia coming and talk in fits of jealousy. Think of…

I researched, and then reality set in. There had been problems, and it wasn’t necessarily all Home Depot’s fault (though the majority of it certainly is theirs), I found out, but also the folks Home Depot contracted to install their kitchens who also were—the folks who put in the lowest bid. That, and Thomasville itself. Apparently, many a woman before me had been dazzled at first glimpse of Kitchen Utopia as well as the Thomasville name, and too many of those, even two years later and counting, were still trying to get problems fixed. Needless to say, suddenly the Utopia of Kitchen Utopia wasn’t looking so Utopia. So when Home Depot’s designer called me to finalize and order, I canceled. Besides, what did the Utopia of Kitchen Utopia have that mine didn’t have?--besides looking like a Rolls Royce compared to a K-Car, that is. Trim? I can have that put on. Kick plates? I can have those put on, too. Crown molding? Ditto on the putting on. Fawn glaze and corbels and little feet, and, and, and? Put ’em on, baby. O.K., so Plain Jane will never be Utopia. But she could still (in my mind, at least) look pretty spiffy, and for a fraction of the cost and headache to boot!

Home Depot: Had you taken better care of your customers (as you so vehemently advertise), you would have had my business. Instead, Plain Jane will be getting a makeover in the Spring.

Plain Jane DIY Makeover List:
* Rope accent crown molding above cabinets
* Under cabinet molding
* Either half round rope column legs or split rope molding and split spindle caps (depends on size and availability) on either side of the sink cabinet, with large half round rope column legs (or grape motif corbels) on corners of the island.
* Framing and corner round cut rope molding, for cabinet doors, drawers, and front and sides of the island.
* Kick plate
* Very small square attached to the end of the last cabinet, with rope column legs (or some kind of legs), to station my computer.
* New cabinet hardware (I’m thinking dark and no pulls, just knobs.)
* Repaint the cabinets antique white and try (shudders) my hand at glazing - chocolate, of course.
* Under cabinet lighting

Column legs and corner round and split rope and split spindle caps… Whoosh! Now don't I sound like I know what I’m talking about. Sadly, I don't; I had to look them up.

For the Non DIY part of the DIY:
* Hood. A fancy one. Think Tuscan even, although I’m talking about a much smaller version here. Since I’ve always wanted one of these lovelies, that is one item I refuse to let some idiot with a chainsaw, hammer and a mouthful of nails take a whack at making. Nope, this baby will be manufactured and installed the right way: professionally.
* Backsplash. Now before you start in on me, you know as well as I do that those HTV home shows make everything look disgustingly fast and simple, even though we all know they aren’t. At least they aren’t to a new DIYer like myself. Heck, I recaulked around the washroom countertop the other day, did a great job imo, and was out-of-my-mind overjoyed about it for hours, so what does that tell you? (It should tell you that I don‘t know what I‘m doing.) So nope, the backsplash will be another job left to the professionals.
* And while the professionals are at the backsplash, I’m going to ask them if they can also tackle the flooring, too. Tile is tile, and most, if not all, backsplash installers also install flooring (that’s one thing I did learn from watching all those home shows; thanks Mike Holmes and Bryan Baeumler!)
* Countertops. Naturally.

Too much? Yeah, probably. But hey, if you’re going to go for it, do it as big as you can.

Note: When I said “professional/professionals/professionally,” I didn’t mean the ‘lowball bid boys’ from the big box stores. I mean the real, accredited, BBB rated, guaranteed, insured, ‘know what the hell they’re doing, don’t pass the buck for over two years, and will provide references’ types. Luckily, I learned all of that from others mistakes, not my own.

Note Two: “I do know Thomasville (furniture) does not make the Home Depot sold cabinets. It's a shame. People go there thinking they're getting "furniture" style cabinetry and what they get is far from it.”

“From what I hear, Home Depot bought the Thomasville NAME, then went to Mills Pride (who makes ultra cheapies) and had them produce a cheap line and stick the Thomasville name on it. I despise the box stores for that kind of stuff.”

—both quotes were borrowed from (

Note Three: Everyone wants the Taj Mahal for $1, especially in today’s economy. I get that, I understand that, and, heck, I’m one of them. The thing is, I'm also a realist who has an outdated kitchen and would like to have it upgraded the right way with the right products and without spending more than my life’s worth to do it. That, and on the TV design show ‘Dear Genevieve’ (that woman is a goddess) the other day, the kitchen cabinets she called “rental style and unsalvageable” looked exactly like my own. How embarrassing.

Ooo, eee, ahh. Check out what I found there: Virtual Stone Solutions (
If you’ve tried this Granicrete product or know someone who has, I’d sure love to hear from you. (Please do not respond if you are a distributor, have taken the class in, or are in any way affiliated with Granicrete. I'd like to hear from consumers only.)

Also, check out your local Habitat For Humanity ReStore ( There, you’ll find huge discounts off both the new and used and support your community at the same time!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...