I've been waiting since February 1981 to do something about my kitchen. That's the month we moved into our house. Everything and the Kitchen Sink has come into my life -not a moment too soon! - to move me from mere contemplation to actual accomplishment. It is a thorough guide to redoing this most important room in the house. (I mean, think about it. Without food in your life, there'd be no need for any other rooms.) But wait! There's more! It's Readable. In fact, downright amusing.
A few highlights for me:
The Introduction. How many times do you even read the introduction to a book, let alone enjoy it, let further alone find a personal message to you in it? The Introduction reminds me of the centrality of the kitchen in my family life and most emphatically assures me that I should not have to wait decades to make my kitchen functional and aesthetically pleasing.
The quizzes. Little quizzes and questionnaires throughout the book helped me articulate not only our personal style (Busy Slobs, or words to that effect...) but also what's been keeping us from getting a start on this kitchen. We've been of two minds (my husband's and mine) about how long we're likely to stay in this house. We know when we sell a developer will probably just knock it down and start over. That argues for not bothering, or at least for not putting much money into what we do bother with. But something clearly has to be done. For one thing, the original designer of our house obviously thought that a woman's place was not only in the kitchen, but alone down a hallway. Yes, the sink is in an "L" away from everything else that matters. The passageway is so narrow that cooperating in cooking or washing dishes becomes a clown routine in blocking, waiting, bumping, squeezing by. Then there's the fact that two-thirds of the cupboards assume the person using them is pushing six feet tall. (I'm short.) Add to that two dogs of various shepherd (i.e., stick CLOSE to the herd) persuasions - a factor no other book or magazine I've ever read on this subject has even acknowledged - and you've got a recipe for daily frustration. Not good.
Here's where Everything and the Kitchen Sink comes to the rescue. There are marvelous pictures. And useful budget charts. And constant encouragement to figure out how we really use our kitchen, and plan from that base. And other helpful hints sprinkled throughout the book. I can feast my eyes on the fancy stoves and state of the art refrigerators and duplicate dishwashers, but I can acknowledge that I am destined to be a "rustic" gal. Paint will be my friend. Shiny stainless steel is out (expensive and not good for slobs anyway), "distressed," folky, and mobile is in. I'm having great fun figuring it out. Carts and drawer units on wheels will replace the built-in cabinets. (We'll take the old ones to the basement and "improve" our laundry area - following another suggestion in the book about how to recycle and minimize waste. And if/when we move, we'll take the new ones with us.) It's more important to us to share the kitchen and the tasks in it than to have an immense sink, so the double-deep behemoth that fills the hallway will come out and a sink sized for mobile homes will replace it. This will enable us to get by each other without having to take time for a minuet. Heck, maybe even stand side by side to wash the dishes.
I've taken samples of the ancient earthquake-cracked plaster and dog-water-warped floor tiles to the lab (one of the book's very helpful suggestions). They'll tell me if there's asbestos in either so I can proceed safely. I've calculated the costs (with the help of worksheets in the book) and strategized the financing. I've measured it all out and drawn my plans to scale. I've pondered the traffic flow, factored in the canines.
After twenty-four years, I'm ready to start. Thanks to Everything and the Kitchen Sink.