I have two kitchens!
Jealous? Don’t be.
Here they are, and this is how they will look for the foreseeable future:
We bought this house last Fall, after getting married the year before. While the apartment I had occupied with my son for seven years was roomy enough for the two of us, adding another adult made it feel downright claustrophobic.
For a couple years we had planned to build our own home on land that belongs to my husband’s family. It was perfect, located in the country, and I was able to secure us a construction loan. That fell through due to family issues and we were back to square one.
We decided our best bet was to get a home that was a fixer-upper, but had lots of room and as much land and privacy as possible. Again, we found an ideal property out in the country, but a disastrous septic situation ruled that option out as well.
Just like when I met my current husband, when I found our home it just ‘felt right’ immediately. I remember walking through it at the same time as another family and they were frowning at the crazy layout and shaking their heads at the amount of work needed to make it habitable. I don’t think I even noticed the way it looked. I just saw its potential.
The Price of Potential
Even with having my own contractor husband who can do nearly all the work on the house himself, and even with our frugal ways to save on materials and his clever problem-solving ideas –it is a massive investment to redo every inch of this house. It isn’t just old and outdated. It needs upgrading and a lot of maintenance after having sat uncared for and vacant for years.
We had to make some big financial choices up front: pay more down on the house or use it for remodeling; spend a fortune on oil or invest in a pellet stove. How much debt were we willing to take on? What would be the best choices for renovation before we moved in, and what could wait until later. There was also a time limitation as my lease was nearly up on the apartment, and because it would be getting cold soon.
We opted for choices that would provide the best long term return on investment (ROI) and those that would make it livable enough for us to move in quickly. We also wanted to get done the things that would be easier without animals roaming about, so flooring was a priority. Upgrading the electrical, installing a different hot water system, and using pellet and wood stoves meant we got to bypass fuel oil. Considering the bitter Winter we just had, that turned out to be a great plan. We still need another pellet stove to heat the downstairs and vent up to part of the upstairs, but we made it through our first Winter. We bought used kitchen appliances, washer and drier from a place that refurbishes them locally.
These were the minimum things we felt were necessary to get us in the door and able to be comfortable for the Winter. Our home is a mixture of half finished spaces and projects. The kitchen in the basement is functional, but what I would (and do) describe as ‘icky.’ It is also not heated yet, so I brought things upstairs during the Winter to thaw or dough to rise. But back to why I don’t deserve a nice kitchen …
What’s the Big Deal?
I love watching the TV show House Hunters. In each episode, couples tour several homes and they decide which one they want to buy. However, I have been dismayed when they say they need to completely remodel a kitchen because it doesn’t suit them and they deserve to have a nice kitchen, even when it has just been built or remodeled. To make it worse, sometimes they laugh about the fact that they don’t even like to cook! I do feel a little surly at that point.
When people say they ‘deserve’ something, they feel entitled to it. When they cannot have it, they then feel deprived. That negative feeling of being deprived of something is very different than say, feeling like you are holding off on having something you would like. It is a different way of looking at the situation, but it impacts mood and behavior as well. If every time I look at my home I feel deprived of something I deserve, I could easily feel hopeless, depressed and envious of others.
Seeing it as a choice — I would Like to have a nice kitchen, changes it. Yes, I would very much like to have a lovely kitchen, and I can dream of it and plan for it, but right now I am not willing to go deeper into debt for immediate gratification. I would rather save up for the nice kitchen and have it not incur a huge financial burden for our family.
Every day, we are bombarded with advertisements and retailers trying to compel us to spend money now, but we have to be the judge of what is truly necessary; what is something we would like; and can afford, and what is simply giving in to a desire to have more.