The Prettiest Ugly Kitchen

Have you ever been drawn in to how pretty something is, bought it and discovered that it wasn’t really what you had thought? Infomercial products are usually like this, but in my case I can’t return it and there’s no warranty. It’s my kitchen. Now let me tell you why.


That’s my kitchen. Pretty, right? It fooled me as well. When we bought our house it was leaps and bounds better than the outdated and ugly kitchens in other houses. I was fooled.

First, let me give you some perspective. The kitchen is 11×10 feet and leads into our small dining room. There’s an entrance by the fridge that goes into the hallway (across from my son’s bedroom) and on the opposite side there are two wide windows that look onto our driveway and directly at my neighbors house. It’s what you get for living in a 50+ year-old house in the suburbs. the kitchen isn’t original to the home, so I wonder what was going through the homeowner’s head when designing it.

Can you see the floor? It’s wood print laminate…right next to our original oak hard wood that runs through the rest of the house. Not sure why.

Let me tell you about this spot. See that drawer? It’s the only drawer in my entire kitchen! Who does that? Also, the upper cupboard doors don’t close flush unless I slam them shut. And oh, look below. That half door was nailed shut when we moved in. It doesn’t close now because we put in a new dishwasher and it won’t shut. The other door doesn’t open all the way because of a telephone jack in the wall beside it. I…I just don’t know.

I adore these windows and the ledge. It’s pretty, functional and bright. No complaints there. But what I live with is a single sink. I would love to have a double sink…someday. You can also see here where the dishwasher doesn’t sit flush under the counter. If it is, we can’t shut the door to run said dishwasher.

Three horrible things are happening here. First, the paint is coming off of the counter. I see the top dark blue with light blue and RED coats underneath. Every time we have to scrub down the counters, more comes off. It did not look like this when we moved in. Must have been a fresh coat. Second, this counter is so large and boxy because it is above the staircase leading downstairs. It’s the headroom so it can’t be changed. It means that I can’t reach into the corner without using a stool. That leads into issue three. Because the cupboards are flat instead of angled, I can’t reach them, let alone the top shelves. I have to climb onto the counter to get to the top, so I mostly use these for storage.

This stove is a big fat lie. We asked the homeowners how old the appliances were. They said 5 years. LIES! That stove has elements that I’ve never seen before. It’s at least 15 years old and only the front burner can get water to a boil. I also have to use a screwdriver to set the oven temperature because the knob broke off shortly after we moved in. Now look up. The hood fan doesn’t work (fair enough) BUT it doesn’t vent anywhere. Tell me, what’s it’s purpose? Well the light is useful.

What you don’t see in this picture (because I like it) is the broom cupboard on the other side of the fridge. But since I’m complaining, I don’t need to show it. What I do need to tell you is that there is an awkward 9″ gap between the fridge and stove. Too small to put in a counter (with maybe another drawer or two?) so we stuck in this rack for handy storage and a place to stick my drain board…because I only have a single sink, remember? Now look up at the top cupboard. You probably don’t realize it, but the cupboards on either side of the fridge are cut to fit around it. It means awkward spaces an more cupboards I can’t reach. Oh and don’t get me started on the broken piece of plexiglas they used to replace a shelf inside the fridge.

When we moved in, there was nothing on this wall except for that faux rock wallpaper (it’s already been removed from the dining room). The previous homeowners had some sort of storage thing here and when we initially moved in, we put a small table and chairs against the wall. Soon it became evident that we needed a place to put our food since reaching cupboards was too difficult. So, we put in this pantry, which has all our food, and the microwave stand, which we had in our apartment. It is home to platters that didn’t fit in the cupboards, cookbooks and dish towels. I don’t understand why there isn’t another counter here.

I show this all to you for several reasons. First, because people don’t believe me when I tell them about my kitchen; I need to vent and complain about it; but importantly, I want people to learn from me. When shopping for a house, you need to open doors and drawers. Envision yourself living in the space. Being polite will get you a kitchen like mine. While we got the homeowners to fix the dishwasher from our inspection (which broke again in under a year), it doesn’t fix how awkward the space is. I make it sound like a hot mess, and any sane person would agree. We’ve made it work for almost 4 years but have dreamt about renovating it ever since we discovered the issues.

So now excuse me while I pass around a hat to collect renovation funds and enter every online contest I can find.


One thought on “The Prettiest Ugly Kitchen

  1. oh man! I felt your pain as I read every line. But you’re right – entertaining as it was for me to read it and as liberating as it was for you to right it… the important thing is the take away lesson! I could totally see myself being “too” nice and ending up in the same situation! (p.s., I have a penny to donate…lol, wish I had more!!)

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