When DIY Goes Bad

I thought it would be good to look at some of the things a previous owner did in my kitchen. These are kind of obvious “don’ts” in DIY. I had always planned on going back and fixing these. Some issues are bigger than others. Now, with the big re-do, a lot of these issues will be addressed in one big project.

  1. The “backsplash” – We’ll call the previous owner Chuck to preserve his anonymity and because I don’t remember his name. For some reason Chuck glued baseboard on the kitchen wall as a back splash. This is such a perfect illustration of how Chuck approached home improvement. Not only is the baseboard useless as backsplash (hello, absorbent) but he pulled up a lot of the baseboard on the floor and replaced it with sticks of quarter-round. Chuck didn’t waste time with silly things like filling the nail holes or sanding down the paint line from the previous baseboard even though they showed above the quarter-round. Heck, he didn’t even bother mitering the corners of the quarter-round and in some places, because they were small I guess, he didn’t bother with any trim at all. So the fact that he took a big piece of baseboard and glued it to the wall in the kitchen, is poetry really.

That’s a lot of Joy I have there!

  1. The tile – The tile that was used was fairly neutral so I never really had an issue with the look. It wasn’t my favorite look and I thought it looked very 80s but it was no 70s-eyeball-searing-linoleum. However, a quirk of the tile is how incredibly slick it got when it was wet. I mean really, scary, dangerous slick. Every time I warned someone to be careful they would look at me indulgently and then quickly find out for themselves that I was not exaggerating. When the crew came to clean up after the flood, I warned the guys about how slippery the floor was. They did what everyone does, “that’s sweet; she worries.” A few hours later I heard the guy running the job caution someone else, “be really careful on this floor, it’s damn slippery when it’s wet.” Yup, he was a believer now. Having tile that is dangerous when it is wet in a kitchen is ridiculous. But Chuck didn’t stop there. It is also the tile in my entry way. And I live in Oregon. Where it is always wet. I don’t know how I’ve survived my floors this long.

 

  1. The counter top – I was actually kind of fond of the silly, dated confetti laminate counter top. It reminded me of cafeterias and kitchens from my childhood. It wasn’t overtly dated so I kind of enjoyed it. However, it was really old and the laminate was coming off the counter in a few places. That’s OK; Chuck carefully taped it back down and in one case painted a big chip white. I guess he thought no one could see it.

  1. Updating the cabinets – Chuck knew that a common update for these 70s ranch-style kitchens is to get rid of the cabinets that hung from the ceiling between the kitchen and the family room. He also removed the cabinet above the refrigerator. However, Chuck clearly doesn’t do much in the kitchen because he never replaced that storage. This left a serious lack of storage in the kitchen. I have one cabinet I could use for food and the rest were filled with standard kitchen equipment. I struggled with clever food storage solutions for a few years. Also, when Chuck removed that bank of cabinets, he didn’t bother putting facing up on the cabinets that stayed.

 

  1. The soffit – When Chuck removed the cabinets, he didn’t bother getting rid of the soffit so there is this strange “box” that runs along the ceiling. I like to imagine there is buried treasure up there.

These are all things that have made my kitchen kind of inconvenient and I have solutions for each of these. I’m really looking forward to fixing them and protecting future owners of the home from suffering at Chuck’s hands.

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