A Kitchen for Today
I didn't know about wall-mounted faucets, nickel fixtures, flush-mounted cabinet doors, no toe kick, cabinet latches, or ball-tip mortise hinges.
OK, but if I did know about them, what could I have done, short of rip out our cabinets and start over from scratch? That's right, nothin'. Maybe one day we will be able to afford a custom kitchen, but maybe we won't.
The winter/spring issue of Style 1900 magazine contains an excerpt from Jane Powell's book, Bungalow Kitchens.
The much-beloved Ms. Powell says that updating your kitchen to keep up with current trends is foolish because trends come and go; an old-house kitchen will always feel classic and right in your house. I agree with that.
But she also provides a list of options she says you must choose from to make an appropriate old-house kitchen. For microwaves, the only option she found worthy is putting it away in a cabinet. For refrigerators, the only approved possibilities are buying a vintage fridge or hiding it with cabinetry panels. For dishwashers, cabinetry panels and dish drawers are acceptable.
I disagree with that. It's true that microwaves, refrigerators, and dishwashers are not the most beautiful items on the planet. But I don't consider them "trendy." They are necessary appliances in my kitchen, and I don't think there's a thing wrong with having them right out in the open.
My goal has always been to have my kitchen look like it fits in my house. But that doesn't necessarily mean I have to hide away my modern ammenities and pretend they don't exist.
My house was built at the turn of the century, but it has also lived through 10 decades since then. Though I am always questing to purge the '70s out, I'll play devil's advocate for a moment and ask who made the rule that 1900 is acceptable but 1970 isn't? In 100 years, will our descendants be cursing us for ripping out peach-colored '60s tile or painting over my avacado-colored oven door?
Feel free to disagree (or *gasp* agree) with me. I'd enjoy a rousing discussion.
The issue of authenticity seems to be a major hot button with old house owners. Some treat the house as if it were built in 2005 and decorate/remodel it as they would a modern house. Some embrace a mix of old and new, concerned more with the big picture - the overall "mood" or "tone" of the house. Some are scornful of products that didn't exist when the house was built and want to do everything as accurately as possible down to the smallest material.
My problem - one that is keeping me floating in the air about some kitchen decisions (*cough cough* floor *cough cough* countertops) - is that I am stuck between the "embracing the mix" mindset and the "absolutely faithful" mindset.
Perhaps my mother did her work too well, and I can't make a single decision in life without agonizing guilt.