226 Comments

  1. LibraDesignEye
    May 28, 2014 @ 7:44 pm

    Dahhhling . .. this post brings to mind the very confusion I felt upon reading a critique of interior design and home television shows as “house porn.” I was terribly perplexed . . . turning this idea over and over in my mind, “house porn?!?” what could be pornographic about a beautiful space . . . and then, slowly, it dawned on me. The photos are not of people living in the spaces, they are unreal, staged, perfect looking as if photos of those airbrushed and dimensioned by Barbie. And, they can have the curious effect of making you love what you have a. little. bit. less. compare, contrast and long for things that EVEN IF YOU HAD THEM you might not actually ENJOY! So, as someone who has spent decades trying to be authentic and want what I want, and use my time for things I find important, it is totally disconcerting to think that the marketers got me at house. And after all that, learning what I’ve learned, here is what I know . . no matter how big, how small, how humble or grand, it can be YOURS. Your mark, your stamp, your choice.
    The people above are right . . we are fans and will believe that ANYTHING you select and put together is wonderful . . .we know your DIY capabiities and your eye and your penchant for laughing at the little part inside all of us interiors obsessed hobbyists that is just a little bit mad will help keep this project just outside sanity, and yet, it will be fabulous. Because, it will be yours. Even as you question your own choices, and people write and say they would have done / might have done / can’t believe you did . . . it will indeed be YOURS. YOU & PAUL will live in it, YOU & PAUL will have quiet mornings, and rauccous parties and everyday bickering and all the things that come with LIFE. You (like me) will spend at least 6 months smiling everytime you walk in, or cook something on a stove you love, or make coffee when the house is super quiet. So, its okay. It’s okay to find your perfect blue-gray for cabinets. It’s okay to search for some vintage storage that makes it personal. We can laugh/cry about our compulsions for beauty together . . . and here is a saying that will help you. My very wise uncle told me a long time ago that the difference between ambition and greed is
    “the expectation of what it will provide”
    So, have ambition for your kitchen to provide a lovely, functional space where you can entertain and cook and be a family together. That said, It is not okay to buy the 2400 faucet.

    We love you because your budget isn’t crazy, though having Paul’s talent gives you an edge on practically anyone here in the finish carpentry department. We love the process and how funny you are as you skewer yourself and all of us (sshh – house porn creatives). Just don’t tell my husband I have a problem . ..

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  2. Robbyn
    May 28, 2014 @ 8:41 pm

    I laughed out loud! Thank you for putting all the internet “greedy gimmies” into perspective. I would love to see the “bloopers” of all the “perfect” blogger pics where the crap is piled a mile high just to get it out of camera frame. I try to remember that when I get all sad over my lacking life. Keep the post coming!

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  3. Suzanne
    May 28, 2014 @ 9:48 pm

    Wonderfully written. I loved it.

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  4. Tily
    May 29, 2014 @ 3:49 am

    This made my day. I also dream about a white kitchen ( way before it was a trend by itself), with a polka dot accent wall and red and white cushioned seats. but the most important part of the above is DREAMING. We live in a rental in Czech Republic- and for now all my wishes would come true if we’d have a dishwasher- but it’s not even an options since the utilities part messed that up for me.
    Keep the posts coming- I am always looking forward to read your amazing insights on renovation, Mad Men and needing stuff 🙂

    Reply

  5. The Country Girl
    May 29, 2014 @ 6:18 am

    I live in a very small town where Christopher Peacock would be assumed was the name of a board game character, dark wood cabinets are considered cutting edge, and mullets are still common enough not look like the person has recently awoken from a coma of, say, 25 years. I still get my Jones / Houzz competitive workout on the internet 🙂 Thank you for a very funny post that sounds all too familiar!

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  6. Tina C.
    May 29, 2014 @ 8:03 am

    I’m dying laughing over the last 4 paragraphs. I also saw that PBS show about the luxury skyscraper in NYC where the designer went to Carrera to inspect each marble block that would eventually be hollowed out to create a tub. insanity. when one gets back from camping, one’s kitchen should be a small step up, but only because of the running water. isn’t that all we need????

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  7. Ocean State Home
    May 29, 2014 @ 8:16 am

    Thank God my better half made the choices and not me. Yes, we have white cabinets but they’ve been offset with a beautiful chocolate brown, granite counter top. And some day I might actually update my blog with the pics. But it’s functional and what we (OK, she) wanted.

    Your post made me laugh. Kitchens can be ridiculously expensive and as so many of your followers have commented, what good are they if you can’t live in them? And spill wine.

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  8. Elizabeth
    May 29, 2014 @ 12:35 pm

    Thank you! I am sick of them trying to make me feel bad about my old kitchen. It may not be pretty by Magazine standards but it works just fine!

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  9. Kathleen
    May 29, 2014 @ 3:11 pm

    I agree with how ridiculous the kitchens can get, especially the really huge ones – who has that much space? Who wants it? You’d need a scooter to get around in it! But a couple of quibbles: white kitchens have been around forever, and will never go out of style. (Now, the elaborate faux-European, “French Country” ones, with dentil moulding, pilasters, and columns up the wazoo, those ones will look immensely silly in about 2 years.) I’ve been looking at kitchens for about 35 years, and white has always been there. I’m currently living in a rental with a white kitchen and find it easy to wipe clean, which wasn’t true of my old stained cabinets. As for the glories of Formica, no thanks. The ones I’m finally replacing with granite have lost all their end caps, have nicks and burns and stains. I hate them. Marble is not suitable for kitchens as it stains too easily, but granite is the ticket, and the one I chose actually looks like white marble with grey veining. I’m getting the white kitchen of my dreams, it just won’t be the size of a football field.

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  10. karen
    May 29, 2014 @ 3:48 pm

    white and soapstone a trend?? really?? i hope not. thats my plan for 2016!!

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  11. Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse
    May 29, 2014 @ 4:20 pm

    I just redid my kicthen and I went against all blog-trends: I have laminate countertops that are easy to clean even if I left some tea stains on it when I left home for work in a hurry (which only happens five mornings in a week), I have white appliances – let me repeat that – white appliances, because they will be trendy again some day – and maybe I’ll be the one who sends the trend. I reused the old sink I had and I have no fancy gadgets… And you know what? I’m happy with it because it does what it’s supposed to: it’s the perfect place to cook.
    Magali
    PS: I’m French and don’t have a wine cellar. Should I call the doctor?

    Reply

  12. Becca Ando
    May 29, 2014 @ 4:26 pm

    Here’s a website you may want to check out http://www.pomanettekitchens.com
    I’d post some photos from their gallery, but probably not enough room!

    Reply

  13. Sarah
    May 29, 2014 @ 6:32 pm

    That faucet has FREE SHIPPING!! Why haven’t you bought it yet?? 😉

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  14. alisa
    May 29, 2014 @ 9:36 pm

    My kitchen is everything you described–formica, oak cabinets, taupe (ok, ALMOND) appliances… and I shit you not, when we decided to buy this house a mere 5 years ago, I called my mother and proclaimed, “This is the nicest kitchen I have ever owned!!!” And the thing is–that’s the TRUTH. I’m proud of my oak, goddammit!!! Some of us will never, ever own a Pinterest kitchen, so it’s best we come to terms with that now and love what we freaking have! High fives for this post.

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  15. Lynn
    May 29, 2014 @ 10:59 pm

    Amen and hallelujah, sister.

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  16. robin pichelmayer
    May 30, 2014 @ 8:06 am

    AMEN!!! preach it sister! I have a kitchen from 1978………..complete with taupe range hood, stove and wall oven. The stove has 1 eye that works, the oven clock/timer doesn’t work and it’s NOT DIGITAL! I would LOVE to replace them but as you say, they work (most of the time). and I don’t cook………………HUBBY does that….so why do I care? because it’s just as you stated, Pinterest and the whole internet makes you feel LOUSY, lol!!! keep up the fight…….we are behind you 100% and can’t wait to see your kitchen all finished!

    Reply

  17. Joanna @ TheNestbook
    May 30, 2014 @ 4:16 pm

    Oh my how I love this post! You are hilarious and so right! Here’s to working with whatcha got!

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  18. Sam
    May 30, 2014 @ 6:25 pm

    Priceless. Thank you for bringing us down to earth and satirizing the oneupmanship of always wanting something more, different, better. I’m so guilty of this! It’s refreshing to have someone call the entire design blogoverse on this trend.

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  19. NYBrat
    May 30, 2014 @ 10:22 pm

    My husband and I purchased our 1871 farmhouse from his parents 8 very long years ago. They had gutted the house and replaced everything with every bad 80’s trend in existence! Everything was mauve, country blue, wallpapered and knotty pine panelling. I too have the dreaded 1980’s oak cabinetry. Complete with bubbling polyurethane. My appliances are mismatched and the 80’s wall oven committed suicide last fall. I have painted the cabinets and thank my lucky stars that the appliances I do have still work. My kids are young and we’re busy making memories and I doubt any of us will look back and say, “Man, Friday night homemade pizza night would have been much better with Pottery Barn lantern pendent lights and soapstone countertops”.

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  20. Jess
    May 30, 2014 @ 10:49 pm

    great post! I would love to replace the dark granite in our kitchen with marble…but my husband doesn’t get the value of form over function, and I can’t bring myself to spend money to redo perfectly good counter tops. So the weird granite pattern from the house’s previous owners stays.

    Reply

  21. Sharon
    May 31, 2014 @ 3:43 am

    Victoria, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and you always give me a fit of uncontrollable giggles, but this is the first time I’m leaving a comment. I completely agree about these all white kitchens. All white rooms make me want to run screaming from them. Do I drool over kitchens on Houzz? You bet, but I’m living in a rental property with, you guessed it, all white walls…IN EVERY ROOM. Thank God for the artwork and the plants or I might have damaged myself by now. Do I want one of those big honking kitchens? Yes, I do, as the one I have is quite small. I want company while I cook, windows in my kitchen, a walk-in pantry, a beautiful/functional backsplash, bookshelves for my cookbooks, an island with a prep sink, a dishwasher, a refrigerator and freezer large enough to store more than food for gnomes, room to store all my stuff, and the option of eating in the kitchen or the dining room, walls that are not WHITE…Sorry, Kitchen Envy got the better of me. **Sigh** I will continue to live vicariously through your remodeling adventures. What I cannot believe is that you VEB, the Envy of All, do not have that faucet yet.

    Reply

  22. Lee
    May 31, 2014 @ 1:45 pm

    You are such a funny writer, I simply love reading your posts. It’s never just one snicker or snort. My husband looks up and says oh, you’re reading that blog again!

    Reply

  23. Keri | Ivy Clad
    May 31, 2014 @ 4:19 pm

    I laughed so hard reading this. Just this morning, I was cleaning off my stove while glaring at my cherry wood finish (remember that trend) cabinets out of the corner of my eye. So you know right where I’m livin’ sista!

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  24. Kate
    June 1, 2014 @ 10:48 am

    Ha!! This is one of the funniest things I’ve read lately. For sanity’s sake, let’s all hope Christopher Peacock becomes the new mauve.

    Reply

  25. Elmar
    June 1, 2014 @ 2:02 pm

    As we’re in the middle of a kitchen update, I’ve been looking at kitchens in houzz and other shelter sites. I remembered Ms. Barnes name when this post was referenced in a houzz kitchen post (another white kitchen) which brought me here. Thanks to Ms Barnes for doing an Emperor-has-no-clothes number on the megakitchen thing. I’ve taken to referring to our project as the nonwhite kitchen.

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  26. ladygraystone
    June 1, 2014 @ 5:46 pm

    Victoria and all- Many wise comments were written here but the obvious has been overlooked- white kitchens emphasize your wrinkles. Take it from a retired real estate broker – white kitchens AGE you. Seriously, standing in a white kitchen with the sun streaming in makes one not look so fantastic. Who needs that in addition to all of the aforementioned issues?

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  27. bob
    June 2, 2014 @ 10:49 pm

    As the Paul analogue (without the talent) at the beginning of our project, I heartily endorse this post

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  28. Katie Howard
    June 3, 2014 @ 10:31 am

    I saw this: http://www.decorsteals.com/ and thought of you….then I thought “hahahahaha these people don’t know what *huge* is…please that is not a kingdom mirror!…but it’s gold…and it’s a mirror.”

    Reply

  29. Becky
    June 3, 2014 @ 11:56 am

    I am embracing my formica as being on trend and ahead of my time.

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  30. Mia Purdin
    June 3, 2014 @ 11:23 pm

    You are my hero. Thanks for restoring a touch of my self-worth… damn Pinterest kitchens are seriously the bane of my existence.

    🙂

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  31. leslie @ definitely not martha
    June 4, 2014 @ 3:06 pm

    I think formica is great – it’s durable, comes in tons of colours/options and is so reasonably priced.

    That said, I still want to redo my kitchen. But it’s not because it’s not white (though it isn’t). It’s because the layout was designed by someone more concerned with form than function. Makes me crazy because it looks relatively nice, but sucks donkey balls to actually cook/entertain in. I’m definitely over the ALL WHITE ALL THE TIME trend though. I like a little pizazz.

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  32. Liz Holmes
    June 4, 2014 @ 5:49 pm

    I sing to your glory. I mean, this is what I mean. Gluten-free marble and all. [That’s what you said, right? Or did I just read your mind?]

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  33. the misfit
    June 4, 2014 @ 7:04 pm

    That faucet is very interesting. I didn’t even know they made them like that, and unusual is definitely captivating per se. But in case you’ve missed it, you do realize it’s an ordinary commercial faucet as reimagined by Dr. Seuss, right? Not that he wouldn’t have been a fabulous kitchen designer. I just want to make sure you see the Sneetches before you spend $2500 on a fixture.

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  34. Martha in Kansas
    June 5, 2014 @ 10:29 am

    I got so stuck on one of the photos, I was lost for some time. I pondered the name Atho Mear Kansas — because KANSAS! It took longer than I’d care to admit.

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  35. Allison
    June 5, 2014 @ 12:26 pm

    Amen. Home decor is the new beauty/fashion routine where you feel like crap because you don’t have (fill in blank). Hysterical post about this madness!

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  36. The Vintique Object
    June 6, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

    These kitchens are beautiful, but quite frankly, I’d be embarrassed to have one. I prefer a more humble space — in size and style.

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  37. Melissa
    June 6, 2014 @ 4:01 pm

    For real, I can IRON directly on my Formica countertops. I’m never upgrading!

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  38. Bruce
    June 7, 2014 @ 8:47 pm

    That faucet in the link looks like it should be performing Da Vinci robotic prostate surgery…

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  39. carole
    June 9, 2014 @ 8:55 am

    You had me until “Let us embrace oak cabinetry from 1980.” As we must face the tragedy of the current trend (painted cabinetry, especially white painted cabinetry, looks like a disaster in a few short years. As the wood shrinks and contracts, the painted joints crack and pop, leaving unsightly breaks in the paint, and flaking and bare wood showing), we must also face the failings of the 1980’s. Never, ever embrace oak cabinetry unless it is perhaps rift sawn. Those who embrace fashion over functionality will have many years to regret their decision. Those marble countertops however, will last several lifetimes.

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  40. Laura
    June 9, 2014 @ 3:19 pm

    Love this post… While playing in the beach in France today my son found your starter chunk of marble. Due to it’s weight, I declined his request to bring it home for you as it may out our suitcase over the weight limit. You will, thus, need to keep hand mining on your “To Do” list.

    Reply

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