A manifesto against the tyranny of luxury kitchens.
Before the internet, you only had to keep up with the Joneses… They were real people who lived next-door and probably drove a Corvette.
And even if you might have liked their car for yourself, you knew for a fact that they wore too much cologne, misused the word Machiavellian, and were just generally unlikable people who let their dog poop in everyone’s yard.
You used to have to subscribe to Town & Country or Architectural Digest if you wanted to feel bad about your house… But then the internet came along—eradicating every shred of reality and replacing it with Christopher Peacock.
Now you can discover for FREE, any time of day or night, that your kitchen, your bathroom, your entire house… actually, your whole life is so subpar that it’s amazing you haven’t flat out died.
The internet has given the entire home-luxury-design-industry access to the inside of our minds at all times. This is extra convenient for them because they can constantly remind us that anything less than a kitchen filled with glamour and elegance and a wine refrigerator is just sad… so, so, so sad.
And the sadder your life looks, the fancier the faucet you will buy – advertising 101.
(Incase you are wondering where on the sadness-scale my life falls, apparently it is here. I am pretty sure that faucet would make me a better person.)
But eventually I will have to replace that faucet… Because it will go out of style. Because all of this is a trend.
The most expensive trend ever—white, white, white, white, splash of soapstone for contrast, white, white, white.
But someday Christopher Peacock will be the equivalent of the ubiquitous oak cabinetry from the 80’s. Remember country kitchens?
DON’T YOU REMEMBER?
Soon there will be a whole new trend. (Once they figure out how to make something more expensive.)
I personally think it should be THE-KITCHEN-I-HAVE-IS-FINE trend. We should all STOP redoing our kitchens. It is MADNESS people. Do you have a stove? A refrigerator? A place to rinse stuff and chop it? Then you HAVE A KITCHEN.
This is my message for the day—acceptance. Accept the kitchen you have. A new one will not bring you health or happiness. (Except, maybe the one below.)
Let us band together and KEEP the kitchen we have. Let us embrace oak cabinetry from 1980.
Let us rise up against the tyranny of stainless steel.
There is nothing wrong with your taupe electric range.
Let us bring Formica back!
I mean, I personally am not planning to do that. I write a blog about restoring our house… therefore I am legally obligated to bring new meaning to whimsy and creativity and a mindbogglingly giant range hood.
Infact, I will probably be required to travel to a small town in Italy to mine the marble slabs myself.
When I get home, I will do a peppy post about DIY-mining your own marble. And I will include tips about where to find delicious artisanal (gluten free!) pastries made by villagers who have been growing specialty grains for over 900 years.
I will be sure to annotate the pictures for Pinterest with captions that are overlaid with squiggles and dots and three different fonts. (So that it will appeal to both four year olds, and women who are shopping for kitchen counters.)
Garden, Home and Party
May 28, 2014 @ 11:33 am
This, without a doubt, describes me and half the world when it comes to seeing something beautiful and being convinced it will change our lives, violins will play, birds will sing and we’ll be happier than we ever have been! The trouble is, you’ve shared some of the best kitchens known to pinterest…this only makes me want it more! Since my daughter-in-law’s grandpa was the person that invented Formica, I’m pretty sure I can get a deal on it.
I can’t wait for you to share your kitchen, or is it one of these images and this was the tease?
May 28, 2014 @ 11:39 am
All I have to say is I love you! This post is so spot on! I have oak cabinets and laminate countertops and I’m not planning on changing either one. I absolutely love white kitchens and would love to have one someday but, for the time being, the kitchen I have fits the style of my house. It’s functional and warm and I love to cook in it. It certainly isn’t trendy but neither am I. So glad you spoke up about this, I feel so much better.
May 28, 2014 @ 11:48 am
I honesty don’t hate Formica, I have granite in my bathroom and with my hard water it looks terrible and is a maintanice nightmare. Look alike Formica in my kitchen would be good enough for me.
May 28, 2014 @ 11:48 am
My grandparents decorated their home and left it for 50 years. It was always beautiful. I think their celedon green cabinets would be hot again today.
Someone suckered us into thinking we had to always have our homes “up to date” when we don’t even really know what that means!
That said, I get sucked in with everyone else and have my house all torn apart right now to “update.” *sigh*
Lynne Rutter | the Ornamentalist
May 28, 2014 @ 11:49 am
I had a formica counter and it held up great for 20 years. Then I threw a recycled slab of carrera right over the top of it (I love salvage yards) and a stainless steel sink dropped neatly into the hole that was already cut. I have 10 feet of counter and that is the kitchen. It’s FINE. In a 820 square foot Victorian cottage I figure the giant kitchen every tells me I have to have is a ridiculous concept already. In a European home my 10 foot counter would be considered huge! In an historic home running water is already an upgrade. And you can throw that immense master bedroom and bathroom suite on that pile of advertising BS as well. Some McMansion developer came up with that idea and it spread like a childhood illness and now we all have to be inoculated against it.
May 28, 2014 @ 11:55 am
Not only is it the internet turning us into redo wannabes but do you watch HGTV? “We want granite or marble, stainless steel appliances…”. The only people who truly love SS are those that have housekeepers who clean off every fingerprint 20 seconds after it appears. And marble? That is only in design spec kitchens where no one cooks. Ever see a red wine stain on marble? It is near impossible to remove and only makes you want to drink more wine so you can numb yourself.
PLEASE show us a fantastic redo on a budget and create the NEXT TREND while you are at it!
May 28, 2014 @ 12:42 pm
I agree with your opinion on SS. Therefore, I just added “housekeeper” to my wish list for my future East Hampton beach dream house. Black marble, too, since I like red wine. My dream house is becoming a reality by the minute!
May 28, 2014 @ 11:55 am
Honey, That faucet is UGLY.
January 16, 2015 @ 7:29 pm
I’m so glad that someone else thinks that faucet sucks !
May 28, 2014 @ 12:22 pm
There is only one kitchen I want. It’s the kitchen that I use as the standard by which I judge all other kitchens. The kitchen in the movie “Something’s Gotta Give.” I want that whole “fake” house (it’s a set, not a real house). In the movie it’s an East Hampton beach house owned by the main character. Apparently, lots of other people wanted that kitchen too after seeing the movie. Do a Goggle search on it and you’ll see. Architectural Digest even did an article on it: http://www.architecturaldigest.com/ad/set-design/2007/somethings-gotta-give-film-sets-article I want that exact house. In East Hampton. On the beach. Maybe when I finally have it I will drop in on Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) from time to time so she can make lunch for me, and we’ll swap kitchen design ideas. Hey…a girl can dream.
May 28, 2014 @ 12:28 pm
You are so right about the trend. Some of these kitchens are just too white. And you are also right about the faucet, and I didn’t even know that was a thing but it does explain why I bought a $600 faucet for my kitchen. I do love the crap out of it though, and I did get my friend’s employee discount, I’m not a complete moron.
PS Trust me, if you buy a touch faucet you will be spoiled for life.
May 28, 2014 @ 12:36 pm
I just added a touch faucet to my above wish-list for my future East Hampton beach house.
May 28, 2014 @ 12:38 pm
What you said! YES!
Yes, I’m shouting. The budget for our kitchen was $10,ooo. And we kept under it, but it wasn’t easy. We upcycled, re-used, bought secondhand, and that is still too much money. And the house we are selling has oak cabinets and formica. Will it sell? That’s the big question….
May 28, 2014 @ 12:46 pm
Haven’t you heard? The new name for Formica is laminate. Or maybe that’s the old name. If they hadn’t discontinued the color of Formica that we used 30 years ago, we would have gone for it again – – rebels that we are. We had to settle for granite which is, of course, passe at this moment.
May 28, 2014 @ 12:46 pm
I say that white kitchens never go out of style! I have had white kitchens for a very long time and will continue to have white kitchens because they are practical. There! I said it. White kitchens are practical!
Now, let’s move on to Jon Hamm! If you have not seen Million Dollar Arm – you simply must! There is a seat in a movie theater reserved just for you – somewhere close to your home. Forget white kitchens, forget old houses, forget renovations. Jon Hamm! Million Dollar Arm. Now go………
May 28, 2014 @ 11:06 pm
I have to agree with you on the white cabinets. I’ve seen many natural woods cycle through the trends while white ones never went out of style. I hope I don’t get a shoe thrown at me, but I also like the stainless steel. If you’re as old as me you remember having one of your harvest gold or avocado green appliances kick the bucket and having no options but to be mismatched, replace them all, or find a good car bodyshop to try and match the puky color on your nice new unblemished appliance. Thank God it isn’t that difficult to bring in another stainless appliance and have it look as if it belongs there. Even if it’s from a different company it will match.
May 29, 2014 @ 8:52 am
I had the avocado green appliances -ugh! I really do not like that color. The colors back then in the 70s were avocado green, harvest gold and burnt sienna (probably the least offensive of the three). When I replaced the appliances, half of which were dying or dead, and the cabinets, I used laminate for the counters because it’s what I could afford at the time. The next owner replaced the white two year old (!) appliances with stainless steel and replaced the counters with granite. You can’t please everyone so please yourself and your band account.
October 12, 2014 @ 9:08 am
I STILL have an avocado green washing machine (circa 1973). It runs, but beats the crap out of your clothes. For a while, it had a broken belt and I had to take the front off and make it shift gears by levering the motor with a stick.
Yes, that’s right, I had a stick-shift washing machine.
May 28, 2014 @ 12:55 pm
I love your blog apart from today when I suffered immediate snowblindness as I scrolled down through the pictures but your comments were ‘spot on’ as well as funny. Your writing touches my feminine heart in so many places but especially this last one. We had a flood in our house a few years ago which necessitated a new kitchen and basement afterwards (what a shame!) or I still would have my eighties kitchen which I admit, I would have grumbled about. At the same time I would have tried to be content with it knowing that what matters is the family dynamic and not the house trappings. Advertising has a lot to answer for and I am glad that
you are swimming upstream against its pressure on your blog. I do like to see beautiful surroundings created on a shoestring budget so shall endorse anything you show in that vein.
It would be a relief to many of us to know that we don’t have to feel lesser mortals because
we don’t have the wherewithal to keep up with the latest in house fashion.
May 28, 2014 @ 1:33 pm
I’m sure your mined marble counters will be both signature and bespoke. The white, white, white perfect kitchens remind me of the quest for white, white, white perfect teeth. Just calm down, people.
May 28, 2014 @ 1:41 pm
Oh-I forgot to say in my comment of blather that I would trade any three of the “KITCHENS” and the faucet for half your wit and writing ability. The most I ever recall paying for a book is $36.00-so if you ever decide to put one of those PayPal click thingy’s on your web site I intend to click on that amount and it doesn’t begin to equal the laughs and entertainment you have provided me. Thanks
May 28, 2014 @ 1:47 pm
Once again, you made me laugh out loud! I re did (sp?) my kitchen 6 years ago and to this day I still love it just as much and I feel lucky to have it. It is not white (cherry cabinets), only a small island with granite the rest with Corian (soapstone color) (or grey is what I call it) & lots and lots of storage. Thanks Victoria!
May 28, 2014 @ 1:50 pm
You, This Post… and your 80’s Formica/oak/and probably fluorescent lighting are fantastic! We’re buying a house built in ’86 and the kitchen is OAK and FORMICA with a touch of renter-occupied overly ambitious and nauseating aquamarine/tourmaline/teal paint… there’s a half wall with a railing, a ceiling fan with 3 globes, and fluorescent over the sink lighting… which i believe was installed to help hide the Hamburger Helper/ Sloppy Joe stains on your “had it since the 80’s” Tupperware… anyways… i love your blog and i’m following!
May 28, 2014 @ 1:50 pm
May 28, 2014 @ 1:54 pm
Just looked at link to faucet. Nice of them to mark it down 7% because that’s a deal breaker for me. Looks like we’ll be able to bathe in the kitchen sink, while sipping champagne and eating caviar.
May 29, 2014 @ 8:36 am
Ah, but they ship that 36 pound faucet for FREE – how very generous!! Of course, the damn thing “on sale” is $2,500!!!! For a FAUCET! Get real!
Maureen S. Donahue
May 28, 2014 @ 1:55 pm
Victoria, you are SUCH a great writer! I enjoy all of your posts. Thanks so much for spreading your humor.