Kitchen dreams are not made of granite counter tops

When’s the last time you hated something about your kitchen? Unless you just had it remodeled, there’s probably something about your kitchen that annoyed you recently.

Maybe it is countertop grout that never looks clean, or a coffee ring on your granite slab. Or perhaps you have an electric stovetop that takes forever to boil water. In my kitchen, my eyes zero in on how the refrigerator juts out and how the cabinet hinges don’t match the knobs.

I started noticing these imperfections more after watching HGTV at the gym. I can predict the plot of every single home improvement show. “Tear out the kitchen and maybe the bathroom, too.” Their philosophy seems to be: “Unless it’s new, it’s ugly.”

What bothers me is how these shows ridicule the happy memories of previous generations. Every time a prospective homeowner gives a withering look to a galley kitchen, or wood-paneled dining nook, my heart aches for the mom who once called that house her dream home.

Before there was quartz there was granite. Before granite there was Corian. Before Corian there was white tile. Before white tile, there was beige tile with dark grout. Keep going back in time and you’ll find yourself in your grandma’s kitchen, eating something delicious, and not caring what her countertops looked like at all.

If I time travel back through my own life, I remember that 10 years ago my current kitchen was my dream kitchen. I was thrilled to have so much space, and didn’t mind that the original oak cabinets were painted white, or that the countertops were granite tile instead of granite slab. No pantry? No problem; I could make it work. This kitchen was so much grander than the kitchen in our condo.

But 13 years ago, when my husband and I first moved into our condo, that kitchen was my dream kitchen. Luxuries of luxuries, it had a dishwasher — and a garbage disposal! I thought I was in heaven. The pink tile backsplash was pretty and so was the 1990s wallpaper. Cleaning my flat stovetop was a breeze, although I could never remove that spot on the burner.

Before our condo my husband and I lived in a 500-square-foot apartment. Our kitchen was a postage stamp, built in the 1950s. There was no dishwasher or garbage disposal, and the window looked out into an alley. But at the time we moved in, it was my dream kitchen because we were finally starting our life together.

It doesn’t matter what the design gurus say the perfect kitchen should look like, because they aren’t the authorities on dreaming. Isn’t our goal to have dreams that are bigger than countertop fads?

Every kitchen, no matter what it looks like, has the potential to be my dream kitchen. Clean it up, clear away clutter and let me cook. A delicious meal can come from anywhere.

Jennifer Bardsley is online on Instagram @the_ya_gal, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as The YA Gal.

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