I just watched the 1939 version of The Wizard of Oz again, and realized for the first time, how closely the plot parallels our current global plight. Homes are being sucked up from families by an inexorable force that can’t be controlled. The wicked witches of the (middle) east want to destroy everything we hold dear, and our only hope is a bunch of world leaders with limited brains, courage, and heart. But, obviously, the most important theme in the film is that during troubled times there’s no place like home.
Accepting this premise, its only logical to take it one step further, and agree that in the home, there’s no place like the kitchen. So, until the wicked forces of evil are destroyed, and our economy is restored, there are alternatives to make your kitchens as pretty as a pair of ruby slippers, without spending a small fortune. These choices include inexpensive cabinet restorations; painting; refinishing; custom refacing; and complete renovations.
If you already have beautiful wood cabinets but they’ve been neglected, cabinet restoration may be just what you need. Technicians remove all the grime that has been building up on the woodwork; touch-up nicks and scratches; and apply a new top-coat to the woodwork. Keep in mind, however, that a restoration of this type will do little for heavily worn cabinets like in Aunty Em’s kitchen, nor will it change their color or style.
When wood cabinets have deteriorated to a point where restoration isn’t possible they can be painted or refinished. Painting can make cabinetry look new again but it doesn’t last as long as some of the other options. Just as you have to paint your home every several years, you will have to re-paint the cabinets. Because the surfaces on the doors are subject to the wear and tear of everyday use the paint can scratch, chip, and eventually fade. And it won’t change their style.
Refinishing cabinets is a traditional method of rejuvenating them and in some cases can lighten the color as well. A good refinishing job will last for years however the procedure can take a few weeks to complete and involves sanding and harsh, toxic chemical “strippers” to remove the old finish and stain. As with painting your cabinets this options does not change the style of the door and drawer fronts and if that is your goal then other options must be investigated.
Probably the least invasive method of a real renovation is refacing, (also known as resurfacing). If you’re ready for an exciting new look for your kitchen and you’re happy with the location of the cabinetry, custom refacing provides an attractive alternative to replacing them. You can have the look and feel of a new kitchen in about a week. Replacement components come in real woods like cherry, maple and oak; or easy-to-clean and economical thermofoil. With the addition of cabinet and drawer organizers your kitchen can also have the convenience of a completely new kitchen. Easily, the equivalent of anything you’d find in the Emerald City.
If you want to change the layout of your kitchen then you must consider remodeling. If you select from the multitude of stock cabinets on the market, new cabinets can be a relatively economical solution for your project. Custom and semi-custom cabinets are available in numerous styles, colors and wood species but will cost more than stock cabinets.
If you’re considering updating your kitchen, I suggest that you watch The Wizard of Oz again to put things in perspective. If you’re worried that a tornado in your neighborhood (or some other evil force) may suck up your home, but you still want to spruce up your kitchen without emptying your retirement fund, you may want to investigate some of the options that I’ve touched on in this month’s column. So click your heals together, ignore the man behind the curtain and say there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.