Rose Tint My World

My kitchen isn’t bad, as far as kitchens go. Sure, the oven is older than me. Yes, the portable dishwasher sometimes rolls around on its own. I can look past that. Antiques are interesting! Locating the dishwasher is an adventure!

I can’t cook, so my standards are pretty low. Honestly, there’s only one thing that I look for in a kitchen: that it not be pink. I’m even flexible on that, as long as it does not also have lace curtains. For some reason, pink kitchens with lace curtains leave me with the impression that someone’s dead grandmother is haunting the room.

On those two fronts, my kitchen is not doing so hot.

It's even pinker and lacier in real life.

It’s even pinker and lacier in real life.

I’ve complained about that room every single day since buying my house. I’m obsessed with it. As soon as someone points out a feature they like about the house, I say, “Yeah, that’s alright. But have you seen the kitchen?”

After I brought it up last week in a conversation where it didn’t belong (“This is a nice little town.” “Yes, I like living here. My kitchen is pink.”), I realized something needed to be done. I don’t want to be the person who only complains about her kitchen. That person is crazy. I want to be the person who does something about it.

Also, whining about the kitchen was cutting into the time I could have been talking about how cute Winston is.

Also, whining about the kitchen was cutting into the time I could have been talking about how cute Winston is.

I feel great about my decision when I’m not sure it’s the worst thing I’ve ever done. Repainting my kitchen is somehow simultaneously the best and worst idea I’ve ever had.

What I Thought Painting the Kitchen Would Be Like

Step 1. Sand off the horrible pink paint to reveal flawless antique cabinetry beneath.

Step 2. Slap some stain on there to highlight the cabinets’ beauty and add some complimentary color to the other walls. Have a lot of fun doing it, like you’re in a Home Depot ad. Wrap up by the end of the weekend.

Step 3. Revel in the glory of your increased property value. Allow passing interior designers to feature your kitchen in trade magazines. Meet Martha Stewart and then Oprah, probably. Become Queen of Pinterest, Ruler of All Things DIY and Maker of Tastes.

What It’s Actually Been Like

Step 1. Briefly research cabinet and wall painting techniques. Read one blog that makes it look simple. Jump right in without a second thought.

Step 2. Clean the grease off all surfaces. Why is there so much? Lose your mind a little when you touch what might be a collection of strangers’ boogers.

Step 3. Clear out the cabinets. Pile everything on the piano you still can’t play.

Step 4. Remove hardware that’s been painted over with a chisel. Try to fill the extra holes. Begin to suspect the cabinets will not be flawless. Attempt to open windows that have been painted shut. Fail miserably.

Step 5. Buy an electric sander but neglect to buy a mask, or eye protection, or a lead paint testing kit.

You might die, but you also look like a cowboy, kind of, so that's cool.

You might die, but you also look like a cowboy, kind of, so that’s cool.

Step 6. Sand and sand and sand and sand. Finally finish and clean fastidiously. Realize afterwards that you missed an entire cabinet and that every other room in your house is covered in a fine pink dust.

Step 7. When your boyfriend asks about lead paint, don’t worry about your own safety. Instead, become convinced you’ve killed your cat with your stupidity. The internet confirms this. FREAK OUT.

Step 8. Purchase appropriate safety equipment and test for lead paint. Find none. Become convinced you’ve killed your cat with fine pink dust. FREAK OUT, PART II. Follow him around for several days asking him personal questions about his litter box, seizures and blindness.

Step 9. Continue to sand, but hermetically seal the kitchen to keep the cat murder to a minimum. Realize that your cat might be an unkillable demon when he appears out of nowhere. Clean up carefully all over again.

Step 10. Learn that you can paint over your counters with something called “Make It Stone!”. Decide that though this sounds made up, anything is better than old pink Formica. Fight and then accept the fact that this will require more sanding.

Step 11. Pick out the perfect paint colors, then discover you don’t live near a retailer. Find close matches on a hardware store’s website and listen to an employee say they don’t carry those colors. Think about crying. Find two kind-of-almost-similar shades and ask for samples. Stand around awkwardly while the employee mixes them. Buy primer, rollers and brushes.

I miss you so much, Bainbridge Blue.

I miss you so much, Bainbridge Blue. Ocean Soul just isn’t the same.

Step 12. Think about crying again when the internet tells you the things you bought are either the worst items you could have possibly picked or huge wastes of money.

Step 13. Sadly eat some trail mix because you can’t use your kitchen. Feed your cat a raisin. Google “cats and raisins” and learn that they don’t mix. FREAK OUT III: THE FREAK OUT RETURNS.

Step 14. Begin priming after taping everything that you don’t want primed. Paint over the tape boundaries anyway. Add more primer because you can still see pink under the white. It’s in your lungs. It’s in your soul. You’ll never be clean.

Step 15. Get primer in your hair and be unable to remove it so you look like you’re aging in a strange way. Keep priming. Wonder if you should sand. The internet doesn’t know anything except that it hates you.

Step 16. See your demon cat peeking out of a drawer, inadvertently priming parts of himself. Read about paint spontaneously combusting, and arson and tornadoes. Have nightmares that you and your cat die before the cabinets are finished and that at your joint funeral people say things like, “At least she died doing what she loved — working on those cabinets. They’re all she ever talked about.” FREAK OUT 4: FREAKING OUT 4EVER.

Step 17. Decide to let things go. So what if your supplies suck? You can try again next year. Tell your cat that you both might die or you might not and that that’s how life works.

Step 18. Have trouble committing to paint colors. Blue? Yellow? White? You know what would look really good in here? A light pink.


  1. motherhendiaries

    Omigosh… Laughing out loud at this, big time! So, so funny! I can almost smell the fumes from here. I bet your rocking those white highlights, girl! I’m picturing Bride of Frankenstein…

  2. herschelian

    Nooooo! your first idea was the correct one , who the f*** wants a pink kitchen??? bizarre. Struggle on, c ourage mon brave!!!! you will be happy in the end. As for your cat…cats are SMART, if something is not good in their world they will absent themselves, he’s obviously doing fine and has been wanting to try eating raisins for ages but no-one ever offered them.
    BTW his sort-of namesake, Winston Churchill was a painter, so maybe he empathises with the smell of primer etc – on second thoughts, that is a daft comment please ignore it.

  3. Healthy Simple Smart

    This was soooo funny! So the cabinets are all sanded but no new paint? Any update pictures? Your kitchen actually looks really pretty (I totally agree about pink not being the right color though). I personally would go for a nice white, but I’m partial to white cabinets; it’s what’s in my home :) good luck and keep trying!

  4. joeyfullystated

    Oh that was good! I lol’d and lol’d! When I moved in, I had to clean grease, too. Only the outer portions of the cabinets were clean. It was so worth it to clean the insides and give them a fresh coat of paint! Not a fan of my beige on beige countertops, but I’ll wait. I cook way too much to believe in the power of countertop paint.

  5. gabrieleneumann

    Oh boy. Actual out loud laughing. When I have a home one of these days, I am going to become Queen of the Epic Fail. Queen of Pinterest is not a Thing That Would Happen For Me. Best of luck in what I hope is your continuing quest for the title, though. Don’t let the pink kitchen situation kill your dreams!

  6. KateM04

    Your adventures with Winston captivate me yet again. This was a good one. Your ability to make me laugh out loud never ceases to amaze me, and never ceases to draw judgment from my fellow law students.

  7. 3dgirl96

    I also have a kitchen I hate, created and currently haunted by the original owner, whom we’ve nicknamed Ghost Bob. Ghost Bob apparently never took into consideration such paltry things as permits, levels, or uniformity, never mind inconsequential details like a puke-taupe ceiling should never exist in this universe or any universe parallel to ours.
    I have been building up the courage to take back my kitchen, starting with the cabinets. I haven’t yet started, but your blog gives me hope for the future. I’m sure I’ll be rockin’ the Bride of Frankenstein highlights soon; I only pray my cats are equally indestructible.

  8. brokenbelladonna

    Henry help me… I’m about to embark on painting a whole house. In my head this seemed easy. Now I’m scared – NOT GOING TO GOOGLE IT. I have a fine dust of plaster throughout the entire house and inside my lungs, belly button, ears, eyeballs and probably worse. I feel your pain.

  9. twaldron2014

    Hilarious, and so easy to relate to. I’m old enough now that I pay people to do this kind of work for me, but I remember when my wife and I re-did our first house from floor to ceiling, including hand painting a popcorn ceiling (probably full of asbestos) throughout the house because the previous owners had been smokers. Avocado colored, indoor-outdoor carpet in the living room. Gosh, why did we ever think we wanted that house?

  10. Lorna's Voice

    Very funny stuff. DYI home reno projects are the WORST. What makes them that way is how all the shows and blogs make them seem so gosh darned easy that you feel like a total loser when your attempts fail before you start. I know of what I speak, trust me! Loved this post!!! :)

  11. chrysaliswithaview

    We just spent two weeks (on and off) moving house, and so now I’m shattered, and really really needed a laugh. Looking forward to the after photos! I love your freak-outs. I mean, I’m not like that at all …

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  15. AdorablyA

    I completely understand your situation. We’re repainting the whole apartment and it’s getting on my nerves a bit. Thankfully, we have no demonic cat to murder.

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  17. weebluebirdie

    Thanks for your cautionary tale! Guess my bathroom will do for another weekend. Anyway, once you’ve done one room it shows up the rest of the house and you have to keep going. Weekends are never your own again…

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