Reality Check!

Assessing our Kitchen's Assets (believe it or not, it does have some)

and Liabilities


Kitchen A  with watermark


We used this approach when viewing kitchens of homes we contemplated buying. The approach also works well for project planning. We look at each element and listed it as an asset or liablility. Each element is pricey on its own, add them together and you get a bank buster! Here is how our elements broke down.


To approach the kitchen makeover, we broke the kitchen down to 6 basic elements:

  1. Layout
  2. Appliances
  3. Flooring
  4. Cabinets
  5. Counter top/Back splash
  6. Lighting



Our Assets:

  • We had kitchen cabinets that were top of the line for 1978. They were made of decent wood and had lots of upgrades within them. There were no broken doors and even the hinges seemed to be in good working order. Sadly, they were just ugly, tired and dark.
  • Our layout is stellar. I have never been in a kitchen with such wonderful storage space. With the prep sink and island cook top, there are actually 2 work triangels! Honestly, this kitchen has enough space for at least 2 people to cook at the same time. I have had all 3 of the kids cooking with me and not been crowded. I had no desire to change this aspect at all!
  • We had top of the line appliances for 1978 that still worked. We replaced the fridge upon moving in and the microwave and dishwasher were updated in Phase 1 of our remodel, but the stove, grill, and cook-top were original. Now, I know that they are dated, but don’t fix what ain’t broke! They were all clean or could be cleaned. Having good quality appliances that were still in working order 40 years later meant that we had the luxury of replacing the appliances at our leisure.
  • Althought the light fixtures were ugly and failing somewhat (the large fixture over the island would turn itself on and off when it felt like it. Kinda spooky!), we had ample light. Every bank of cabinets had under cabinet lights, and there was a large light over the island and table. In addition we had a fixture over the sink and the desk/nook area. Any work on these elements would be cosmetic only, hopefully!
  • The counter top/back splash was both an asset and a liability. It is a bright white, thick laminate counter top and back splash. While it was clearly a trend for the time period it was installed in (the Brady's had the same ones in orange), it continued to be in good condition. There were no burns or chips present. The best part about this element, there is so much of it! I can have 4 dozen cookies cooling on the counter top and still have enough space to cook dinner. I love this aspect of it.

Here is a close up look at our counter top

with the matching back splash and the

metal joint piece.




Our Liabilities:

  • The back splash and counter top. Clearly dated and the harshest white I have ever seen, I like to call it institutional white. In addition, there is a horrible aluminum strip along the back seam of the back-splash and along any vertical seam of the back splash. This feature was particularly dating.
  • The floor. It’s God awful! It's linoleum and probably 25 years old. Clearly our biggest liability. The original color and look isn’t bad (I have seen it under the fridge), but it is so old and dirty. I have used every cleaning product in my arsenal and had very little luck. The best product so far is the magic eraser sponge, but even that didn’t help much. The floor has lost its upper sealant coating so the dirt is allowed to seep into the pores of the floor. I have tried sealing it once I got it “clean”, but the look is still awful. In addition, there are several burn marks about the kitchen (these predate me cooking in the kitchen!). The children have named them all and use them as landmarks. 

Now that we completed our assessment, we had to decide where to start, with our liabilities or our assets. The temptation was to start with the liabilities because they were the most obvious and horrible, but we took a different approach. If we started with our assets, and updated and renovated them first, they could help us to determine the look and budget we would want for our liabilities. Although I had a definite inspiration for the kitchen, I knew that I may have to change the plan mid-way through in order to keep from replacing the assets. So that's where we started.


Keep reading to see how it turned out!