My Home Improvement Holiday Wish List

Any smaller and it would be a toy.
We bought my little apartment 14 years ago, and it's so sweet and perfect I've never been able to leave -- even though it's way too small. A couple years ago we renovated our bathroom and now it's a gorgeous, sparkling temple to hygiene. But the kitchen? That's a different story.

I love to cook. But I hate my kitchen with a deep and abiding passion matched only by my passion for cooking. Yeah, it's like that. So my home improvement wish? Well, let me tell you about my dream kitchen.


First of all, I would hire a genius architect who would find some way to make my kitchen space larger. (YES, there are architects who focus just on home renovations.) I don't know how they'd figure that out -- but that's what makes the architect a genius. Most older New York City apartments were built with the assumption that we'd eat out every night at all the fabulous restaurants and just store our shoes in the oven. But that's not MY life! So the kitchen needs to grow somehow. Magically.

Now let's talk about my counters. They're a putty-colored Formica. True, they won't stain, but putty is the color of death. (You thought black was the color of death, but actually, it's putty.) My favorite counters are the counters of a friend of mine -- poured cement. I don't know if they're hard to care for or if they're so 10 years ago, but I love how they look.

I would also find a way to lower the counters. Here's the thing: Most kitchens are built more or less man-size. TALL man-size, if you ask me. It's hard to knead bread -- I have to stand on a stool in order to put my full weight into it. So yeah, lower them counters. 

I don't mind my cabinets, but the doors are another matter. I would love to replace them all with flat-faced doors, no handles at all, and some sort of smart latch. I don't even know what color... just not the color they are now.

My appliances. Oh my appliances. I think my hottest hatred is reserved for my horror show of a range. The last person to renovate my kitchen decided less is more and crammed in a tiny little cabinet, leaving room only for a 20-inch range. And if you've ever looked for ranges, there aren't many 20-inch ranches out there and they all suck mightily. Mine leaks heat like crazy, probably dangerous gases as well, and the burners are too close together. So I'd take out that tiny cabinet and put in a GOOD range. Did you know some of the high-end ranges come in small sizes? I believe you can get a Viking, Wolf, or Aga in 24 inches. 

And then there's the fan above, which might as well be an elf with a paper fan for all the good it does. So I'd love a real hood that sucks all the smoke up and away. I'd like to be able to brown steaks without having to open all the doors and windows in my apartment.

My refrigerator, she is on her last leg. I can hear it. I'd replace her with some energy-efficient unit that has WAY more room for vegetables. What is it with refrigerators that have only one little drawer for vegetables? 

I have this countertop dishwasher. It does the job, and it does it well. But it's on my countertop. I'd love to find a small dishwasher that fits under the counter, but that would take some demolition and magic. See above re: The architect.

The sink. You will not be surprised to hear it's too shallow and the faucet is stupid. I'd love to replace that.

And then of course, I'd need someone to help me figure out a good color scheme and find the perfect back splashes.

Now the best part: The kitchen would be self-cleaning. Have you seen those new public restrooms in big cities -- you pay 50 cents, do your thing, and then when you leave, the whole thing gets sprayed inside with water and disinfectant? I want a kitchen that does that. At the end of the day, when I've put dinner away and the dishes in the dishwasher, I close a door, push a button, and WHOOOSH! The whole thing gets hosed down. 

And that's my dream home renovation! Thanks for asking, Santa. As you know, I've been shockingly good for the past 14 years and I clearly have this coming to me.

What's on your dream home improvement wish list?


Image via Adriana Velez

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