If you can't stand the heat


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“Biting off more than I can chew,” is an ironic idiom when it comes to contemplating redoing our kitchen cabinets. Unlike “Real Housewives” who move to new homes when they don’t like the flooring in the entrance way of their mansions, I thought I was in for a simple decision that would lead to functional cabinets and drawers that open and close smoothly, don’t snap their hinges, and keep their laminate on without benefit of Crazy or Gorilla Glue.


But in learning about this process, I discovered it isn’t about remodeling at all — it’s about remodeling in the 21st century. You might have a perfectly functional kitchen, but it can show its age, not just in wear out, but in its lack of the latest design and smart technology that “real people” can have in 2018.


First, unless it’s “Throwback Thursday,” no one uses laminate anymore. Cupboards aren’t designed to lead to big doors but less shelving and useless space. Why have a range hood if you can keep a microwave there? Did we consider the potential for recessed lighting beneath the cabinets, the color for the granite countertops, under mount sinks and the need for circuit rewiring? Our refrigerator may not offer ice cubes, water or a personal assistant to tell us when it’s out of milk. But it keeps things cold even if we have to remember to shut the doors firmly. And it has a pretty nice assortment of magnets on the side too.


Our general contractor takes us through all the issues and possibilities. He is patient with our ignorance, extremely thorough with his explanations, measurements and digital photographs. He identifies not just what can be done, but roughly the timeline to get it done from the viewpoints of an electrician, plumber, tile guy and cabinet installers. He knows what it will take moment to moment and step by step, and doesn’t scare us too much — at least yet as we await his estimate.


As he leaves, I think about the near (and distant) future. Can we really commit to this refurbishing? And can I really go through this discussion again — multiple times if necessary — as we walk through the Home Expo at the Coliseum? One thing’s for sure, I’m getting used to the language of construction and can begin to recognize a soffit or two as well.

A contributing writer to the Herald since 2012, Lauren Lev is an East Meadow resident and a direct marketing/advertising executive who teaches advertising and marketing communications courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology/SUNY, LIU Post and SUNY Old Westbury.