Defending The Beauty Of My Kitchen

kitchen window


I can’t tell you how much I’m still thrilled with the new kitchen. I’m noticing how the light is changing in there as the season changes day by day. I fall in love  with this new space every day.

Ever since the renovation I have been especially sensitive to clutter and mess. I no longer let dishes pile up. I keep everything in its designated place. I polish the stainless.

I’m zealously defending its beauty.

This concept of “defending beauty” is one I recently heard about on a Gretchen Rubin podcast. It’s the idea that once you’ve created a little piece of beauty in your home, you work to defend it. And in this act of defending  beauty, I seem to be  defending a place of beauty in myself, too.

It could even turn out to be a big part of who I am, or a part of my life’s work: To become a defender of beauty.

When people “Adopt a Highway” for instance, they defend a little piece of public thoroughfare. When Lady Bird Johnson planted wildflowers on median strips, she was defending the beauty of the highway.

There’s a spur of road behind our house that tends to get littered. I notice if I keep the litter picked up, it doesn’t accumulate as fast; but if I don’t pick it up, it gets worse daily. If people sense that someone cares for something, defends its beauty, even only on a subconscious level, they seem to have a different attitude toward it.

I have other little places in my house whose beauty I defend. They kind of function like shrines to different parts of my self. My space chair, for instance, is where I write and read.

space chair

I also have this  bedside table where I pen notes to people.


When I was a kid I had a battalion of brown plastic Mary statutes I won in school for answering catechism questions.


I had about 30 of these things and I’d arrange them in various formations on the top of my dresser. It gave me a lot of pleasure to do this.  Nothing else was allowed to be on that dresser top. Maybe it  was a shrine to my dedication, or my effort.

As I defend the beauty of my new kitchen, I feel like I’m am defending the space  inside me that loves food, and food prep, and just time spent chopping and sautéing and tasting and spicing.

Time spent nourishing and feeling nourished. Time spent doing what I love.


Kitchen Cabinet Project pics

So this won’t be a “talky” kind of post, but rather a “picturey” kind of post.  Pictures of cabinets.  oooohhhh  ahhhhh  thrilling!

It was my first do-it-yourselfy thing and it turned out all right.  Nothing went wrong.  Everyone involved is still on friendly terms. There were no trips to the ER–which is my definition of a successful home improvement project.

I don’t think the pics really do justice to the level of change.  These cabinets are circa 1960s and they had 50 years of crud on them.  Now they are all clean and de-crudded.  Plus, in the process, all the cabinets got cleaned out and reorganized and lined with fresh contact paper.  I love an organized kitchen.  I really do.  So here’s some pics:

This is the “before” cabinets.  Notice all the crud around the door pulls.


"Before" cabinets

This is just the “before” cabinets in a longer view as we were getting ready to begin.

"Before" long view


We took all the doors off, repainted the hinges, and used the most “earth friendly” stripper we could find called “Citra-Solve” to take the gunk off.


Then they had to be sanded.  This is me with the mouse sander finishing up the detail work.

Kath with Mouse sander


Here’s a freshly stained and polyurethaned cabinet up close.  Big difference (especially in person).

"After" cabinet up close

Here’s a long shot of the kitchen “after.”  Tah dah!


"After" long view