I scooped water from the pool, boiled it on the stovetop, then scrubbed the cabinetry before putting away our dishes. The kitchen is dark, cavelike, and I tried to stay upbeat while I crammed our belongings into the tiny space. "It'll be beautiful, you'll see," I said to Lauren as she worked beside me. "I want to go home," she said back. I thought about the big, beautiful kitchen we left behind, its expanse of countertops, its light pouring in from a wall of windows. I wanted to go home too.
That night Gary said we needed to gut the space, to start over.
We've done it before, and I knew what we were getting into. If any of my friends suggest that they want a remodel, I always tell them to get a bucket of paint, change a wall color, and come to peace with their space the way it is.