Weekend advice: Ambitious home renovations

“You Want My Advice?” is a weekend summer rerun feature of davisw.wordpress.com. I look at questions of ethics, propriety, faith, technology, geopolitics, health, etc., and offer completely inappropriate, irresponsible and possibly even life-threatening advice. Today, I field a question about home remodeling.

Q. We are starting to renovate our kitchen and are thinking about basic black and gray and white. We would like modern, but not too cold. Maybe a bit Oriental. We also wanted to install a backsplash that has the “wow” factor. We want to replace the current countertop, which is tropical brown granite, and the deep sill of the bay window over the sink also needs tile. We’re also removing a dated sunshine ceiling light, which leaves a 3-by-4 foot rectangle that is unfinished, plain gyprock. The rest of the ceiling is popcorn finish. We’re installing three pendant lights. Our kitchen is contemporary with cream cabinets. How can we unify the ceiling? –Worried, Perhaps Even a Bit Paranoid

A. You’re under arrest for possession and distribution of methamphetamine. Put down the trowel and step away from it slowly.

Seriously, what is it with you ambitious do-it-yourselfers and your plans for creating the perfect home? Can’t you think of anything better to do with your free time? Maybe you should take up a more soothing hobby, like golf, stamp collecting, or occasional sleep.

I can try to answer your questions, but I’ll tell you up front that my heart’s not really in it, considering I live in a house with 15-year-old carpeting that used to be tan but now tends more toward a muted shade of cat-stain.

I’d say black and gray and white sound just about right for your kitchen; you can avoid the cold feel and add an Oriental touch at the same time by adding a flaming Buddha to your breakfast nook. I don’t even know what a backsplash is, so instead of a “wow” factor you’d be getting the “huh?” factor from me.  I’d go counter-intuitive on the countertop and replace the granite with hard cheese, maybe a nice Gouda. I also don’t know what a “deep sill,” “sunshine ceiling light,” “gyprock,” or “pendant light” is. I’ve heard of rectangles and popcorn, though admittedly not in the context of home décor. So I’ll refrain from advice on these issues, except to note that popcorn is to be avoided on a low-res diet.

Your final question about unifying the ceiling I feel fairly comfortable answering. You’ll definitely want all parts of the ceiling to touch all other parts, so as to avoid rain and bees.

Good luck with your renovations! I hope you finish before the Rapture.


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