Time to Move On

By Debbie Koenig

I’ve hated my kitchen for years. By New York City standards, it’s huge, but it hasn’t been updated since the ’80s and things are crumbling. My husband has lived here for more than 20 years, and the landlady has never showed interest in her building’s upkeep. When I moved in 14 years ago, we did a substantial amount of work to fix up the place, but we’re 14 years older now and the idea of DIYing a rental doesn’t hold as much appeal as it used to.

Plus, the kitchen ceiling collapsed back in March and while the room is functional, the damage hasn’t been repaired. Plus plus, a few weekends ago we came back from a weekend upstate to find a giant FOR SALE sign on the building.

Yup, it’s time to move on.

We found a place in Sunnyside, Queens, a charming, established neighborhood full of older brick buildings. It’s on the 6th—top—floor of a co-op, a corner apartment that offers unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline from what would be my son’s bedroom. The apartment feels light and airy, and I can feel stress leave my body when I walk in. Because it’s a co-op, we have to jump through some hoops before we’ll know if it’s ours, but so far so good.

While we wait to hear, I’m allowing myself to look for ideas on Houzz and Pinterest, because this wonderful apartment does have one substantial problem: The kitchen is minuscule. It’s a galley kitchen with one window at the end. The owners of the co-op put in a new range and fridge, which is wonderful, but the fridge is so large you can barely open the doors fully. My large-but-hideous current kitchen has a place for everything and then some, and this one…doesn’t. I’m beginning to pack the gear I don’t use often, and as I touch each thing, I wonder if I shouldn’t just get rid of it. But the new kitchen does have a small dining area adjacent to it, so most of my daydreaming involves turning that into an extension of the kitchen—keeping the dining table in the living area. With some kind of cabinetry and a counter, it might do the trick.

Right now I’m excited at the prospect of a new, clean home, but I’m even more nervous. Until we get in and settled, I’ll worry that this new kitchen could leave me as unhappy as the old one, just in a different way.

Follow Debbie on Connect @debbieskoenig

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