You know what’s kind of annoying, in both renovating and in wedding planning? Everyone loves to tell you that “______ is the single most important part of your reno/wedding.” (I think I may have ranted about this before, so sorry if I did.)

Planning a wedding, I’ve heard and read all of the following:

  • “Oh- the flowers are by far the most important part of your wedding. Your guests will definitely remember them!”
  • “Your invitations are critical. They set the tone for the entire event.”
  • “The bride’s dress is the ONLY thing people will remember.”
  • “The cake is the focal point and centerpiece of your wedding. Do not scrimp!”
  • “The favors are the ONE thing your guests will take home with them, so make them count!”

During the kitchen reno, I heard (both directly and indirectly):

  • “Don’t scrimp on the appliances- stainless steel is the FIRST thing people see when they enter a kitchen.”
  • “You’ll want to splurge on the cabinets- they are the very backbone of your kitchen!”
  • “You HAVE to get a nice sink and faucet. They are the focal point of a kitchen.”
  • “Don’t even THINK about not doing granite. Your counter tops are something you’ll have to look at forever.”
  • ETC.

Now, I happen to agree with some of those statements- or at least I think that some of those items are extremely important. But it really tees me off when people try to tell me what I should be placing at the top of my priority list. Suggestions are great. You guys know I’m needy and I love input. I guess it just really bugs me when people cross over from suggesting something to telling me what I HAVE to do. (And lest anyone get offended and wonder if you’re one of those people, rest assured that most of the bullet points are things I’ve read online from people trying to sell flowers/cabinets/wedding dresses/granite counter tops.)

Whew. Now that that’s over, I’ll get to something that I did in fact splurge on- custom kitchen cabinets.

I’m not above buying Home Depot stock cabinets. I’ve lived with them in apartments past and they’re great (and about half the cost of custom). And I’ll admit that the main reason I chose custom cabinets is because my kitchen’s layout presented a number of challenges that I think would have just been too hard to get around using standard stock cabinets.

There’s the exposed brick chimney that juts out into the room (requiring a shallower cabinet there), and there’s the weird fridguation (fridge situation). I also wanted some custom open shelving, and a bar with open compartments that could fit cute baskets. To truly make the best use of the 7’x9′ space with all its weird little annoyances, I think custom cabinets were necessary.

So splurge I did! (Although I saved a lot on the installation because my family is awesome and installed them for me.) But I don’t regret it, because for one thing the guy really helped me with some of my dilemmas, and since he sees lots of kitchens he helped me to know what most homeowners prefer- things like a nice pantry, even if it means a levitating fridge. Plus, he just did darn good work. He did a fantastic job of building everything exactly the way I needed it, and the quality of materials is wonderful.

I chose a clear alder with this kind of warm stain and I love it. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that I splurged on cabinets. There, I said it.

Embarrassingly enough, I’d never cleaned the fronts of my cabinets because I wasn’t sure what to use. So I was pretty excited when the people at Scott’s Liquid Gold asked me if I wanted to try their wood wash concentrate. I said yep and they sent me some. Check out this nasty!

I diluted it according to directions and just sprayed it on and wiped it off with a dry rag. No streaks at all! And a pleasant smell, not chemical-y. My only quibble is that I may add more of the concentrate, because I had to scrub a little harder than I think I probably should. I’m not normally one to buy a different cleaner for every different surface in my house, but these cabinets were expensive, baby, and I’m not going to use just anything to clean them. I really trust that Scott’s isn’t going to gradually strip the finish or be too harsh. In short- I’m sold.

I don’t have an “after” photo because I’m still learning the art of taking pictures with no flash that don’t come out blurry (the tripod is at Stan’s house), but just imagine the above picture sans grossness.

Thank you Scott’s!