Kitchen Reno

On Babies and Budgets

Kitchen Reno

Mark and I have a tendency to catastrophize in times of stress. One example: when our kids, who were both spectacularly bad sleepers as babies, would wake up hourly during the night, our bleary conversations usually went something like, It’s never going to get better! I know, it’s not! Clearly we’re doing something wrong. Right, we’re terrible parents! This is a living hell! Yep, and it’s your turn to get up. The only thing that helped was approaching the nights with a plan. I read all the infant sleep books and eventually found a training method that worked for our firstborn. This child, on the other hand, has proven untrainable.

Mark tries to block out the morning.

When we decided to renovate our kitchen, naturally we fretted over the budget: How are we going to afford this? There’s no way — we can’t! And the unresearched ballpark estimates we received from the first designer we consulted did little to assuage our fears. We knew cabinetmaker Ben Block was The One when he and his project manager Mike Roy — formerly of Phi Builders and Architects in Rockport — drove two hours from their Searsport shop to our home in Portland on a Saturday and spent three hours with us, talking through ideas and taking detailed measurements. The following week they presented us with three budget proposals, each one containing an itemized list of informed quotes for cabinets, countertops, lighting, flooring, and so on. Knowing the actual bottom line for the project is terrifying, but far less so than the phantom number that kept snowballing in our heads. And having this information before we signed on with Ben — like facing down an evening with an infant with a solid plan of attack — really helped us relax.

Ben also came up with a killer kitchen design, which I’ll unveil next week — I’m eager to hear your thoughts!


  1. Nancy

    I can’t wait to see your kitchen!

  2. Victoria Charkut

    Me too. We are about to begin kitchen design this spring. Overwhelming!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *