The other day as I washed the pine boards of the kitchen floor, I yearned for the smooth resiliency of linoleum. It’s durable, easy to clean, and it’s completely out of style.
During renovation and house-hunting shows on TV, linoleum gets the same disgusted reaction as dog poo: “What’s that doing on the kitchen floor?” Yet lots of good people I know live surprisingly happy and full lives with linoleum floors in their homes. Vinyl floor covering has not deterred them at all.
Listen to me read this classic post:
When I bought this bungalow, my grandparents’ former home, twelve years ago, I installed wood flooring throughout the main floor. It’s nice and much cleaner than the old carpet that was in here originally. But now I would appreciate linoleum in the kitchen.
And what’s wrong with laminate countertops?
Stone countertops are gorgeous! Who can argue with that? What can be argued is the necessity of stone countertops. Who needs them? Some of the best meals I’ve ever eaten (my mom’s, grandma’s and auntie’s cooking) were prepared on laminate countertops.
Isn’t food preparation the main purpose of a countertop? Flat is really important. Smooth and clean are also good things in a countertop. That’s about it.
On renovation shows, a laminate countertop is treated like severe acne: “We’ve got to get rid of this as soon as possible.” I often hear prospective homebuyers say that a house isn’t ready to live in until the countertops (and the linoleum) have been replaced.
This is news to all the folks I know who live in unlivable homes, cooking their meals, raising their kids, hosting friends and family, and all in unlivable conditions. It’s an outrage really. Such joy in life should not be experienced in subpar houses. Such contentment is not deserved where granite is not present.
The lavender bathtub
Okay. It’s not beautiful and it doesn’t match any of the other bathroom fixtures, but it works. One nice thing about the lavender bathtub is that it’s quite small and fairly shallow. We have a big jetted tub downstairs and it’s great. But it takes forever to fill. I mean, you have to book a bath in advance and pencil it in on your calendar to make sure there are no scheduling conflicts.
A bath in the jetted tub takes time. It’s a serious commitment. The lavender tub takes moments to fill and seconds to drain.
Another nice thing about the lavender tub is that it’s metal. It’s very easy to clean a metal tub. I can get that bathtub gleaming in no time. After nearly 50 years, there’s not a dent or a chip in its purple finish.
To home critics, the old lavender tub would be viewed as a wart on the house: “This looks terrible! It must be removed at once!” But then we’d have to buy a new tub. I’d rather spend the money on travel. Love of travel is probably why we still have the lavender tub.
We don’t need to be fancy to be happy.
Updated, renovated, and brand new homes don’t matter that much unless they do to you. If a nice home is something you want and something you can afford, then by all means, go out and get it. Enjoy it, but don’t expect a beautiful house to make you happy forever. It won’t. It can’t.
The renovations and house hunting TV shows I enjoy try to convince me that a new or updated house will make me happy. They’re fun to watch and fun stories to be part of, but their premise is not true.
Fancy houses don’t make us happy. Satisfaction with what we have makes us happy.
My family wanted to be crammed in here!
During our recent 50th birthday party, I thought that my family – my dad, my brothers, their kids – would want to stay where there’s more room. I thought they’d prefer the luxury of beds, for example, to what they’d get here.
I thought they might want to stay in a hotel or stay with the relatives. Nope. They all wanted to stay at Grandma’s old house, stacked up in here like cordwood and tucked into every available corner.
We set up a tent in the basement for my nieces to sleep in. My brother brought along a single air mattress on which my nephew slept. My dad crashed here on the office floor about where I sit writing this piece. One brother slept on the couch, the other brother and his wife slept in the spare room, and our old family friends slept in our bed. We walked across the street and bunked in our neighbour’s fifth wheel trailer. Thanks, neighbours!
It was really fun, us all being here together like that. As a family, we don’t get together very often. Being under one roof meant a lot to us all.
It’s not the house that makes the home.
Stone countertops and hardwood floors are beautiful, and someday I might have them. But for now, this humble house suits me just fine. It’s a place where I’ve spent happy times with friends and family. Equally important to me is the quiet solitude this little house has provided.
This house is a gathering place and an alone place. It has laminate countertops, a lavender tub, and a ton of sweet memories. What more do I really need?