Once upon a time, there was a decor-obsessed girl and a cute boy who bought an inexpensive fixer-upper. He gutted the kitchen, giving the girl a chance to create a dream kitchen.

Finally, after years of living in rentals, the time she spent gazing longingly at photos in magazines would pay off. There’s no reason the new kitchen should not turn out exactly the way the girl wanted.

However, something went wrong. During the remodeling project, the girl learned many lessons. To this day, she’s grateful for the kitchen she has and her slide out shelves, which looks nothing like the kitchen she wanted to create. Sometimes it bums her out when she forgets that she should be thankful for the freshness and newness of her kitchen. Here are a few lessons she can teach us.

The Kitchen

We have a solid brown quartz counter, solid maple cream-colored Thomasville cabinets from Home Depot, a slate backsplash, and oil-rubbed cabinet hardware and faucet. It’s not offensive and it’s actually very functional. However, it’s not what I set out to create, which is why I’m mad at myself.

Where did it all go wrong?

I designed my kitchen in the pre-Pinterest era or the dinosaur age of design. I spent hours blissfully thumbing through the pages of home design magazines. I know exactly what I wanted. Dark floors, white cabinets, and Carrera marble.

We shopped all over for the cabinets. We went to tiny boutique shop cabinet makers, big box stores, and weird warehouses in the middle of the ghetto. One place had a designer wandering the showroom helping customers select cabinet finishes. I told her that I wanted white cabinets because I had dark wood floors. She told me that white cabinets would be too start a contrast. If I had dark floors I needed cream-colored cabinets.

Since she was a designer, a professional, I believed she knew what I wanted better than I did. After that, I avoided white cabinets and shopped for cream. But I really wanted white. I put too much value in what another person, a designer, said I should like. I ignored what I loved because of her opinion. If the designer says I’m wrong, I must be wrong.

Huge Mistake #1: Putting your trust in someone else’s opinion or advice instead of knowing and trusting my own style. I should have trusted what I loved.

Huge Mistake #2: This came when I picked up the cream cabinets that we planned on installing. We ended up finding the right cabinets at Home Depot. They have little cabinet doors on display, and you choose the finish, style, and color that you like. We chose a pearl finish based on the display model, which were seen under the Home Depot fluorescent lights.

Don’t trust the display samples in the store. Take a sample door home with you so you can take it in your homes lighting. You can make sure it’s the color you want to buy. The way a color appears under different types of lighting can be significant. I ordered my cabinet, based on the display model. When the cabinets finally arrived, after I waited for 6 to 8 agonizing weeks, I almost cried when I saw them.