Feel Free to Break Stuff

Recently, my family and I wrapped up a 3-month saga of renovating our kitchen, a task we had long postponed. It wasn’t because the renovation wasn’t necessary… but because it was indeed the most critical update to our way of life.

For most, if not all, families, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where we come together for moments of joy, experimentation, entertainment, creation, sharing, and laughter. In this space, over the last 21 years, my family of four turned into amateur chemists, experimenting with new recipes, cleaning up spills, breaking dishes, staining our clothes, feeding our pets, and courageously continuing to bake, boil, and occasionally burn things.

But why the delay in updating our cramped, outdated 30-year-old kitchen? Well, beyond the financial aspect, I believe it was our desire for perfection. We were hesitant to disrupt our familiar routines, scared of losing the unique charm that made our kitchen special.

This kind of apprehension is similar to what creatives feel when updating their own brand. Whether it’s refreshing a logo, upgrading a website, or revising your brand voice, it’s always more challenging than doing so for a client or a friend. The process of reevaluating who you are today and whether you still embody the brand you once promised to be is daunting. It’s a journey filled with uncertainty, one that waits for you to take the plunge and break free from your comfort zone.

The moment my son swung the first WHACK with the rubber mallet, marking the start of our kitchen demolition, was a turning point. After months of planning, identifying pain points in our kitchen, and despising the old floors, cabinets, and tiny sink, it was that moment of destruction that liberated us. No longer held back by fear, we embraced the opportunity to creatively transform our kitchen into what we always wanted it to be.

Our kitchen, once a traditional space that blended seamlessly into a living room with original judge paneling, is now a beautifully remodeled area. We maintained some of the original woodwork to preserve the classic look, yet the space feels larger, brighter, and more suited to our needs. The renovation turned out better than we ever imagined.

When it comes to remodeling or rebranding, be prepared. It requires research, time, and trust, but the real journey doesn’t start until you begin to dismantle the old. The process is prolonged by the fear of losing what made the original so special, yet it’s also a crucial step toward rediscovery. It’s always more difficult to redesign for ourselves than for others, as it involves redefining our identity. The act of breaking down barriers is what frees us to explore creative possibilities.

In the end, the renovation teaches us that breaking things apart is essential for growth and rejuvenation. By going through this journey, we not only reacquaint ourselves with what’s truly important but also relearn why we embarked on this journey in the first place. So, let’s embrace the chaos of change, for it is through this disruption that we rediscover our creativity and passion.