Friday, January 28, 2011

The tyranny of choice (or why I can't choose my marble edge profile)

the built-up ogee step edge in honed statuario on the bathroom vanity
With only a few weeks to go before the cabinets get installed, the remaining kitchen decisions are looming large and we have lost all perspective.  This kitchen renovation has taken years to come to fruition, and during that time, while we attended to the behind-the-scenes infrastructure, we dreamed.  Our dreams were big, the possibilities endless.  And we took advantage of the freedom dreaming offers: changing our minds about some appliance or finish every couple of weeks.  But now, most of our decisions have been made.  The flooring is in place, new windows installed, appliances purchased, backsplash tile stockpiled, cabinets being built, sinks and faucets ordered, perimeter counters selected, trim refinished, light fixtures mostly in, and suddenly the option of changing our minds is gone...well, almost.

noisette grigio, white medusa, calacatta cielo
We have yet to choose the marble for our kitchen island.  And here's where we find ourselves confronted once again by almost infinite choice.  This time, though, the choice doesn't feel liberating, but stifling.  We have three weeks to decide.  After that, the cabinets will be in place and, unless we want to camp out in a makeshift kitchen in my studio forever, the counters will have to go in, and life go on.

our currently tagged slab--calacatta carrara extra (calacatta and carrara in one slab!)
So, really, what's our problem?  We are in the midst of a luxurious kitchen renovation.  How can we complain?  Are we dragging our feet because it will really make a world of difference whether we choose the calacatta carrara, the arabescato extra, the calacatta ondulato, or the white medusa?  Will we be forever dissatisfied if we get a mitred square edge instead of a built-up ogee?  We've invested this decision with so much importance that I'm beginning to think it's symbolic of something else entirely--as though the island countertop decision is a metaphorical door closing on possible worlds.  Once this final choice is made, the once in a lifetime dream kitchen is no longer a dream, but a reality. 


The first slab I tagged--an arabescato--vetoed by N as too purple  
So I guess choice is not the real tyrant at all.  Choice allows the dream to take place.  It's coming to a decision that turns on all the lights and wakes us up from the dream of possibility.  No wonder we're so indecisive. 

another option--calacatta cremo dorato extra (extra for extra $? calacatta as a prefix is always dangerous)
 No wonder houses, especially as they are being built or renovated, are so often used as metaphors for life, and these light decisions that we have the luxury of making feel so heavy.

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