Real People Really Do Win Contests

I have written a little about my old house and it’s need for some extra money renovation. Lovers of old houses know that somewhere deep in there, through the layers of paint, vinyl, and wallpaper, a really beautiful home exists. I knew this was especially true in my kitchen.

After we moved in, the extra paint we covered the cabinets with just wasn’t cutting it. The twenty or so layers had built up to the point that the paint was peeling away from the wood and finding its way into my pots and pans. Not good. I had used up any extra money we had buying new appliances, so one day I literally prayed, “Lord, I need a contest. How about an essay contest? I think you can help me write something good.” I am not kidding…two weeks later I saw an ad for In-Sink-Erator’s “If You Can Stand the Heat, Get in the Kitchen” Hot Water Dispenser contest in a kitchen and bath magazine.

This was my kitchen that inspired my essay.


There is “stainless steel” contact paper on the counter and backsplash. Yes, I put it there. The old laminate under the contact paper was really that ugly, I promise. The floor was a sandwich of VCT- over sheet vinyl- over linoleum. The stove was next to a wall and the refrigerator covered up the lines of an arch to the breakfast nook.

When I received the call, I about hit the floor. My first thought was, “Nobody wins these things!” I couldn’t believe it. Then, after thinking about it, I realized I shouldn’t have been surprised at all. My God delights to show His reality through events like these.

The grand prize was a kitchen makeover. Joan Kohn, the spokesperson for In-Sink-Erator, came out for a consultation and then we were left with a check for $10,000 and to our own devices. We tore our kitchen apart (with lots of muscle from my church) on April 22 of this year, and it is finally complete (well, almost complete – if you have ever worked with a contractor, you’ll know what I mean). Thanks to a lot of help locally- Fidencio Lira for the construction, Jim and Helen Klinck of Stoneworks Granite and Marble, JFL Tile for laying the tile and backsplash, T.J. Moore Lumbar Yard and Marazzi Tile out of Dallas – we have transformed the kitchen.

The biggest change we made was to open up the kitchen to the rest of the house. The kitchen was an old-fashioned “servant’s kitchen”, closed off by a swinging door to the dining room. We had Fidencio remove the swinging door and enlarge the opening to match the archway in the kitchen. The stove and refrigerator switched places. The granite speaks for itself. My tile is a gorgeous saltillo-looking porcelain. My sink is fabulous. And yes, I do love the hot water dispenser. It really does make things so much quicker in the kitchen. Probably my favorite function is the luxury of getting my coffee cup really hot before I pour my first cup in the morning. We were still able to maintain the 1930’s charm without the 1930s kitchen drudgery. (For more pictures from a later post, click here.)

Thanks In-Sink-Erator! Thank you, Lord! And to all the “blogettes” out there, keep up your writing, you never know when it will pay off!

Carole Ivener, photographer, took this wonderful picture. (maybe I will post more pictures soon…Carole’s photos are in a different format that is difficult to load on my computer)



Filed under Giving Thanks, Homemaking&Cooking, Words and Writing

9 responses to “Real People Really Do Win Contests

  1. Wow. And to think we were there from the beginning… ;–)

  2. Jen

    Looks beautiful!! HOw could you consider leaving all that and moving into an RV?? :):):)

  3. Jeanne

    This prompted me to tell my husband that I thought it might be time to do some work in our kitchen. It looks great! (What is all of this about an RV?)

  4. I knew someone would ask me about the RV! Well, I can’t be blamed for wanting to be with my husband more, can I? I was just brain-storming ideas if his job takes him away more…doesn’t it sound a tiny bit fun to anyone?


  5. WOW!!! It looks absolutely wonderful. Simply beautiful. I love the new farmhouse style sink.

    My husband won our honeymoon. It was a week in super-swanky $800/night resort (the Palmilla) in Cabo San Lucas, airfare, and two days of deep sea fishing on a privately chartered boat. We couldn’t afford to eat at the resort’s restaurant!! Not even once! We took the bus everywhere, with the locals, and dh would eavesdrop on conversations and translate for me. :mrgreen: I had the same reaction, “Real people DO win contests!”

    I’ll have to search your blog to see if you posted your winning essay.

  6. mom24bbs

    That’s amazing. So is Joan Kohn nice in person or is that just a TV thing? I’m always suspicious of those people.

    Enjoy your new kitchen. It really looks great.

  7. Joan Kohn really was very nice and very professional, too. Her creative energy reminded me a little of the costume designer on the Incredibles.

  8. Pingback: Chocolate Floors « The Life and Times of the Bordermama

  9. Susan

    What a beautiful testimony and a beautiful kitchen. The name of your contractor caught my attention. I went to grade school with a Fidencio Lira in grade school in Del Rio Texas. I am 41 just curious that it possbily may be the same person. Enjoy your beautiful kitchen, job well done.

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