1. Hire a good contractor.

Visit a kitchen built by this contractor and fall in love with it: the repurposed hardwood floors, the soft-close green-tinged cabinets, the marble countertops, the cutout in the counter for a compost bin. Conceive of this contractor as a genius, maybe even a minor deity. Invite him to talk over ideas.

  1. Obsess.

Obsess about where to put the refrigerator. Read about work triangles—the imaginary triangle created by range, refrigerator and sink. Grow concerned that your work triangle will be too obtuse. Read about induction stovetops and consider whether you should spend the extra $3,000 for one. Congratulate yourself for coming to “no” reasonably quickly. Listen to a chef on Terry Gross’ Fresh Air who says she must be the last person in the country whose kitchen has only one oven. Worry that maybe you need two ovens. Grow certain that in your new kitchen you will suddenly be seized with the need to bake multiple rhubarb pies and roast turkeys at the same time. Relax when Terry Gross protests that everyone she knows has only one oven. Reflect on how much you’ve always liked Terry Gross.

Stay up until 2 a.m. cataloging every last item in your current kitchen and devising a place for each of them in your new kitchen. Come up with the effulgent idea of a coffee station. A coffee station! By the kitchen desk! You will be able to make coffee without getting out of your chair! Warm to the light of your own brilliance.

  1. Confer with your contractor/deity.

Your contractor/deity will remind you that there will be no sink by the kitchen desk, and that therefore you will have to cross the kitchen to get water for your coffee, making the “station” idea inefficient. Feel sad and underappreciated. Think privately that maybe your contractor isn’t such a deity after all. Attempt to content yourself with the fact that you will be allowed a tea drawer.

  1. Agonize.

Agonize over where to put the pots and pans. Agonize over where to put the cereal. Agonize over where to put the table linens. Know three things: you want a coffee station somewhere in the kitchen, you want open shelving over the peninsula where you can display colorful dishes and wine glasses, and you want a built-in wine rack. Lie awake at night wondering if you are becoming too attached to your wine. Dream about Mason jars full of black beans, red lentils, green peas, brown nuts, lined up in orderly fashion on your open shelving. You had a friend in college, over twenty years ago, who kept bulk food items in glass jars. Her kitchen was bright and sunny. She kept a sunflower in a blue vase on the windowsill.

  1. Re-confer with your contractor.

Show him your revised plan. Yes, he will say. We can do that. We can have open shelving with glass jars and wine glasses and a wine rack built in beside the trash pull-out. We can put a coffee station between the sink and the range. Feel yourself welling with gratitude and joy. Contemplate throwing your arms around your contractor. Imagine that he might find such behavior alarming. Smile instead. Say Great. Perfect. Let’s do it.

Amy Hassinger is the author of two novels, "Nina: Adolescence" and "The Priest's Madonna". You can read more about her at www.amyhassinger.com.

She is writing a series of blog posts about the work she and her husband are doing to update the older home they recently purchased. Her first installment, "A love story," was posted Feb. 26. The second installment, "Moving week," was posted March 29; the third installment, "The Way of Concrete," was posted April 9; and the fourth installment, "Kitchen Confessional," was posted May 23.