We were dangerously approaching our third move in date. I had no design plan and more importantly, I had yet to order a kitchen. Sketch books and measuring tape in hand, I grabbed the husband and off we went to IKEA.

A gargantuan store, it’s obviously not located in the city center but rather in the Province of Naples in the Comune of Afragola. In other words, not nearby. Living without a car, getting out into the suburbs can sometimes be tricky, but luckily Napoli has made getting to IKEA relatively pain-free. The A4R bus leaves from outside the central station about once an hour and in about 20 minutes you are at the front door.

Walking into the land of oz I had precious little inspiration but still held onto the hope I’d get the kitchen installed in time. All I needed to do was come up with a concrete plan. I would concentrate on the rest of the apartment as soon as I had the kitchen sorted out.

We followed the yellow brick road through the living rooms and bedrooms, past the Billy and Besta wall units and the ideas began to flow. Room after room designed specifically for small spaces, I started to see the possibilities. Yes, we might actually stand a chance of fitting my huge wall unit, a couch, a dining table, and who knows, maybe even one or two more pieces into our new apartment. By the time we reached the kitchens, my mind was in full gear.

My inspiration renewed, I quickly found solutions that would bring my design phobias into check. In record speed I had the perfect plan. Lots of open storage above to abate my aversion to upper kitchen cabinets that I can’t reach and make me feel like I’m living in a box. A mix of open storage and drawer units below to keep me from having to get down on my hands and knees to search for something in the back of a cabinet. And best of all, a vent I not only didn’t hate, but actually loved.

It was my dream kitchen. Well almost.

I looked once, twice, three times through all of IKEA’s door and drawer fronts and found nothing. White – too stark. Faux wood – brown, black-brown, birch, beech, or antique – yuck. High-gloss – I might like it if they had something other than red, grey or white.

Finally, after looking through the counter tops, I settled for high-gloss white because I found a great counter top that would compensate.

Feeling extremely accomplished we waited, and waited, and waited some more for the sales girl to review our plan. Finally, she made her way to our computer station and her cheerful greeting and warm disposition put me immediately at ease. “Complimenti,” she said, indicating she loved the plan and my cabinet and appliance selections. She set about the task of entering everything into the computer and I asked the fateful question – “how long will it take?”

The conversation went something like this (in Italian of course)

“Your counter top is special order so it will take 40 days.”

“And if I get a stock counter top?”

“We should be able to install the kitchen next week.”

“Okay – stock counter top it is then.”

A quick look around revealed nothing I loved but I found something I could live with. My dream kitchen was quickly becoming my stock kitchen, but crisis averted.

“Can I use the counter top material as the back splash?”

“Yes, but that is a special order.”

“Let me guess, it will take forty days.”

“Si, quaranta giorni.”

Scratch that idea then.

She continued entering things in the computer and a few minutes later she said,

“I’m sorry, but the length of your counter top is a special order…”

“Don’t tell me, it will till take 40 days.”

“Si, quaranta giorni.”

And there was that cold light of dawn again.

I’d have to wait forty days and forty nights. Either live without a kitchen in the new apartment or stay in the old apartment another month.

Tired, hungry and completely defeated we went marching two by two out of the land of oz and back to Napoli town.

I still had one last hope however, Scavolini…

If you are just tuning in, you can read the rest of the saga at Moving from Posillipo to Chiaia.