Renovating Your Kitchen This Summer? Proceed With Caution.

When it comes to home improvements, I am generally methodical and conservative, agonizing over colors, researching materials and lining up contractors months in advance. Normally, I wouldn’t be the kind of person to gut the most critical room in my house in the midst of historic supply and labor shortages. But you have not seen my kitchen.

Last updated sometime around 1980, it has faded blue floral wallpaper, Formica countertops and vinyl tile flooring that, I am sad to say, is held together with packaging tape. Most of the lighting is fluorescent, and not all of it works anymore —