It never does explain how to get what most kitchens need above all: a hired hand to clean them up. But this excellent "catalog" does take up most of the other things you need to know.

First, the book shows you 15 kitchens in full-color, designed to make you so dissatisfied with your own that you'll need the rest of the book. Then it gives you the basics on designing a kitchen - including that essential no one ever thinks about - how to check if your wall are square.

From there it gives an easy-to-understand diagram-and-word description of all the craft skills necessary for redoing your kitchen (except how to make the money to pay for it). One especially interesting section tells how to resurface old cabinets or how to replace their doors and drawer fronts.

The last two sections make up a useful buyers' guide to materials, major appliances and a directory of manufacturers. These sections compare different materials, such as ceramic tile, artificial marble and plastic laminates for countertops, besides offering handy charts for quick comparisions.

Now let me see, if we quit eating for four years we could save enough to begin . . . (Fireside/Simon & Schuster, $7.95)