No sprayer with my faucet

Most of you about to read this description of my remodeling adventure have heard the adage about the shoemaker’s children needing new shoes. For the past 10 years, I’ve been hearing that same comparison made regarding my own kitchen. Because I design kitchens and other personal spaces for a living, it should be a snap for me, right? Let me tell you, it is not an ordeal I want to repeat anytime soon!

People in our industry go to all these great trade shows, see all the fabulous displays with exciting new products, and we get all jazzed up thinking about projects we are working on. Naturally, the thought pops into our heads, “Wouldn’t this be cool in my own house?” Of course we want our “dream projects” to reflect our connection to this industry.

The Journey Begins

“What would it take?” is what I hear in the recurring remodeling discussion in my own home. I respond, ‘% budget.” In my head I calculate $30,000. After the paramedics leave, I hear, “How about something on a smaller scale, NOT thedavidhawkinsway!”

Like a little kid kicking sand around the playground, I am resisting (in my mind). After jousting back and forth, the scope of work is determined as follows: new doors and drawers; new sink and faucet; new countertops with an expansion of the top into the dinette area; and new hood for the stove.
Now, after a much scaled-back wound on my home equity loan, my first rule was to order everything possible before creating a bombsite in my own home! Everything got ordered, with the longest lead item being the range hood–six weeks out. With an E.T.A. for the items now established, a meeting with the cabinetmaker was next.

Enter “Woody” who has done my cabinetwork for 30 years. This should be a walk in the park, right? Well, not so much. Let’s just say, Woody didn’t always return phone calls in a timely manner. Our goal was to give the existing cabinets a facelift with new doors and drawers, then we would finish them to match the custom buffet that Woody made a year earlier.

From Demolition To Installation

After taking everything out of the cabinets and drawers, we set up a temporary pantry in our dining room with minimal supplies to be able to use the kitchen during remodeling. Needless to say, our dining room looked like a triage scene from “MASH.”



Time to install the new goodies for our semi-dream kitchen! First, the sink –a cast-iron farmhouse-style sink -WOW! With this great new faucet with an oiled bronze finish, it looks like it came right out of an old farm somewhere in central Europe. After much effort altering the sink base to accommodate our new “old” sink and faucet I hear, “Where’s the sprayer? I told you I MUST have a sprayer!”

The bottom line: It was pointed out to me that I didn’t listen to “my client” very well or I would have known how important a sprayer was to this remodel. This may not seem like much of a dilemma, except for the fact that this faucet did not come with a sprayer and our plans called for stone countertops. If we wanted a sprayer we would have had to find one before the countertops were fabricated. Now what? To make a long story short, I managed, after much research, to find a sprayer from a different manufacturer that matched perfectly However, hooking it up was a whole story in itself!

Stone countertops

Every dream kitchen has stone countertops. All the professional chefs want stone countertops in their own homes. But now the question: What do we use? Granite is probably the most practical and widely used in our industry However, for the look we wanted, marble was the way to go. After all, many kitchens in Europe still have the same marble counters in place after a century of use. These much-used counters may be beat up and scratched, but they still look good and thus would fit our goal of an old provincial European kitchen. Yes, marble has its drawbacks–it’s soft, scratches easily, and it is porous and therefore stains easy

After consulting with my stone guy, he reiterated what I already knew, saying, “Don’t use marble, use granite.” My response to him was, “Everybody is using granite; we want to be different.” i asked him about sealing the stone and he indicated yes. He proceeded to tell me what he would use, but cautioned that it has to be sealed periodically. The tops and backsplash were installed. Looks great! We love it!

Let’s Celebrate!

Food, drinks, fun. We decided we would clean up the kitchen the morning after we celebrated it almost being done–only to wake up to find rings on the marble top that won’t go away! It’s kind of like finding a ding on the door of your brand-new car. Oh no! Wait a minute, remember? We wanted that old, worn look! But your eye just goes right to that one spot …

Do the problems ever stop? Somehow, when I face these types of hurdles with a client, they don’t seem so difficult. When we do projects for ourselves, however, these snafus appear MAMMOTH!

This project took about six months start to finish. Many a time throughout I felt like it was a second job. Every time I walked in the door, the unfinished project was right there in my face after a tough day dealing with more of the same. Now, in the aftermath of this project, I realize how much more I have to learn with each and every project.

Though I don’t want to attempt this again, the results are still what I would consider “a dream project.”

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