Wednesday, January 10, 2018

COUNTERTOPS!!!


*Royal Proclamation Trumpet Playing*

We have countertops!

And that also means we have a new sink and a new faucet!

Clearly, we do not have a backsplash yet. ;)
(So this does not count as a grand reveal. Please accept my crappyiphonephotos.)

So to remind you, we got our quartz countertops from Menards. (Who by the way, speaking locally, have by far the best prices on quartz.) 
This color is called Bianco Perle.
I’m really happy with it.
In my soul I’m a marble girl. But in my mind... I know I’d mourn a thousand little deaths with each and every etch it would DEFINITELY get. (If I ever were lucky enough to buy a house that already had marble countertops installed, and they had some love (etching/stains/chips) on them, then I could handle it -- it would feel like romantic hisorty. But if I were the one to make the first cuts, I just wouldn’t feel good feelings. )
Anyway, so this quartz is a good look for me. It’s not a perfect marble look a like, but it’s marblesque. And it’s very pretty in it’s own right. And quartz is supposed to be one of the most durable counters around. (But I’m so nervous around it still, I’m babying it like crazy.)
(I’m also getting used to the sound of setting stuff down on stone, I’ve only ever lived with laminate, it’s a very new sound. I keep having a slight panic that I broke something.)



We have a seam at the “L.” Which I was fully expecting. 


However we were offered a seamless option (which surprised me!)
But it was nearly double the price, as what it meant was we’d be buying essentially a double slab to cut our shape out of. I had already figured on a seam so we didn’t think it was worth it.
(And in hindsight, I’m glad we have a seam -- seamless would have made getting the thing into the house even harder.)

So this is the seam, it’s different than our old counters which had two triangular cuts going back into the corner.
I don’t think it’s bad, and as you can see from the two photos above, it’s not something that really gets your attention.


In case you are wondering about Menard’s countertops….(If not, skip to further down)
They do not offer installation. You can either DIY, or hunt down your own contractor.
Initially Blake was 100% ok with DIY. Then people we know started talking us into having it done because they are so dang heavy. So for a day Blake looked into contractors. And honestly, no one wanted to do it. They essentially wanted to have been the ones to have ordered the counters.
Well, back to, “We are ok with DIY.” (Which, realistically is just how we roll any way. It saves so much money.)

So Blake had to figure out how to get them into our house. They have to be carried and stored in the right orientation otherwise they can crack, so it made most sense to get them inside on the frame they were delivered on. So Blake installed huge caster wheels onto the frame and him and a friend were able to wheel it into our house.

After they acclimated the proper 24 hours, Blake had torn out our old counters and sink, and two friends came and helped lift it into place. I was not a part of this process, but they all seemed pretty surprised by how quickly it got done, and no one seemed overly strained. They were only at our house for about an hour total. (Which included a bit of careful planning time, and a bit of hi and bye conversation.) So it seemed pretty straightforward of a job from my end of things.

The sink part though….I helped with that, later that night. That part was not the world’s funnest job. Technically, for an undermount sink, you should install the sink onto the counters (while they are upside down) before placing the counters on the right way. Blake did his research and found a couple other ways to do it, which are legit. And so we opted to do it after counter install, so as to not stress our friendly helpers by making things complicated while they were here.
I cannot tell you exactly what we did, I just know I did a lot of holding from above through the drain hole, and scooting the sink into the middle while Blake hoisted it up from below and tried to mount stuff around it. So I was also handing him tools and wood and stuff. It wasn’t easy, it was physically and emotionally draining (for both of us), but we did it!

Blake also had to change the plumbing under the sink, which he did a day or so later. We again, almost hired it out because we figured we saved so much doing the rest ourselves -- but per our usual, when we got the quote, we re-thought that very fast. Nothing comes cheap! But Blake got it done and now are are doing dishes again!

I didn’t take great photos of the sink today because, dishes. But it’s a stainless, Anzzi brand (read wonderful reviews on them), huge, awesome sink.  It’s 32' long, 19” wide, and 10” deep. And I love it. It can hold an enormous amount of dishes and ANYTHING I own in the kitchen can fit in it -- my biggest bowls, or casserole dishes look small in there.

I debated the single bowl a bit. I wasn’t sure which (double or single) was more practical. But I ultimately decided that the way I do dishes, ever since working in restaurants and the coffee industry,  has never been the "soapy side and rinsing side” way. It’s just been to put soap on a sponge (repeatedly), and rinse in the same side. So I knew I wouldn’t miss it. Plus most things go right in our dish washer. So I really just saw size and convenience. And, in my two days with this sink so far, I am THRILLED. (It actually does remind me of the service industry kitchens and something about that stirs up some extra motivation in me.)



Now the faucet…
this faucet
(Kohler Artifacts)
 is an absolute delight.

Not only to my sense of sight (which, boy oh boy do I enjoy looking at this baby. It is gorgeous!)
But also to my sense of touch.
And in it’s ability to do it’s job.

So there’s the normal stream. It’s coming out very fast (no matter how it looks in the photo) with strong pressure.

Then if you flip the switch….
this beautiful gentle rain show. Perfect for rinsing produce.
But I also like this one for washing my hands.

Then when you need to get a dish clean, or when you need to spray out the bottom of the sink...
hold down the button for a powerful sweeper spray.

The head of course is a pull down sprayer.
It’s really just amazing. I am soooooo happy with it.
(It’s glory, is all the better after living with our $17 no frills, faucet, that barely could reach into a pot, for the past month and a half!)



So here are a couple different pictures of the kitchen for you to see it together.
We still have a bunch of details (and backsplash) to handle, but it’s coming together really nicely.



Some of you may notice our fridge is different.
So back around Thanksgiving we went ahead and ordered a different one.
I had a hard time with guilt on this one. Wishing I had gotten it right the first time, or bought used until I knew better. But we did use the old fridge for 4 years and then sold it and got some of it back, so it wasn’t the world’s worst shopping blunder. But it hurt the pride. Felt like a pricey failure.

(I do plan to clean off the top and we will do something nice there, FIY)

I knew NOTHING about appliances when we moved here. And the fridge the house came with smelled VERY bad, and no amount of cleaning would fix it, so we decided we’d update it.
I didn’t think I needed anything super fancy, so I got a simple stainless one. And just noted that it would technically fit in the space.

But there was a huge gap on the side,
And the worst thing was, it stuck out into the doorway.
In this kitchen layout, it just was awkward.


So when doing the counters, we decided to switch to a counter depth.
It was the right time to do it, because we need to make sure we had our countertops the right size. (If the fridge hadn’t filled the whole nook, we would have expanded the countertops to make it feel right and added something to the cabinets.) It all just needed to be figured out at the same time so there wouldn’t be any other future pricey failures.

SO MUCH BETTER.
It’s not many inches different, but the difference feels so good since it’s a doorway.
It’s exactly the same amount of interior space as our old one, but it’s laid out so much better. I feel like I have at least double the room. I think the freezer is a tiny bit smaller than my old one, but we have a deep freeze in the garage so I’m not worried. And the fridge shelves and drawers are a dream compared to our old layout. And Blake and I both enjoy it’s more-shallow-ness, because you really don’t lose things in the back now.
And this one makes ice and has a water dispenser inside. We feel pretty fancy. (The kids are filling their cups to the brim with ice all day now that we don’t have to ration it.)


Something to note, if you are shopping for counter depth fridges yourself, their sizes vary tremendously. Some of them were every bit as deep as my old fridge (But still labeled counter depth). So make sure you are measuring your space and the fridge’s listed dimensions. This Whirlpool was the shallowest I could find and it was a perfect size for our nook. Total winner.

The only thing that’s a little less good is the kids can’t reach stuff as well as before. But that’s not always a terrible thing either. And of course they will only get taller. But they can get their own ice!


So here’s our new hood, if I haven’t shown you yet?
And you can see our smaller subway tile we plan to use.






(Looking below) We plan to tile the wall with the shelf, as well.
I’ll take that shelf down and replace it with two (maybe three) floating white shelves (I think) to get a tiny bit of open shelving and extra storage.
They won’t be very deep, but they will be able to hold some bowls or cups or things like that.

And there will be some crown moulding and kick plates and details. We hope to add a couple outlets. I need to re-bleach (and then seal) our floor grout. Etc. Etc.

But so far, so good.
I really can’t believe this is my kitchen, it’s so nice. I can’t wait to see it all done!

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