Thursday, July 07, 2005

Problem Solved!!!

At last count there were three parts of the kitchen that have not been acquired. There is the window treatment, the kitchen faucet, and the counter tops. The window treatment has been decided on with the help of some of my trusty Blogger friends. I say “decided on”, but actually there could be a last second switch to the bamboo. Regardless, all that’s left to do is log-on and order.

The faucet was decided on months ago. I found an antique looking deck mount faucet on Ebay that I liked. This is new equipment. The supplier turned out to be a little flaky or didn’t like it when you asked too many questions, I’m not sure which. Either way, he stopped returning my emails and I became disillusioned. I happened to see the same faucet on a commercial for a plumbing supply house in the next town, so it’s just a matter of driving over there and getting it. I don’t drive a lot these days, and I don’t seem to leave my own town that much, so this is a bigger chore than it sounds. Again, though, it is pretty much a done-deal.

The last thing is the counter tops. This is a big deal. Anyone who’s been following my kitchen saga to this point knows that I like to think outside the Big Box. I don’t know where I got this streak in me, but if it’s been done-to-death I don’t want it. If it’s used or salvage I’m all over it. We’ll call it one of my charming and endearing qualities. The trouble is, this time I’m stumped. There is no question I would put in marble or soapstone if I could afford it. To be honest, you can always find a way to afford it if you really want it, but in this case it seems like an absurd extravagance. My dream would be to find a large slab of salvage marble. That off white stuff with the gray and black veins in it. Ooooh baby, that would just be too perfect.

Ok, so marble and soapstone are out. That leaves wood, granite, tile, Formica, and some of those new composite materials. Of those, wood, granite, and tile are the ones for me to chose from because I am going for a traditional 1895 Look & Feel to the kitchen. I put tile in my last kitchen, and while I loved the look the grout lines drove me nuts. Granite is nice, but I would have to do granite tiles and I’m just not sure about the seams. Plus, since I’m doing an under mount sink it would need to be a professional job, and I’ve sworn off contractors.

So that leaves wood. Very much a traditional counter top material for the 19th century. I do happen to have about 70 sq ft of old growth fir (flooring). It is only ¾-inch and I’m just not sure how it would look to have the counters and floor done in the same material. It seems odd, but fir was often used for counters. Mahogany is another option. I saw on the most recent series of This Old House they put in hand planed mahogany counters in the kitchen. They finished them with a mixture of boiled linseed oil and an oil based poly. They looked very cool. This remains an real option.

Another choice I’m considering is redwood. I know what you’re thinking. Redwood is a soft wood and would look like hell in no time at all. You’re also saying this a kitchen counter not a back yard deck or a fence. However, last fall I dismantled an old addition to my house that was made of old growth redwood. There were these 2X8 joists on part of the first floor that are as hard as a rock. After I removed the addition I had to make a small porch to satisfy the local beaurocrats (sp?) at the building department. I used a few of these joists and I HAD to pre-drill or I couldn’t get a nail through it. Even before you finish the wood it has a deep maroon color to it. I could plane this tuff down to 1.25-inches and have a mill put a T&G on it. Then glue it up and - BAM – there’s my counter top. Still just a thought. I’m not sure if I have enough clear stuff for a complete set of counters. Knots would out of the question.

But as the blog title implies the Problem Has Been Solved. So here’s the solution. First, I get all the cabinets made and assembled. I then get them installed and screwed in nice and tight. That night, after all the work is done, I go to bed and while I’m asleep fairies will come and install the perfect counter tops. When I wake up in the morning everything will be done and all the mess will be cleaned up. It’s the perfect solution. I’m so excited. I can’t wait to see what the fairies install. Come-on marble. Come-on marble.


Trissa said...

I don't know if you've seen Squak Mountain Stone countertops or not- they're made from recycled products and was the result of a woman's master's project that she kept working on. I saw it yesterday at the environmental home center. I don't know if it's too far off of soapstone, but it looked great and had a nice feel to it. Send those fairies over to our place when they're done- I would love to walk downstairs in the morning and see the flooring all done and the kitchen appliances reinstalled!

Trissa said...

Oops- I forgot the link.

heather said...

Ooooh, I want faeries too! Do they only do counters? If so, that's okay, I need new counters (mahogany is my first pick) in the kitchen and in the bar in the basement. But if they do concrete repair they can come to the basement floor as well. He he he

Beth said...

I'm sorry -- the fairies will be busy at our house. But I'd be happy to check their schedules and get back to you....

Greg said...

Oh, the fairies are great. Not only do they do counter-tops, but they will be doing the heating system and the chimneys!

Trissa: Those counters are neat.

derek said...

The Faeries would probably make the counter out of flower petals... I have a book Bungalow Kitchens that shows lots of wooden counters, even wooden sinks. You need one of those 24" wide pieces of lumber, like they used to use. I think Fir and Redwood are a little soft (even old growth) compared to Mahogany. Honduran Mahogany is pricey stuff though.

Jocelyn said...

I believe in fairies too.

I can relate to this. I wanted sopastone really bad- but too much $$. In the end (as you know) we did Formica. We are also going to have a Birds Eye maple table with either a butcher block or marble top (Steve is making).

One thing I've read lately in kitchen design is to have varied surfaces in a kitchen to avoid it getting dull. I think you will have that with your painted cabinets and other elements.

I love marble too- ever so much. I drool over those kitchens with marble. We did our formica telling ourselves in 5 years or so, we could upgrade to soapstone.

For now Formica is fine- but I found it alot of work to make from scratch.

I'll cross my fingers for you with the fairies and all. Hopefully they have good taste too.

Becky said...

We have soapstone. We got it from the local college's science department (they were remodeling) for $50. We did all of the cutting and sanding ourselves. It's such a soft stone you can shape it with just ordinary-everyday household tools. I think if we hadn't been able to get the soapstone for such a great price I would have considered concreate. It's pretty unconventional, but I love what I've seen of it in magizines with all of the different techniques they now have, and it's something we could have done ourselves.

mmmmmmmm fairies

Nick said...

Have you considered concrete counters? I poured a couple for the wine cellar, and am planning on them for the kitchen (unless Trissa insists on her Squak Mountain Stone....).

Making them was fun and satisfying - and relatively cheap. There's a good Tauntaun Press book on the subject too...