Thursday, November 16, 2006

Is a Vanity in the Hand….

Worth two in the bush, or in this case, several in Murphys, Ca. That is the question I’m grappling with.

It’s a bit convoluted, so please pay attention. There is an antique marble vanity top with sink here in town that I could buy right now. There are 2 issues with it, one minor and one major. The minor issue, or so I’ve been told it’s minor, is some rust stains. They aren’t too bad, but bad enough that I would need to get them off or it would drive me nuts. I’ve been told I can use a poultice of Cream of Tar Tar and Hydrogen Peroxide to leech the stains out of the marble. A good friend told me about this, so I’ll assume it’s true. This is what makes the stains the minor issue.

Still, the stains are a big minor issue, if there is such a thing.

The second issue – the major issue - is the faucet. It doesn’t come with one, but that’s not the issue. This vanity was set up for a mixer faucet as opposed to a separate hot and cold faucet. Normally you would think that was a plus, but in this case it presents a few problems. First, there is a serious lack of Victorian mixer faucets to chose from. In fact, I really only found one. It is at Van Dykes Restorers and the quality is poor. The other problem with this particular faucet is that it does not come in shiny nickel, only in shiny brass and oil rubbed bronze.

You wouldn’t think the issue of the faucet not coming in shiny nickel was a big issue, but it is. I used to say I don’t want to live in a museum when secretly it’s what I’ve desired along. I’ve always liked the unusual and slightly out of style. It is not uncommon in my life for me to take things to their extreme. Or at least close enough to the edge that it’s obvious I went a little too far. In the upstairs bathroom I went with chrome on the faucets and it’s bugged me ever since. The faucets are the only metal things in the room that are not nickel plated and they stick out like a sore thumb. I’m not going to make that mistake again.

I went ahead and bought the faucet from Van Dykes anyway and it came yesterday. The main reason to buy it was to see it in real life, but also to see if it would fit the single hole already drilled in the vanity. It does not. So now I’m faced with needing to drill out the hole. I actually have experience in this so it’s not as daunting as it might have seemed a few months ago. Still, it is one more issue. It is one more thing to worry about, and one more thing that could potentially go wrong.

I bought the faucet in oil rubbed bronze for the primary reason that I know I would never install an oil rubbed bronze faucet in the bathroom. I’m forcing my own hand to either not use it or get it nickel plated. So I started calling around to platers yesterday to see about getting it nickel plated. So far I’ve gotten one bid of $85 and I would have to ship it to them, so really it’s $100. Twice on the phone I had to correct the guy that I wanted nickel plating and not chrome. Visions StoccoHouse type plating problems started going through my head. The more I think about this the less I like it. It’s just more hassle of what will already be a big project.

The other option is to select from one of the marble vanities at DEA Bath. There are a few 2 hole vanities to chose from, and I have a tentative agreement with DEA Bath to take some of my unwanted vintage toilets and sinks in exchange for store credit. In effect, I would be trading toilets for a marble vanity. The issue here is, I have to drive to Murphys, CA, which is about 6 hours, one way. It’s not the end of the world and the drive would do me good.

The other issue is, I would have to pick out the vanity in one day. I usually like to mull these things over, write about it on the blog, change my mind a few times, and then pick something out. This will be a blurry-eyed, over-night, Cannon Ball run to Murphys, CA. ending with me making a crucial decision through a caffeine induced haze. Not ideal conditions.

Then, of course, there is the old “bird in the hand” thing. The vanity that is here in town, is here in town. If I say no to it, and it gets sold, that’s pretty much it. I need to make a decision on the vanity before I start the rough-in on the plumbing. What happens if I get to Murphys, CA and there’s nothing I like. So the question is, do I buy something that I don’t really like just because I can (the vanity here in town), or do I take a chance at what’s behind Door Number 2?

I’ve told the shop here in town that is holding the vanity that I would give them a yes or no within 2 weeks. If someone else is interested in it before 2 weeks is up, they will contact me and I will give them a yes or no immediately.

At this point, I’m leaning towards What’s Behind Door Number 2.


StuccoHouse said...

I'd vote for door #2. Can you have them email some photos of their current stock, so you have some idea of what you will see when you get there? Have you looked at I'd be nervous about replating something with that many moving parts - but I may just be jaded. What is up with those replating guys not listening to what their customers want - um, you wanted brushed chrome, right?!

Greg said...

Man, I looked just about everyplace you could think of. There are a lot of semi-Victorian mixer faucets, but for the most part, they didn't look authentic enough for me. There was another one that came close, and did come in polished nickel, but it was about $500 {cough}

Gary said...

Go for broke, Greg!

Greg said...

Isn't that what we're all doing, albeit in slightly different ways?

Anonymous said...

You can choose the vanity you really don't want because it's convenient and you may be able to get the stains out and you can modify it to fit the faucet you really don't like either. Or you can take a chance to save some money and trade other products for another vanity that you may or may not like better. Or their may be a slight delay in the renovation process until you find a vanity you really like and enjoy living with. Bottom line, if the in-town shop called right now and wanted an immediate answer, what would you say?

Greg said...

Bottom line, if the in-town shop called right now and wanted an immediate answer, what would you say?


John said...

I'm with Stuccohouse, go for Door #2. Also (sorry if you answered this and I missed it), but would they email you some pictures before you drive down? It would at least give you something to think about for 6 hours.

Greg said...

No, I didn't answer that, but yes they will. I called today and they are going to email photos of a few that I asked about.

Anonymous said...

this is also suggested for cleaning stains off marble.

can the murphy's people email digi pix of the vanities there? since it really is a trek for you?

Anonymous said...

The marble top has a single hole centered on the basin? I suggest drilling two new holes, one on either side of the existing and installing a standard wide-spread faucet.

Greg said...

That is a good idea excpet for one problem. On most of these old marble vanities they have additional milling on the top that off-sets the faucet holes a quarter inch higher or so than the rest of the vanity.