Thursday, February 25, 2016

Package the second

Shall we go back to opening my mail? Yes, yes we shall. To go along with my beautiful sink I bought it some bling. My sink that has been taken from me. My sad sad lonely sink sitting in a box somewhere not being loved.

Did you guess that it was a faucet? I'm actually really unsure about this little beauty. I love it's curves and the way she feels in my hand. I love all the things I've heard about her. But just dry fitting it into a sink on my floor hopefully doesn't do it justice.

It has a pull down sprayer with a button on the back of the spray head that switches it from the normal output to a more spread out spray. I've wanted a faucet like this for awhile but can't say that I know anyone that has one that I could really test out so this is one of those things that SEEMS like a good idea but could really go either way. When I set it up like this I didn't tighten the faucet to the sink fully, mostly because I put the collar piece on backwards and was not about to go to the effort to switch it around, so it was a little wobbly and I was struggling to get a picture taken with it upright. I was also having problems getting the sprayer head to stay up where it belonged. I'm really hoping this has something to do with it not being fully installed and not having water in the lines. I'm really hoping. 

I wanted to buy a faucet with a magnetic docking system but they are a little more expensive and didn't fit the budget we were trying to stick to. If this sprayer head doesn't stay docked and becomes a nuisance, like many reviewers on other faucets complain, then I'll definitely push to spend a little more the next time. But I spent so much time comparing prices and trying to figure out from awful photos online which one was truly the prettiest that I really hope this gal works out for us. Honestly, for some reason, when you are looking at faucets for the kitchen and bathroom there is a big difference in style between the less expensive options and the options that come when you drop some more money.

I don't find that to be the case with most things in the world. Yes, I drool over expensive light fixtures and clothing and appliances but I also find that there are plenty of beautiful items in lower price ranges too. Maybe I was just being overly picky in my search for sink fixtures but it seemed like every faucet had something wrong with it. I didn't like the handle on one and the curve of the neck on another and so many things just seemed a little off. This faucet that I ended up with flares out at the head just a little less elegantly than I'd like but really, in the grand scheme of my kitchen, I don't think that's going to end up being a deal breaker.

I'm so excited and anxious to get my new counters installed! I feel like something terrible is going to happen and we'll have spent all this money and end up hating it. I'm not sure why I feel that way. Does everyone feel like that during a big renovation? I've never had this anxious feeling before but every other project has been something I've done myself or something my dad has been mostly in charge of so I know that there's always the option to change things in the middle of the project. I've always had a measure of control over every aspect of a project. Even when I'm building something and I'm not entirely sure that it's going to turn out perfectly, I don't get this feeling because I figure I only have myself to blame for the mistakes I see in the end. Bleh, I just want it all done already so I can stop feeling so anxious and so I can have a pretty new kitchen.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Counters are a-coming

Today was counter templating day. We've done a lot of renovations to our various homes and I've been privy to my parents building their last two homes so I've seen plenty of trades go in and out but this is a process I've never been a part of. We ordered our counter tops through Lowes and the first part of the process was to choose the stone, choose the edge style, and pay for the labor and materials based on the estimated square footage that I gave them. We choose a granite counter top after several trips to the store, some internet research, and being absolutely certain we were going to purchase quartz. This is becoming a theme in this kitchen. I hope this all turns out for the best and we never feel like we're settling for less than what we wanted! We had granite in our last house and loved it. The only reason we had decided against it was reading about how it should be sealed every year. We hadn't had problems with our old counter but I wanted something maintenance free. While we were discussing this choice with the sales woman, she told us that their granite has a 20 year warranty on the sealer. It took us approximately 12 seconds of looking at the prices difference and the sample stones and we were sold on granite once again.

We were super pumped to learn that the granite we liked, that she pulled out of a drawer like it was a super special secret option, was from a local counter place in the nearest city. Which means we get to go there and look at all the slabs and choose the actual one they will cut our counters from. Just like on HGTV! Have you ever gone to a stone warehouse? Did you just fall in love with every piece you saw?

This templating process was the second step in getting our counters. A guy from the counter company came out with special tools to take precise measurements, make a diagram, and take my preeeecious sink away with him. See, their company has templates for sinks from most of the larger companies and while they have them for Swan products, my sink is maybe from a new line they haven't seen yet. He said that normally they just say they can't cut out the sink in these cases (WHAT?! What do people do in that instance? I mean, I guess buy a new sink?) but that because they normally do Swan products, he was given permission to bring the whole kit and caboodle back with him. I tried just offering him the paper template they had sent but he took my new beautiful baby. He says they'll bring it back when they install the counters.

The whole thing took almost two hours and after he had left I realized that I had completely forgotten to ask him to include a new window sill. Ack! My brain raced as I tried to think what the best solution was. Maybe I should call him. Maybe when we go to choose the slab we could just give them the measurements. Thank goodness I had the sense to look out at my driveway to see him sitting in his car still. Whoop! I took a minute to screw up my little courage and ran out in the rain to beg him to come back in. He told me that he usually asks about sills so at least I'm not the only one who forgot. Thankfully he didn't have to adjust his template at all. He just wrote down the measurements and said it wouldn't be a problem. Whew!

Now we wait for them to figure out the actual size based on their measurements and then they'll reconcile that with the amount we paid and we either pay more or get a refund. I'm willing to bet that people almost never get a refund but I would love for that to be the case! We'll be digging in the couch cushions to find any additional sheckles to cover this project. But I'm so excited to have new counters. We chose a stone called Moon White. It's mostly gray with some white and some red spotted through it. Of course the stone sample was a 4x4in square so I'm terrified we'll see it in full and decide we hate it. I'll take pictures when we go to the stone yard.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Mail day

It's been awhile. How've you been? How are things? And your family?

We have a lot of exciting changes going on around our house and it finally feels like I can be excited instead of overwhelmed by this house. We closed on our current house, Hilltop Manor, almost exactly one year ago and it has been wonderful and stressful and exhausting and fun. I'm hoping to catch you up on what I've done so far and where we still need to update things but today I thought I'd share my mail with you! I got some super fun packages and I can't wait to see everything come together.

Of course I had to open the largest box first and inside was my preeeecious. It's basically exactly what I said I didn't want and I lurve it so much! I wanted something colored, maybe even black as a strong accent against the rest of our light colored kitchen. I was looking at composite granite. Our current sink is white porcelin or enamel and I hate it with a passion. It stains easily and gets scratched by silverware. We had decided on a black tectonite sink from Lowes that was around $150 because the composite granite sink was closer to $250 and we are stingy and they looked exactly the same. However, when the time came to actually purchase our items, the sink we had decided upon had been discontinued and there were no options outside of stainless available in the same price range. Our goal had been to buy everything we could through Lowes at the same time to take advantage of special financing but we couldn't pull the trigger on a sink we hadn't researched that was twice as much as we had been expecting to spend.

All of that turned out to be a blessing because I went home and researched my little heart out and stumbled upon this lovely sink at Jet. It's a Swanstone sink, which is something that sounded vaguely familiar but wasn't something I could place in my jumbled brain. I read their website. I read reviews. I googled. And I learned that this was what I had been looking for. Something that is heat resistant so I can put hot pans directly into the sink and keep them out of reach of little hands when I'm no longer in the kitchen. Something that is drop/impact resistant so that my little helpers aren't as likely to damage it throwing dishes into the sink. Something that doesn't stain or scratch. According to their website and can clean it with bleach and I can scrub it with anything short of a metal scrub pad and it's even resistant to acetone. We'll see how long it takes for my carelessness to damage this sink. I'm not gonna lie, I am not awesome at taking care of my things. I like to set hot pans down without putting down a trivet. I put everything in the dishwasher. That's just how I roll and I know I'm not going to change any time soon so we're planning our new kitchen to withstand my horrid treatment.

I've been told by my 7 year old that this is a long blog. I guess that means you get to see what was in my other packages another time. Until then here's a picture that little B demanded I take when she saw that I had my big camera out.