Friday, May 29, 2015

The Only One For Me

I have been referred to as "persistent with clear notions."  I must admit that is probably a fair assessment. Here is an example of  why someone might draw that conclusion.

On the day we started the kitchen project I published a post about what I was looking for in a faucet.  At that time I had not found anything that really spoke to me. About one month later I saw this and knew it was the one for me.
There was one caveat.  Below the words: Ships in seven days were the words, BACK ORDERED.  I decided I better speak to someone about the length of the delay.  Turns out that would depend on who I talked to.  The first person said it meant seven days because normal shipping would be immediate.  I called again and found someone willing to call the manufacturer.  I later received an email telling me it would be 90 days.  I pondered that for awhile but when I could not find one I liked as well, I decided to endure the wait. However, when I tried to place my order, that faucet was only available in oil rubbed bronze, polished brass, and chrome.  Of course I wanted the satin nickel that was now DISCONTINUED!!!  This prompted  a frenzy of searching every company on line that carried faucets and checking every local retailer in the hopes they might have one in stock.  Turns out the big box stores don't stock wall mount faucets. In desperation I emailed the manufacturer directly.  I received an email back saying:  Due to production delays, this product would not be available for 90 days.  Phew!  Not discontinued, only delayed.  No sense rushing to order now, so I let some time pass.  And then it occurred to me that I could wait the 90 days only to be told that whatever was causing production delay could not be fixed.

I made one last ditch effort. I sent another email to Erik at Kingston Brass pleading with him to check the shelves to see if just maybe there was ONE faucet hiding somewhere on the premises.  When after a few days I had not heard back, I felt I had to find another faucet I could live with.  I searched so many sites that I was being bombarded with multiple ads for faucets.  I debated the pros and cons...OK the cons, of every other wall mounted faucet I found.  I even considered ordering the faucet I really liked in another finish, but I just could not bring myself to do that. If I couldn't have the twin I wanted, I was not going to take his brother.

I looked at this one but I didn't like the short bar between handles and the adjustable spread that allowed the connections to be anywhere from a 3 1/2 to an 8 inch spread.

Although I didn't  like the cube below the spout on this one nor the shape of the levers, I decided I would have to order something and this might just have to be it.  So after three weeks of trying to get the faucet I wanted, I caved and convinced myself this one would be just fine.  I ordered it and shut down the computer with a sigh of relief that a decision had been made.

Two hours later, I discovered an email from Erik.  You guessed it!  He found ONE KS234BL in the BIN.  He instructed me to order from the dealer, get a PO# and pass that info back to him.  I immediately called to cancel my previous order and order my first love.  Not so fast.  This was the company that had the faucet in all finishes but the one I wanted.  The satin nickel finish was marked "discontinued"  in their system and would not allow them place an order.  Never mind that I repeated my story several times, asked for a supervisor, and made sure they knew I was frustrated.  It was not happening. (Sadly, we now let computers tell us what we can and can't do.)

Fortunately the next on-line company* I tried was perfectly willing to handle the transaction.  I ordered my beautiful wall mounted faucet, and then emailed Erik with PO# and he emailed a response that he had received it and would match it to my order.  Kudos to Kingston Brass for good communication, and a round of applause for going the extra mile to accommodate a customer.

*First company was  Second company was  Turns out this is really one company with two on-line addresses.  Guess the difference is in who answers the phone.  Lesson being:  If you don't get the answer you want the first time, call back.  Maybe someone more accommodating will answer the phone.

I felt confident I could now relax and wait for my faucet to arrive.  One week passed and then the holiday weekend.  On Tues. the counter top company called to remind me I needed to have the faucet on site by Friday when they would be delivering the tops and they would need to drill the faucet holes.  I thought it might be good to check the shipping status with Erik.  I pushed send and a couple minutes later there was an email from Faucet Direct saying they had cancelled my order since that faucet was no longer available.  PANIC mode!  I forwarded the cancellation notice to Erik and put in a call to Ashley at Faucet Direct.  Ashley emailed back that she was working with her supervisor to solve the problem.  The next morning I had an email from Erik saying he would be shipping the faucet that day.  I started to feel some relief but the phrase, "Don't hold your breath," came to mind.  Then I get an email from Faucet Direct saying that the amount of my purchase was being refunded to my credit card.

I also received an email from Hilary, the supervisor at, saying she was sorry they could not fill my order due to the fact that it was discontinued by the manufacturer. At this point I am depending on my contact at Kingston Brass to come through despite all the push-back from the dealer.

Now things really turn into a three ring circus.  Suddenly I am getting emails from Jessica at Kingston Brass and Hilary at each wanting to be forwarded the emails from the other.  I have 29 emails in my inbox and did not count the ones I sent. Somewhere in there someone turned things over to Dylan but as of yet I have not heard from him.  I am still trying to funnel everything through Ashley because she was in on it from the beginning.  She is, however, working from home on this particular day.  Forwarded emails are crisscrossing the country and even I am losing track of who was holding the ball.  It reminds me of looking under a desk where all the black cords are tangled together and it is impossible to see what is connected to what.  The last I heard from Ashley is that she wanted me to reorder the faucet because my order had been cancelled and we needed to start from the beginning.  I did as she asked.  The funny part is I received a tracking number from Kingston Brass early in the morning before all the email madness started.

Then emails stopped as everyone left for the day.  I was still wondering what had really happened over the last 10 hours when I get another email from telling me my order is scheduled to ship on Sept. 4th!!!  OMG   (I just checked the tracking number and it has left Ontario, CA.) Where it is headed...well, that's still a mystery.

Nothing to do but go to bed because my counter tops were scheduled to arrive at 7 a.m.
The truck arrived on time this morning.  This is the one part I now have installed.  The backsplash and window sill were not ready so another date will be set for those to be installed.

The tops for either side of the range had to be taken back to the shop as someone missed the directions to radius the back corner.

The good news is the flush reveal between sink and counter top turned out great.  Because of the shadow it is not apparent in this photo, but it does look good.

I am ending this post here because it is just plumb crazy trying to write about all that is "not" happening right now.  Please excuse the switching of tenses as I was writing this post over several days and I'm not sure if I'm comin' or goin' much less what was, is, or will be happenin.'

Friday, May 15, 2015

From Point A to Point B

I have been stalling a little hoping one thing or another would come together for a post.  That has not exactly happened as of yet.  Not for lack of trying, mind you!  So, let's talk about that.  On high priority right now is the island.  Since I talked about it in this previous post, I have hopped all over the place with possibilities.

 Dan suggested using one of the large tool boxes.  I liked the smooth gliding drawers and the ability to separate all those kitchen utensils in such an organized fashion.  I scoped them out on line and everywhere else that carries them from Harbor Freight to Mennard's.

This was actually my favorite.  One problem is that I wanted to add a counter top and they were already a little taller than I would have liked.  Removing the casters was an option, but that took away some of the charm.  OK, maybe charm is a bit of a reach for this item.  How about quirkiness?

FYI:  The color selection is a little unusual for a kitchen.  There is this one and they also come in cobalt blue.  Then there is bright red and caution yellow.  After some serious deliberation, I nixed this idea.

I also considered using a piece of furniture as an island.  The drawers on this one would not have held up to daily use and there was no easy way to fix that.

I considered using this piece just for the drawers and taking the legs off to put a shelf below.  But my brother convinced me there was an easier way to get what I wanted.

I also thought about just using the bottom of this piece,

I would have gained some great storage.

It was a super good price at the Miriam Trading Post but it measured 72 inches long and 68" is really my max for this kitchen.

I finally came around to just finding some parts and having my brother assemble them to make an island.  I decided I would go for the industrial look so I searched the salvage yards and even some businesses I thought might have something I could use.

 I thought I might find some metal with great patina and I did.  It just wasn't easy to modify for my purposes.
Something like this would be cool somewhere bigger than my space.

I also considered making the island with pipes and fittings.  

I checked that idea out by searching google images and Pinterest.

This was one of the cuter ones, but I continued to explore my options.

I checked out Shapiro for inspiration.

Filed these for future reference.

One day I came across these radiator panels at Quintessential Antiques.  They were connected and are fairly heavy.  I was pretty sure Dan would figure a way to pull them apart so I bought them.  This was part #1 of the island.

While they were still in my van, Ron pried them apart.

You can get a better look at the design here.  These will be the end panels for the island.

Because I wanted these pieces up off the floor, I needed some feet on the corners.  Dan, Ron and I brainstormed and come up with some very interesting ideas but in the end this is what won out.

Iron castors from Junque down at the Lemp Brewery.  They really are perfect.  I'm delighted with parts 1 & 2.

  All along I had planned for a solid surface counter top for the island that looked a bit like concrete.  Actually that is the name given to it by Caesarstone.  The one on the right is named  Sleek Concrete. 

But after pricing the other counter tops, I decided maybe a laminate top might be fine for the island.

 Then, quite unexpectedly, I came upon pallets and pallets of soapstone at ReFab.   This is a not-for-profit recycle yard.  All the soapstone was scrap and most of the pieces were end cuts.  It took four visits for me to find a piece big enough for my island that did not have a sink cutout or faucet holes drilled through it.  Actually it was a bit of a miracle they even had a piece that big, and a bigger miracle that I was able to find it.  There were several layers piled on top of it.  Rose, a gal that works there, graciously moved the heavy pieces piled on top of the one I wanted.  I moved the small scraps and for a few it took both of us.  We had measured length and width from the sides of the pile and now we were holding our breath in hopes that there would be no cut outs or huge scratches on it.

 If we had had any energy left we both would have jumped for joy.  This slab was in near perfect condition.  Two of the corners are messed up but it is a couple inches wider than I need it to be, so those can be cut away.  (the cutting part we haven't quite figured out yet.  From what I understand it ain't gonna be easy.)  If you are still counting, this makes part #3.

The next part had to be something I could use for a shelf near the floor.  I was thinking metal but then as I started to gather the parts, I decided maybe wood would be nice.  I drove up and down the alleys looking for scrap piles in the people's backyards.  I thought if I saw something I would just knock on the door and see if they wanted to part with it.  (I have done this before so I have experience.  They look at you like you are a little crazy but they give their permission.)  I also went through my older brother's stash and bugged my neighbors and friends.

Yesterday I came home to find this piece propped up on my deck.  It's about 6" short but I can figure out a way to make it work.  My neighbor, Rich, alley shops too so he's a good source.  Part 4 is now in the lineup.

My idea is to use this bed frame along the sides of the shelf so the wood drops down onto one section of the frame and the other section covers the side of the shelf.  I bought these at a yard sale a few years ago and then put them on my sale when I decided not to use them after all.  Obviously, they did not sell which worked out well for me. Now they will be part #5.

I am planning to have three drawers directly under the counter top and Dan is going to construct those.  Obviously we have to consider how this is all going to be held together but that's enough for this post.  Can you picture it yet?  Getting from point A to point B is never a straight line in this kind of work.

Monday, May 11, 2015

It's raining, It's pouring.

The past several days we have gotten some pretty heavy downpours.  Those spring rains are necessary and generally welcomed, but the peonies, oh, how they suffer.

Those tightly packed buds on the end of some very long stems just can't remain upright.  And the blossoms that have unfurled soak up so much water, they too bend and droop until the thin stems crease at the bend.

These pictures were taken before the rain hit.  This dark pink bush always flowers first so the lighter pink one was still in the bud stage when the rain hit.

It's nice to have the "before" shots.  I didn't take pictures during the rain, but I did go out during the rain and rescue some of these beauties.

 I prefer to enjoy my flowers uncut, but when that doesn't pan out, I will take them inside.


And on a rainy day they do add cheer to the indoors.

 I have one gladiola in this color.

It hit the ground during the second round of heavy rain so it too came inside.

I tried getting some pictures of the gorgeous coloring and when the sun popped out,

I took it outside for better lighting.

It seems the rain has now moved on and the additional stakes I added have saved some of the spindly stems.

So these buds still have a chance to burst forth in the sunshine.