Friday, October 19, 2012

and now for the sink

But before we begin, I have to note that Airing the Chapel's comment on my last post made me laugh out loud.  For whatever reason, in a blog atmosphere in which TMI is the order of the day, it did not occur to me to clarify what kind of stool I was talking about...ouch.

So anyway.  I have taken your comments on the stoolS to heart and I may have come to a conclusion there (yet to be executed, so I'll fill you in when it's definite).  I am looking forward to posting pictures of my table, but it's not QUITE finished yet.  (Yes, I am under the impression that this has become a DIY blog.  What?)  Meanwhile, I am occupying myself planning for a project a little further down on the list - the kitchen sink.

I have been energetically searching for a vintage sink with a drainboard.  (Specifically, I need just one drainboard, on the left side, and it's taking a while to track down just the right thing.)  I was hoping to end up with a look like this:

Or maybe this:

Ooh, also good:

(all, houzz)

And I kind of love this (yes, I know, it's a laundry sink.  So?):

(houzz again)

And I hoped you noticed that s-t-u-n-n-i-n-g vintage Chambers range in the background there.

So ideally, I am looking for a sink 25" deep.  For those who have not remodeled a kitchen themselves, that's because standard base-cabinet depth is 24", and countertops typically overhang the lower cabinets by about an inch.  Therefore, if I get a 25" deep sink (deep in the back-to-front sense, not the how-deep-is-the-basin sense), it would neatly meet the countertops on either side, as in the pictures above.  This is important, because I'm not hiring a company to make my countertops.  I'm cutting the butcher block countertop myself (which I've already bought), and I just heard from a company that will cut a wee scrap of soapstone to size for me for the countertop on the other side - straight cuts only.

People who are buying their countertops from a pro can be more flexible in their sink choices.  If they get a sink less than 25" deep, the pros can do this:

(obviously...houzz.  Suck it, pinterest!  There, I said it)

I'm pretty sure that kind of cut requires a laser.  To my great sadness, I do not have a laser.  Somehow, I manage.  Anyway, this week, I ran across the very first sink that appears to fulfill my major criteria:

But it's only 20" deep.  While I have told myself that I could make 24" work, maybe even 23", 20" is DRAMATICALLY smaller than the neighboring countertops, and I just can't leave that big a gap.  I pondered and schemed.  There's also the tricky bit about installing a wall-mount faucet...since the sink will be against an exterior wall.  What if I built out the wall behind the sink about 5"?  That would contain room for the plumbing, and move the sink flush with the counters.  Hmm...

Ultimately, I decided that plan had more bad points than good ones. The sink will sit right under a window, so building out the window sill to extra-deep and making it a shelf would be no problem.  But building the plumbing into the recess and then doing the tiling sounded like a real nightmare.  Plus, a bump-out would leave a very funny corner in the wall next to the sink.  I was afraid it would look like a kludge.  The last thing I want is a prospective buyer to walk through someday and utter the word "remuddled."

Then I toyed with the notion of cutting out the countertop myself.  Obviously, I cannot cut stone.  The adjacent counters will be butcher block (on one side) and soapstone (on the other).  Butcher block would be easiest to cut.  Like so:

(you guessed it - more houzz)

But I don't want wood right next to the sink basin.  I can't put marine varnish on just the part of the wood near the sink and not varnish the rest (it would be two different colors).  And I want the butcher block for cutting on; you can't cut on it if it's been varnished.  So that was out.  Soapstone is waterproof, but it would be much harder to cut (it actually can be cut with woodworking tools, but it's much denser than wood), and a piece that big would be a lot more expensive (soapstone isn't cheap).

At a loss, I ran through my houzz file looking for more vintage sink pictures.  How had other people installed them?  What could I do?  And I found this butlery picture:

That is the spitting image of the sink I found for sale, right?  Most importantly, it shares that super-deep front face.  And that is just the perfect way to work with that shape of sink!  Suddenly I wanted another piece of marble.  Of course, I don't have the tools to get a hole in it for the plumbing.  I actually contemplated the likelihood that I could find a piece of marble at a salvage yard that just happened to be 25" x 45" with a big hole in the right side. I probably could, if I waited the rest of my life.  But even by my shopping standards, that's a long time.

As it happened, I had been searching for marble thresholds to replace the one in my bathroom (which was custom-made and expensive - and, in my opinion, was custom-made to the wrong dimensions).  And suddenly a lightbulb went off.  Finding a marble slab in just the right dimensions would be difficult.  Finding one in the right dimensions with a hole in the right place would be darn near impossible.  And even if I could find it, it might well be expensive.  But assembling pre-cut marble thresholds or large-format marble tiles into the right dimensions, leaving an open space for plumbing to go through?  Not hard at all.  And not expensive, either.

I figured that with 8 x 12 marble tiles - like so

- I could frame out a 24" x 44" C-shaped border for the sink to sit on.  I can attach them to a board (I'll have to use construction adhesive rather than thin-set, so there's no visible line from the side), and I can easily cut a hole in the middle of the board (where there will be no tile on top) for the pipes to pass through.  If I make the tile joints as narrow as possible and match the grout really well, it won't be too obvious that the base is marble tiles, rather than a marble slab.  (And only just a small border of it will show anyway.)  Marble tiles would also cost less than a slab, unless I found a truly phenomenal deal (like I did for my tabletop!).

Ingenious?  Insane?  Who can say.

It may not matter anyway, because the sink is priced higher than my budget will allow, if I also have to buy a bunch of marble and extra stuff to make it work.  (And then there's the part about busting a hole in an exterior wall to hook up a wall-mounted faucet.)

Maybe the price will come down.  And my wall will magically bend.  To be continued...


  1. I love the DIY Posts. We just bought our first home and I have white cabinets. Although the kitchen is last on the list of what I want to renovate I am thinking about it a lot. I hate the sink and looking forward to the day we change it. Love the vintage range on the houzz pic. Can't wait to see picture of your kitchen when done.

  2. Ummmm I didn't understand most of that, but I love ALL the pictures you posted, so I'm on board. :) (I know you're relieved, lol!!) And PS, my eye went immediately to that vintage stove! I had to be like, oh wait I'm supposed to look at the sink in this picture. Haha! :) Btw, there have been a few developments in my bathroom reno, I need to do a post about it soon.