Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Perfect Fit

For a knitter, good fit is prime. There's that great moment when a finished sweater is tried on, the sleeves are long enough, the waist fits, the neckline sits at the right place; life is good! I feel like I'm wearing that sweater today.

Today was a wonderful day - wonderful in the sense that it just feels right to be here. There was nothing particularly special about the day - we dropped the kids off at camp so that we could drive down to Rochester and check out some of the housing alternatives.

We looked at several places, but hands down the best fit for our circumstance was Staybridge Suites. We have the option there of moving into a 1 or 2 bedroom setup depending on whether Gerry's mom and the kids are able to come down in September, and then moving back to the studio so we can save money by only getting a 1 bedroom when we actually NEED it. And - very important - we can have Atticus with us. Huzzah.

Bonus: They have wifi and cable - we'll get MSNBC (I get to see Mr. Olberman every night), Comedy Central (ditto Mr. Stewart & Mr. Colbert) and Bravo (Kathy Griffin & other fun stuff) My circle of friends.

While in Rochester we popped into a Home Depot for a sink fix. As we look around at bathroom stuff and worked on ideas, we tried to figure ways to save some $ and "express ourselves" in our bathroom and kitchen.

We still haven't locked into one contractor - and against all good advice we may be moving away from Mr. Proven Contractor to Mr. Younger Flexible Contractor. Tomorrow YFC is coming by with his plumber so we can get a final quote from him. You're all on the edge of your seats, aren't you?

We'd looked at some tile for the bathroom a few days ago and really liked the idea of slate - although the $6/sq ft was a little pricier than our budgeted $4/sq ft. But today we saw a very similar tile on sale for $1.25/sq ft (victim of a broken pallet, but the tiles we chose were not broken) So we got the tile for our bathroom for $30!

I haven't been at peace with the idea of a run of the mill looking vanity sink, so I had a brainstorm. It may be idiotic, but I'm going to visit a few Menards & Home Depots and kick the following idea around to get feedback.

We all remember The Bowl? The yellowware bowl that was broken in June? I saved all of the pieces because I just couldn't bear to part with it.

We have an old 1920's hutch we acquired when we were first married and living in Brooklyn. It's not in great shape (but not falling apart - it's just been painted too many times and it's a little chipped - shabby chic looking) It's in two parts with a 2-drawer bottom and a glass-door china cabinet top.

The bottom is counter height, so I'm thinking I'd like to create a lip around the edge with some type of moulding. Then I'll take the pieces from the beloved yellow ware bowl, break them into even smaller pieces, and use them to create a mosaic pattern on top on the hutch bottom.

Once that's finished and grouted, I'll cover all of it with bar-pour (like the polyeurethane I used on the dining room table - it's water proof and excellent for counters) to make the top flat and even. The moulding lip will hold the bar-pour in place. I may even toss in some other stuff, other dish shards, pennies, shells, stitch markers...

We'll cut a hole in the top of the hutch to accommodate the drain for a vessel sink. Ideally I'd love to find a sink that resembles a yellow ware bowl. These two are the front runners right now. Both at ebay, both less than the Corianne sinks our contractor has proposed.

Will it work? Who knows. I think so - I'm going to research it. If it does work we end up with a groovy, expressive sink for peanuts. If not, we haven't lost that much...

Driving back home from Rocheste
r, with our slate tiles and tile adhesive (for the hutch) squared away in the back of the PT, the landscape was breathtaking. I've never seen corn look as beautiful as it did along highway 52. Lush and tall and 50 shades of green! The sky was a deep, rich Dutch blue. The light on the fields, the wind moving the grasses and stalks, it almost made me cry.

We got home just in time to sign for a delivery, check my email (FLASH: VK is very happy with the shawl - YAY!- and I got the pattern and charts out tonight! It feels so GOOD to be finished! I think it will be in the Holiday issue.)

I changed my clothes and strolled over to The Yarnery to meet some new friends for knitting and dinner/dessert at Cafe Latte.

I have missed connecting with a group of knitters as a KNITTER - not teacher - just Annie. This was lovely.

I miss my group back home - the Yarrrn Pirates - and this was the first time I'd just hung out knitting for a long time. Thanks, ladies, for having me.

The special bonus - one of the women's husband had a stem cell transplant (slightly different from what Gerry's having) five years ago and is doing great after being 'given' three years. Love to hear that.

As I walked home at 9:30, the sky still light with northern evening brightness, I felt so at home, so happy.

Back at the house Gerry was snoring in his recliner, the kids were getting ready for bed, the cat and dog asleep in the living room snuggled next to each other (it's just chilly enough for some good pet snuggling.)

What a nice fit.



Rebekka said...

Lovely idea about the hutch & sink - I actually had the same idea myself. However, when I suggested this to my dad (resident engineer & do-er of all my plumbing, handy-man stuff etc), he pointed out to me that furniture not designed for kitchen or bathroom use is not glued together with waterproof glue, and is therefore not suitable for wet areas, as it will start to rot and will eventually just disintegrate.

Hope you find another good solution - and I like the first ebay sink.

July 11, 2007 1:24 AM  
valéria said...

I'm glad that your day had such a beautifull golden lining :) those are the days that you'll remember for a long time and the feeling you had.

I'm very curious how everything will turn out with the sink and so. Hope you'll have more days with that golden lining instead of silver..you deserve it :)

July 11, 2007 2:04 AM  
Vanessa said...

I love the idea for the sink. Most Bath and Bodyworks shops have a similar set up so that you can test the various scrubs and other products. If the hutch you have is from the 1920's, chances are that its not glued together like Rebekka mentioned, but dovetailed. If so, I would imagine that you should be able to reinforce it with some small nails (in incospicuous places) and with the proper wood sealer your idea would work splendidly!
Also, I like the copper effect sink, copper does seem to be a favorite of yours anyways.

July 11, 2007 2:46 AM  
PJ in NY said...

My son is a "newbie" plumber/contractor and sometimes it takes a while for people to give him a chance. The newer contractors are usually not set in their ways yet and also work harder to please the customer.

The sink is absolutely do-able, I'm not sure if you need the bar pour though. It is tile and grout and meant to be wet right?

July 11, 2007 2:50 AM  
Debbie said...

Sounds like a lovely day.

Your bathroom sink idea is marvelous!

July 11, 2007 5:47 AM  
Judy said...

Glad you were enjoying your drive and your time in Rochester. You mentioned visiting Menards and Home Depot, did you know we also have a BRAND NEW Lowes? (Sorry, I kinda like home improvement stores so the new one makes me happy). I think it's interesting that you found the drive on 52 to be beautiful--many of us think of it as a rather boring drive. Guess I'll have to open my mind as well as my eyes and try to see it as you do (yes, there are some areas where the rolling hills are fairly spectacular). To see even more breathtaking sights, try heading down Highway 61 along the Mississippi to Wabasha (where they filmed Grumpy Old Men) or Winona, then cut across to Rochester. The bluffs along the river are breathtaking. Or, take a drive up to lake country (around Brainerd). If you thought our cornfields were pretty, wait until you see our lakes and forests!

Judy in MN

July 11, 2007 6:45 AM  
michelle said...

you should check also if there is some kind of home salvage/recyling type place in your area.

many people, when they remodel, get rid of very nice, perfectly good pieces because they no longer fit in their "design" scheme. you may find something at a place like that that you like very much and that costs a fraction of the price of a new fixture

plus - recycling is good for the environment and the budget!

July 11, 2007 6:49 AM  
Auntly H said...

What a great day! I think the sink idea is wonderful. With a little ingenuity and elbow grease, I'm sure you can make it work.

July 11, 2007 7:19 AM  
Cape Cod Kitty said...

Your spirit is so bright and your comments about the drive back from Rochester reminded me of the Rachel Carson quote, "Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts". You have a gift! Days like that, the ability to see the beauty, and your natural zest for life, will sustain you and your family through anything you have to face.
About the sink idea....I work for a very high end design/build firm and we just did a similar process in one of our houses. It is such a success. They hollowed out the two top drawers of a beautiful old dresser, glued the drawer fronts shut and it works beautifully to fit the plumbing inside. I think you will do just fine with it!
The best to all of you from Cape Cod.

July 11, 2007 7:41 AM  
knitncycle said...

The sink idea sounds wonderful!! I wish I lived close to you so I could help with the whole sink bar pour thing. I saw some tables at a restaurant that were painted and covered in that way. I've been wanting to learn how to do that myself. You might also see if your area has a Habitat for Humanity Re-store. They have wonderful deals on things that have come from house re-dos. The stuff is in great condition and a fraction of the cost.

July 11, 2007 7:48 AM  
Teej said...

We regularly run 52 up to the Cities (we live in Caledonia, in the far southeastern corner of MN and my parents live in Mahtomedi, a northeastern suburb of St. Paul) and I agree that it's a lovely drive. When I am occasionally stranded at the Minneapolis airport by a canceled puddle-jumper flight into La Crosse, my parents will pick me up at the airport and we'll drive down to meet my husband in Rochester for dinner so I can get home a wee bit faster.

I'm glad you had such a wonderful day. I wish you many, many more.

July 11, 2007 8:58 AM  
Meredith said...

Oh, Annie, you deserved that wonderful day! Great all round, indeed.

big huggggggggggssssssssss

Meredith in Taos

July 11, 2007 9:26 AM  
Guinifer said...

Days like yesterday and today are what make January and February livable here. I've lived in MN all my life and frankly, my best childhood memories are tinted with that golden sun that we've had for the last couple of days. Soak it up and save it!

July 11, 2007 9:30 AM  
Kim said...

So glad that you had a wonderful day - you deserved one after all you've been through lately.

I vote for the copper sink - I think it would be a great look with the slate tiles.

July 11, 2007 9:39 AM  
susanc said...

I'm so glad you had such a great day. It's great to read that you feel so at home. I LOVE the sink idea. I like either one! Very creative idea.

I'm glad you found a place to stay at while in Rochester and that you'll have cable! I love all the aforementioned shows too!

July 11, 2007 9:56 AM  
cathyannhenry said...

I have been fortunate not to have a hotel stay as long as yours will be, but we have used Staybridge Suites for several years when going to visit my mother (who lived in a tiny 1-bdr senior citizens' apt at the time). They are clean, quiet, and have all the amenities you need (the right TV stations when you're going to be there that long are KEY, plus, of course, internet access). Sign up for Priority Club when you check in. You can rack up points for free hotel nights, or have the points go to airline miles, that sort of thing. You'll be there long enough that it will actually be worth something. And Priority Club includes Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Candlewood Suites (which I DON'T recommend--yecch!), and a few others.

Boy, your sink plans sound great, and way more creative than I'd ever be--I'd be sucking it up and paying through the nose to the contractor.

Glad you had such a great day!

July 11, 2007 9:57 AM  
Molly said...

Someone mentioned salvage stores. Architectural Antiques in Minneapolis is my favorite. So cool! One could spend hours in there! Salvaged doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, light fixtures, sinks, tubs, furniture-it's pretty awesome.

July 11, 2007 10:07 AM  
Karen said...

I love the idea of the sink - it sounds just lovely

July 11, 2007 10:23 AM  
Kim said...

The sink idea sounds great!

I'm married to someone in the building/remodel trades. It's important to remember: Mr. Older, Proven Contractor was, once upon a time, Mr. Young, Flexible Contractor. Somebody had to trust him enough to allow him to reach his current status. :-) The younger guys have more to prove - they'll lose everything if they don't do well and get more business.

July 11, 2007 10:54 AM  
KT said...

My uncle and aunt decided to go with a newbie contractor to build their new home. One problem they ran into was with sub-contractors - because the guy was new to the business he hadn't built up relationships/network with the subs and so he couldn't get them to show up on schedule or with any predictability. This delayed their home's construction quite significantly. Just something to keep in mind as you are agreeing on schedules & contracts with your contractor.

July 11, 2007 11:17 AM  
ML said...

Conversely, a "seasoned" contractor who is juggling many jobs has a tendency to pull subs off your job and put them on a bigger or more pressing one. (Remind him that yours is indeed "pressing".) I've seen this happen. It's a coin toss. Ask to talk to other clients or even subs or the local Home Depot or wherever he would get his materials to see what kind of businessman he is. Those would be the folks who might have a beef with him OR say glowing things about him.

July 11, 2007 12:18 PM  
PICAdrienne said...

Sounds like a wonderful day. One to savor and enjoy.

Congratulations on the slate find. A very good investment. I do hope you bought a bit more than you need, just in case. This is not an area to end up with just a few inches of extra yarn, better to have that extra ball or two.

The sink idea sounds lovely and what a nice way to continue to enjoy the yellow bowl.

Pros and cons on both sides of the contractors. Word of mouth and gut instinct are your best helpers in that case. Good luck!

July 11, 2007 1:05 PM  
Meredith said...

Annie, I forgot to say this in my previous comment; I hope it provides a little bit more sunshine: The husband of a friend was diagnosed with Stage 3 MM several years ago. He had stem cell treatments (don't know exactly when or details), and he has been in remission for some time.

Blessings to you all,

Meredith in Taos

July 11, 2007 1:33 PM  
Tracy said...

I'm sure you've prob'ly found this place while searching on your own, but I've bought from www.faucet.com several times, customer service is excellent.

There are few yellow ware looking sinks, but they're kind of pricey. Just like any place, some things expensive, others reasonable, but LOTS of lovely vessel sinks.

Are you going to shorten the front to back length of the top drawer or make it a faux drawer, or is it deep enough for the drain and trap underneath? Just curious how you're going to do this. When I converted a chest into the vanity, I used the drawer front and installed the mechanisms for a tilt drawer often used in front of kitchen sinks.

July 11, 2007 1:51 PM  
Chris said...

I think the sink idea is wonderful - I just saw something similar at pub I was at in Philly - why wouldn't it work? Best of luck and can't wait to see it when it's done!

July 11, 2007 5:03 PM  
dragon knitter said...

you're going to make me cry. i've been living in the city for 4 years, so i rarely venture outinto the country. but i grew up on a farm, and lived in small towns up until 4 years ago. i'm missing my favorite time: corn tasselling. the smell is amazing. sweet & musky, with a wee bit of raspiness in the back of the throat. it smells like home.

July 11, 2007 11:10 PM  
ellen said...

I am smiling after reading about your wonderful day. I am so happy for you. Wonderful days are important. Wrap it up and keep it in a safe place to bring it out when it's needed.

July 12, 2007 1:09 PM  
Jeanne said...

I must present a cautionary tale: my sister bought a rundown home with the intention of renovating it rather than scrapping and building new. She blanched at Mr. Proven Contractor's estimates and gave the job to Mr. Younger Flexible Contractor. Unbeknownst to her, Mr. YFC cut so many corners during the massive reconstruction of the home that it failed inspection, and the repairs to bring it up to code will cost equal to or more than if she'd gone with Mr. PC initially.

Just sayin'. Yes, everyone needs a break to get started, but be cautious. Sometimes you get what you (don't) pay for.

On the bright side, your idea for the vanity and sink are wonderful! Glad you were able to have a genuinely good day. You deserved it.

July 12, 2007 1:31 PM  
Cynthia said...

You deserve such a lovely day Annie! I love the idea of the hutch - I think it will work beautifully; it would be so wonderful and funky - so you!

Take care.

July 12, 2007 2:21 PM  
athena said...

wacky bathroom sink idea: excellent!



July 12, 2007 2:45 PM  
Arianne said...

Your sink sounds awesome, and your day sounds wonderful too.


July 13, 2007 5:45 AM  
The_Add_Knitter said...

I recently drove along Highway 52 from SW Wisconsin and also marveled at the beauty of it all--glad you got to see that as well. And glad that Minnesotans are showing you comfort and kindness, it's what we're known for!;)

July 15, 2007 11:05 AM  

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