Behind the Before & After | That Sinking Feeling . . .

Updated: 1 day ago

It’s been a long, hot summer but we now have cabinets! Installed!


I think a lot of you saw my quick little Facebook post, when our cabinets were delivered - on time - on August 12th. That was such a blessing!! Of course I was away during the install process that followed. I told the Hubs that he was in charge of taking photos of the install…and well, let’s just say these photos here are from when I got back home!


According to the Hubs, the install was not terribly exciting. Still, I had left town nervous about the placement of the peninsula - a bank of cabinets at counter height that juts out from one wall and separates the kitchen and dining room. During the measuring process, we had decided that we could shift the entire peninsula down the wall, towards the dining room, a bit further than we had initially imagined, and still have plenty of space in the dining room. It’s been very important to me all along to keep the dining room and kitchen as 2 separate spaces. I did not want to end up with one large, eat-in kitchen. (Even though as a real estate agent I can tell you that, increasingly, more homebuyers find less value in a formal dining room.) In addition to keeping the spaces separate, moving the peninsula down some also created a nice flow from the entry way through the porch and into the kitchen past the fridge.

Photo: The dining room in the background, the peninsula, and the space for the fridge on the right.


For some reason the whole time I was away I just kept worrying that we had moved the peninsula down too far, that the dining room would feel tiny, that we wouldn't have enough room for the table we wanted, and that it would just feel like a huge kitchen. But before I had a chance to work myself into a panic about this, sink-related drama ensued.


One of the major things I was missing out on, because I was away during the cabinetry installation, was the arrival of my precious sink - a Shaw's Fireclay Apron Front Farmer's sink. My husband - because he knows me and loves me - sent me a photo of the sink during the install process. Right away, I was surprised to see that the installers had removed the sink from its box and placed it in the cabinet. Now, anyone who loves a good kitchen reno knows that a farmer’s sink has the ceramic front of the sink exposed. The photo my husband sent me was my beloved farmer’s sink, in a cabinet with 4 sides of wood around it. Like so -

Photo of the sink, surrounded on all four sides by cabinet.


So I emailed the photo to my contractor and asked, “Just to check, the sink is going to be exposed, right?” And instead of him just saying, “Yes, don’t worry about it they all come like that for shipping,” he proceeded dive into this explanation of “Well, the cabinet installers had questions and they were concerned about the depth of the sink and the space in the back and they want me to come look at it before they cut the cabinet.”


AND. I. FREAKED. OUT.


My mind immediately went to “Holy shit, I ordered the wrong sink and I’m going to have to buy a new one!” And also “WTF I just spent a bazillion dollars on custom cabinets and OH MY GOD THEY ARE GOING TO CUT THE CABINET? OH HELL NO!”


Seriously. I flipped out. I called my contractor and we had words. And I called my kitchen designer. And I went back and looked at my sink specs. And you know what?


NOTHING WAS WRONG.

Every apron sink is the same depth. Every lower cabinet is the same depth. And there was nothing out of the ordinary. It was all fine.


So, dear readers! In the future, let it be known that the sink base for an apron sink is custom cut on site. No one ever bothered to tell me this. Apparently apron sinks are all hand made and while the specs are the specs, they can have slight variations. So they are purposely cut on site to ensure a tight fit and to be certain the customer gets the look they want: the sink can overhang some or be flush with the cabinets, your call.

Photo of the sink after its custom installation. I chose to have it overhang a bit.


So I am hoping this was my one and only panic moment with this project. I know I am very lucky as everything has been so smooth the entire time.


And we expect things to move quickly from this point forward. Countertops are up next and once those are installed the tile guy comes to do the backsplash and then I think it’s all finish work from there (electrical fixtures, plumbing hook-ups, trim, paint, floors). Fingers crossed we are completed by the end of September.


PS - After the sink was sorted out, I went back to worrying that, because of the placement of the peninsula, the dining room had shrunk too much and the kitchen had expanded too much. And so the minute I got home from my trip I took a measuring tape and measured for our dining room table and drew it out on the floor. There is plenty of space in the dining room - YAY! And the space does not feel like one huge kitchen.


So, take a deep breath with me and look at all the lovely details of these amazing cabinets from Metropolitan Cabinets.

Photos, left to right: the "foot" of the peninsula, the beveled door detail, the custom drawers.


And the ceramic (technically "fire clay") farmer's sink in all its glory!

Above: Photo of the sink, properly installed. Below: A look at the big picture.


Below: What's left - the counters, appliances, electrical fixtures, plumbing hook-ups, refinishing the floors and painting...

I'm writing these Behind the Before & After posts about our kitchen renovation because I want to share our process - including any bumps along the way - so that homebuyers and homeowners can get a look at what really happens when you take on a major renovation. Clients ask me all the time, "Should I renovate?" And my answer is - usually - this, "Renovate for you, now, and how you want to live" so I'm following my own advice and inviting you to follow along.


Read more about our kitchen renovation here! And feel free to comment or contact me with any questions you have!!


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