I emailed the contractor to let him know the bathroom tiles had arrived, and he was completely taken by surprise. There is no one on his team available to do the work until after 20 March. So, again I wait.
In the meantime, I’ve been getting used to my new kitchen, having been living with it a month, so I thought maybe I should do a review. The short version is that I love it. I’m basically pleased with every choice.
First, the countertops. I was nervous about using CaesarStone because I read some online reviews from people who got chips and stains almost immediately after having them installed. Nothing of the sort has happened to mine. You can see them in the picture below, which also shows the tiles (still waiting to be installed) and the cooktop, which is the next item to review:
I really didn’t put any thought into the cooktop or oven. They were part of a discount appliance package, so I just went with that. I’m actually super happy with both. The only thing I can think of that is a negative is the loud beep every time you adjust the temperature controls, and the sort of whirring noise whenever a burner is on. I’ve never had a cooktop that makes noise before. I can’t figure out if the noise comes from the weird sensor thing mounted on the wall above, or if maybe the cooktop rattles because it was supposed to have been affixed to the countertop, or what.
ETA: this is an induction cooktop, so it’s extremely fast and responsive. I had to jettison a couple of old saucepans (that I didn’t really like anyway), but other than that the transition has been painless. I do seem to burn myself every time I take something out of the oven, perhaps because it is slightly lower than it should have been?
Then there’s the sink. Oh, how I love my sink (photographed without having been wiped down, which is a huge interior design blog fail):
I love having two deep basins that are equally large. I have really missed that in the last few places I have lived. It means that you can do two quite separate water-related tasks in parallel, like soak a knitting project for blocking while cooking dinner, or just stack dirty dishes in one basin while using the other for cooking. I’m also really happy with the very tall faucet, and don’t even mind the asymmetrical handle. The thing that surprises me a bit about it is that I use the pull-out sprayer a lot more than I thought I would. I had worried that it was an unnecessary indulgence, but it is really quite useful. Plus it gives me a little thrill every time because it is so cleverly hidden that you wouldn’t even know it was there if you weren’t told about it. But boy does that wall need the tiles soon! I struggle to keep water from getting on the wall, especially at the seam where the counter meets it.
Then there’s the under sink drawer:
When I first saw it I thought it was weird and didn’t think it would be very useful, but it actually is. Top row from left to right: cleaning supplies, glass and metal recycling (plus milk carton recycling), empty plastic bags. Bottom row from left to right: rubber gloves for dishwashing, plastic recycling, garbage. It’s nice to be able to pull the drawer all the way out, especially for dumping awkward things into the trash. The size of the bins is very practical in that they accumulate things, but only up to a certain point that forces you to take them out. In the past I have had a tendency to let recycling pile up because I didn’t really have a well-defined way of containing it, so this is a big help. In general, I really like the way all the drawers and cabinets in the kitchen function, and I still have lots of unexploited storage space.
I should add that I have a much larger basket for paper recycling hidden away elsewhere in the kitchen. Sadly, in my line of work I still produce way too much waste paper, so I need something much bigger than the under sink unit for this:
This photograph was taken on one of the rare occasions when the basket had just been emptied. It’s an ancient Longaberger basket that I inherited from a dear friend years ago. I planned for this open space below the counter for exactly this purpose, since I knew it wouldn’t work to run base cabinets all the way to the wall because of the shape of the window. The same friend who was the source of the basket is also the source of the rag rug that I have on the floor in front of the sink:
I found I was becoming totally paranoid about every drip that fell on the wood floor. The rag rug makes it much easier to work in the kitchen now.
Finally, there’s the refrigerator:
This too was part of the discount appliance package, and I am really happy with it. I completely LOVE having the refrigerator (and dishwasher, visible to the left in the previous picture) built in. It makes things so much tidier. I also like the fact that there is some hidden storage for odd items like a Longaberger pie basket within the cabinet for the refrigerator. This fridge is a good size for my needs. The only thing that isn’t optimal is that it’s difficult to get things in and out of the drawers in the freezer section, but I can totally live with that.
Do you see that toaster next to the fridge? My Mom left it behind when she moved back to the US. I got used to using it when I was living in the MIL, so I brought it with me. I have been searching all over Europe for a toaster oven, which is my definite preference, but without success. This is a perfectly acceptable toaster, except that the cord always seems to be in the way. I had thought I would only use it occasionally and mostly keep it stored, but I’m using it a lot more often than I expected, so for now it stays out on the counter.
I’m not a foodie or a gourmet cook or anything, but I do cook from scratch every day, so it really matters that things are functional. Although I’m still getting used to a few things (like the fact that the light switch is now next to the fridge rather than on the other side of the door), almost everything feels right and it’s super easy to clean. It’s nothing fancy, but is an eminently practical kitchen, which is exactly what I was hoping for.