Kitchen remodeling can be a time-consuming task. Adding 790 miles between your primary residence (Charlotte, N.C.) and your second home (Hartford, CT) adds extra weekends — and funny looks at the airport when the kitchen sink is your carry-on.
The remodel process began on the hottest day of August, ending on Good Friday with seventeen people planned for Easter dinner. Hosting Easter dinner at ‘my house’ had always been a family tradition until a new job took us to the Carolina’s in 2004. Now with a 2nd home, back in New England, Easter was on! Although the kitchen remodel was expected to be completed by Christmas, the looming deadline of Easter was quickly approaching. On my last trip up north before the holiday, I found a carpenter who would construct the peninsula just days before the holiday feast.
When I started the remodel, I had a vision with no specific budget in mind (not a good idea for novices) but I needed to make the kitchen precisely as I wanted, spending the least amount of money. Shopping for discounted appliances, scouring thrift stores, assembling the cabinets myself, and hiring contractors only for tasks that I could not complete, went a long way towards achieving my goal.
- Cabinets, countertops, and hardware $2,000
- Appliances $1,400
- Sink and faucet $500
- Electrician $500
- Lighting/electrical $400
- Carpenter $250
- Paint $70
- Miscellaneous $150
Total Cost $5,270
Now for some reason, kitchen sinks are a hot topic in my family. They are either too small, awkwardly shaped, or not deep enough. My perfect sink was a large stainless single bowl, 9″ deep with a narrow 1″ rim. Unfortunately, it was out of stock locally in New Haven, CT. After waiting 2 months to be re-stocked, I purchased my beloved sink near my primary residence. Not wanting to risk damage shipping it, I carried my sink proudly through airport security enduring all the snickers of ‘packing the kitchen sink’. While my sink was technically over the ‘carry-on’ size limits by 6″ (the sink measured 24x18x9) it weighed only 11 pounds, well under the 40 pound weight limit. Needless to say, my kitchen sink was still smaller than some of the bags I saw rolling around the airport! My gamble paid off until the overhead compartments were full and it needed to be checked. Fretting my sink would be destroyed, as it was only shrink wrapped in plastic, I reluctantly let the ramp agent take it away. Two hours later I was reunited with my sink. There was no greater joy than to see the plastic wrapped sink among all the black roller bags on the carousel. It was a sight to behold, and it was in perfect condition.
I have a golden rule when it comes to remodeling: “I will attempt anything, but I don’t touch electricity”. The electrician loved me. I told him exactly what and where things needed to be. I gave him fixtures, switches, and marked the walls. I’m far too particular to leave things to someone else’s’ discretion. The result was perfect; everything was to my ¼” standard.
Looking at my kitchen now makes me beam with pride. Although there are some minor touch-ups still to be done, in essence the kitchen was complete for Easter. What started as a vision and a mission is now a retreat to cook, create, visit, and have a cup of tea. I stayed true to the style of the house, an Antique Cape built in 1752, the house has seen many styles come and go. The pendant lights remind me of early electrical fixtures, the wood countertops would have been an available resource, the white cabinets are simple, and the use of stainless appliances….well, everyone deserves a little extra touch. I’m confident I’ve doubled my investment. When friends comment on how much they love the sink, we chuckle; yes indeed, I did pack the kitchen sink.