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Monday, November 23, 2009

Gettin' Stoned

With just a handful of days left before two dozen hungry people show up for Thanksgiving Dinner, we are squeaking in the first step of a kitchen reno: new sink, faucet, stovetop and counter.


A last look at the sink, faucet, cooktop, and counter. . . .

Friday and Saturday were busy days at That Old House.
On Friday, the plumber disconnected the old sink and faucet (eek! no dishwasher!).
See that chip on the old porcelain sink?
That, and a leaky faucet, started this whole do-over.

You know how it goes: "We have to replace the faucet. If we do that, we may as well replace the chipped sink. If we do that, we really should replace the worn out countertops. If we do that, no sense keeping the electric stove we don't like. . . . " and before you know it, you've rebuilt the entire house.

Early Saturday morning, the electrician disconnected and removed the smooth ceramic electric cooktop,
and installed a regular outlet for the new gas one.

All gone!

Before he was finished, the crew from the stone fabricators turned up
with our new L-shaped soapstone counter, ready to install.

Within 2 hours, we went from green laminate with falling-off oak edging:

To this:


Any backsplash ideas? We haven't decided yet.
Thinking maybe beadboard, maybe subway tile, maybe Hershey bars. . .
(just checking if you're paying attention!)

An in-progress mosaic:

The soapstone looks gray at this point;
after a first application of mineral oil, it looks like this:

Before noon, the installation guys were done and gone, and we had my Dad, my sister and her husband here for a pizza lunch. Before they arrived, Howard and I frantically cleaned up masses of stone dust.

We had no idea that the installation would involve this:

and this:

Do you see the coating of stone dust on everything?
Really, they should warn customers about this so you can cover things.
On the other hand, I should have realized!

The plumber is due back today or tomorrow, to connect the sink and faucet and gas cooktop, and then I can get back to cooking and doing dishes and . . . hey! Maybe I'll re-schedule that plumber.

Next step: taking the too-big counter that we nicknamed The Isthmus, and shrinking it to human scale, topping it with butcher block, and putting open shelving above it for dish storage.

I need the dish storage, and I need for The Isthmus to stop being a catch-all for stuff.

(It's The Isthmus because it's not an island nor a peninsula,
and there weren't any funnier geographic designations left to choose from.)

Thanks to Susan at Between Naps On The Porch for hosting Metamorphosis Monday. I really am enjoying having a genuine metamorphosis to show! Visit her blog for more changes.

To Mary of Little Red House, double thanks are due -- for hosting Mosaic Monday, and for sharing her love of her own soapstone countertops with me. Her blog today will have dozens of beautiful mosaics to ogle!

And guess what we realized?
The fireplace hearth at That Old House is made of . . . soapstone!
So I'm sure we made the right choice for the kitchen.

Now, a moment of Chaotic Truth, or something from the
"You Can't Make An Omelette Without Breaking Eggs" division:

It's The Isthmus, full of stuff from the L-shaped counter and some of its cabinets. What a mess. But it's all part of the chaotic creative process. At least that's what I tell myself.

Meanwhile, this guy was very interested in the whole process,
mostly because he doesn't see his cookie jar in its usual spot:

The neighbor children came by on Sunday to visit and see our new counters. Dion is infinitely patient with the 2-year old, who likes to lift those fluffy ears and poke around underneath. This little boy was afraid of dogs, until he met our Dion. :-)

I'm very excited about our soapstone countertop. At seven addresses over 31 years, Howard and I have pretty much made do with whatever kitchen Fate handed us, and that was fine. But I have to admit, it's tremendous fun to be making this kitchen ours, and I'm still pinching myself that we're really doing it.

Now, let's hope I remember how to cook with gas!
Or Thanksgiving might be pretty dismal. -- Cass


  1. Cass, the soapstone counter tops look beautiful. I know the mess is maddening but soon you'll have it all cleaned up. Give beautiful Dion a hug for us.

  2. Cass - the new BIG sink! The beautiful countertop and your new gas cooktop! The dust maybe annoying but do you have daughters visiting for Thanksgiving? I know my dear Mum will be using me to do vaccuming at their place for Xmas.

    I take over their kitchen and cook the Xmas Dinner too.

    So hope you enjoy your remodelled kitchen, give that lovely Dion a pat and cuddle from me,

    Michelle, xxx (Zebbycat is busy demolishing his polar fleece)

  3. I actually squealed when I saw those countertops Cass! LOL I'm so excited for you :)

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!


  4. Oh, those countertops are gorgeous! I love soapstone. You must be so excited, Cass!

  5. We're choking on your soapstone dust all the way over here in Atlanta. It look mighty fine though. Isthmus? More like sub-continent.

    Wishing y'all a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  6. Thank you for visiting my blog, because now I have found your!
    What a great post! I love the soapstone! I am doing a similar redo of my kitchen, and I am so unsure what kind of countertop to choose... until I saw yours! Just beautiful. You chose a fabulous countertop.
    I have so enjoyed visiting you today.

  7. The counter guy isn't even wearing a mask. Oh dear that will come back to haunt him in life.
    They look so nice. I have a white sink but it is acrylic and stained terribly. I hate it.
    Your little Dion always looks like he has done something naughty and got caught. Those big eyes looking upwards saying "I didn't do it". Too cute.

  8. Oooo Cass, I LOVE them!!! Congratulations! thanks for sharing at MM, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  9. Hey Cass,
    You silly girl, you may have a lot of strange bloggy visitors with your post title! lol. I am so in love with the soapstone, it is so much neater than granite~ It's gorgeous, can't wait to see the rest!.... Cindy

  10. How thankful you are for this Thanksgiving. And thanks for showing us the metamorphis. New is nice. MB

  11. Your new counters are gorgoeus, what a thrill. I also really love the gas cook top. That is wonderful. I have that glass top electric that everyone seems to have and it is not my favorite at all. Such a blessing to have a new kitchen. Have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving. Hugs, Marty

  12. Cass, thanks for visiting me. I'll trade you my tureen collection for that gorgeous house of yours! LOL. I've always wanted an old house like that. The soapstone looks great in your kitchen.

    Dion is a cutie!

  13. Cass! It's all so beautiful! I love your new soapstone counter tops! Everything just in time for Thanksgiving! Love seeing that little darling Dion. Chloe Dawn sends some doggy kisses.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  14. I love it! I know you will be glad when it is finished, but it will be worth the wait. I agree with what someone else said - that man needs to be wearing a mask while doing jobs like that. Hi Dion!.:)

  15. Enjoy the results, Happy Thanksgiving.

  16. The new countertops are very spiffy as to the backsplash I'd go with the Hershey bar idea.!!
    Hope you have a wonderful Thanskgiving despite the dust.

  17. Wow, and that just before Thanksgiving, I hope you get it all done, I mean the food. LOL
    Happy Thanksgiving

  18. Cass I love it! GORGEOUS counters and the Hershey bars will look fabulous. LOL! ~Smiles.

    Happy Thanksgiving sweet lady!
    ~Melissa :)

  19. Counter top is beautiful. Kitchen will have a new life after you are finished.

  20. Good luck--this looks like a giant undertaking before Thanksgiving!
    I think I'd be going bonkers by now!
    Looks good though!


  21. Oh thanks so much for the updates and photos. It's fun to watch. It's all so exciting . I have a leaky faucet, a porcelain sink that needs to be replaced. Laminate counters that need to be updated, floor that needs to be replaced... sound familiar??? So scared to start the first step, because I KNOW where it will lead...just like your story. So for now, I'll just get inspired by your story! :-) We have started "looking at sinks and tile for floor"... baby steps......
    Enjoyed visiting.

  22. GREAT mosaic! Soapstone...I just love it. Great choice for a counter top. Enjoy your new kitchen!


  23. I LOVE your new countertops!! At some point, hopefully in the not too distant future, the ugly tile countertops we inherited when we bought our little cottage a few years ago, will be replaced. We've been going back and forth between granite, quartz, or soapstone so I really appreciate your post. The soapstone is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

  24. Love your new countertops and sink. It looks lovely. Now, did you put that cookie jar back in its place. Great photos and mosaic.

  25. Everything looks great! I love it! My sister in law has the same countertops in her 1776 farm house. Did you ever think of a tin back splash? I am sure what ever you decide will be beautiful!
    Love it!!

  26. Many Thanksgiving Blessings to you and your family….Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

  27. Cass- Everything looks wonderful.I love your soapstone.

    I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving.


  28. Cass

    Let me tell you, those results were worth the mess- your kitchen looks great! Happy holiday!

  29. What a BEAUTIFUL kitchen makeover. Love cooking with gas. Sorry to see the mess that resulted from cutting the stone.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  30. OH Cass! I have soapstone and can't imagine having anything else. I LOVE IT! No more worries about hot pots on the counter top!

    Your new kitchen looks fabulous!

  31. those counters look GREAT! what an improvement! happy thanksgiving! today, as always, i am thankful you are my best friend!

  32. Well, that is beautiful!
    As a long-ago geography major I had a chuckle at The Isthmus - very clever!

  33. Hi those soapstone counters...Nice to see someone not getting granite...but that dust...Yikes...have you cleaned all all up yet?...your poor leather sofa...and you are going to love cooking with gas....Sue.

  34. The soapstone looks nice! That's one countertop surface I have not had yet. I'm holding out for granite or concrete the next time around, but yours are pretty darned awesome!

    The Blue Ridge Gal
    Just Vignettes


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