Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Big, Big Rock!

This past week my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Looking back, it is hard to believe so much time has passed by so quickly. To celebrate our 20 years together my wonderful husband bought me a big rock!

No, no, not this kind of rock:
This kind of rock!
Mine came in the form of new granite countertops for our kitchen.

If you have been following this blog for a while, you will no doubt understand how excited I was/am. I much prefer “house things” to clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. This was the absolutely perfect gift!

Here is our kitchen before.  We had speckled green/gray/black granite tiles with a very dated wooden edging.

Here is the kitchen now.
It honestly feels like a brand new space.
I find myself walking through the kitchen and just staring. Is this really the same kitchen? It is hard to believe how one change to a room can make such a big difference. I am so pleased with the results.

Keeping it Real with a Few Things to Think About
I can’t say enough about how much I love my new countertops. (I don’t want you to think I am complaining!) Like every project, however, it was not without its issues. I am hoping by sharing a few of the things which occurred during our renovation, it may help you if/when you decide to tackle a similar project.

As I said earlier, the original countertops in my kitchen were granite tiles with a wooden edge. This meant two things. First, the new granite countertops would not be as thick as the original. Not really an issue unless you already have a tile backsplash in place like we did.

In order for the new countertops to be the correct height in relation to the existing backsplash, a ¼” piece of wood had to be installed to increase the height of the granite. This means we will have to put a ½” quarter round piece of cherry molding along the underneath side of the granite to hide the exposed edge of the added wood. We have not done this yet, but in all honesty, you can’t see this extra piece of wood unless you are sitting on the floor.
The second issue was the original countertops had to be completely destroyed in order to make the templates for the new countertops. I was told if my countertops had been laminate, the installers would have popped them off, made the templates and put them back in place.
Instead, we had to clean out everything from the bottom row of cabinets and store it all in the dining room. We also had to live without a kitchen sink and dishwasher for the entire process - about a month.
Not a big issue, as I have a utility sink in my laundry room which is right around the corner from the kitchen.

An unexpected problem occurred when we were attempting to reinstall the faucet. My previous sink had been a top mounted model on which the faucet was placed. The new sink is an under the counter mounted model.
Translation, the faucet was now about ½” shorter and the faucet handles would not turn because they hit the ledge behind the sink. Needless to say, I was not happy. What to do?
The installers and I bounced several ideas around – sand off part of the ledge to make it smaller and create more room behind the faucet, install a small piece of granite on top of the countertop and underneath the faucet to add height, etc. Nothing I really liked because each of these solutions created more problems.

Finally after a long discussion, I came up with an idea – switch the faucet handles to lever style. Not knowing if this was even an option, I made some phone calls. As luck would have it, lever style handles are made for my faucet model. We ordered the handles and they should be here within two weeks. Problem solved. In the mean time, the faucet is set in place but not mounted to the countertop. This allows me to use the faucet and sink until the new handles arrive.

After resolving the faucet issue, next up was attaching the sink to the garbage disposal and water supply. My new sink is larger and deeper than the original sink (hurray!) which, of course, caused more problems.
When my husband tried to reuse the original pipes they were now too long because the sink sits lower in the cabinet. The old pipes could not be cut because of the location of a manufacturer’s label. Another delay, but a trip to Lowe’s and this issue too was solved.

Wall Damage
In order to install the granite on the right of the refrigerator, a piece of the door molding needed to be removed. Nail holes will now need to be patched and the molding repainted.
There was also some slight wall damage caused by the granite sliding into place – more patching and painting. Neither one of these is a big deal, but just something to be aware of if you are redoing countertops next to a door facing.

I hope my experience will help you to think about some of the issues we had with our project should you decide to do something similar. The reality is all of these surprises were easily dealt with. It was more frustrating than anything else when you think you would be finished and then something else would delay progress. The biggest issue was really the faucet. We were extremely lucky that Rohl makes an alternative style handle.
I am “over the moon” happy with how my kitchen looks now. My husband truly out did himself. Thanks Mr. RDH!

Linking to some of my favorite parties HERE

Granite – Absolute Black
Sink – Blanco Super Single Bowl Silgranit in Biscuit
Faucet – Rohl Country Kitchen


Janet said...

Absolutely beautiful despite the challenges.

Audra said...

Your countertops look fabulous. One improvement always leads its self to several other fix-ups in our home as well.

Green Willow Pond said...

Beautiful counters! That is exactly what I granite...sigh! I'm so happy for you. My day will come :)

Anita@GoingALittleCoastal said...

Just beautiful! It makes a huge difference. I had granite installed prior to selling our last home. It made such a difference I think that it helped to sell in less than a week. Also, made me kick myself for not doing it sooner so I could have enjoyed it! I love your huge sink too. Under mounts are just fabulous. I could never go back to a top mount.

Elizabeth (blue clear sky) said...

Congratulations on the milestone anniversary, and the counters! I also prefer home gifts over bling.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads up. I'm about to start a small reno in the kitchen and breakfast room and I'm going to sit down and think of the potential issues but hopefully the builder has already beat me to it. Your kitchen looks fabulous!


Allison said...

That looks fabulous, even with all the challenges!

Sonya@Beyond the Screen Door said...

Oh what a wonderful addition to your kitchen! Decorating and especially remodeling has such a "snowball" effect! Glad it all worked out! Beautiful kitchen!

Katie @ On the Banks of Squaw Creek said...

I don't think I've seen your kitchen before. It is absolutely gorgeous! I love the white pitchers. Are they ironstone?

gina3 said...

Looks beautiful. I too would rather have that kind of rock!

Pine Tree Home said...

Just lovely. Aren't you glad you have a HUBS that gets you what you truly want? Enjoy!

Amy Kinser said...


I'm with you, I would rather have something for my house and it be old, typically, than I would jewelry or clothing.

Allison said...

Love your new kitchen redo! What a wonderful anniversary gift! My husband and I are in the process of choosing granite and leaning towards the Absolute Black. It really does look beautiful in your photo! It's striking and elegant! Enjoy!

Lindsayb-mo said...

Happy Anniversary!
The countertops are gorgeous! What a great gift!

Andrea said...

We also found a few difficulties with our granite installation(mainly with our faucet too) but it was all so worth it in the end. I love our granite counter tops, and I can see why you love yours too....beautiful!

Marcy {pine creek cottage} said...

The new countertops are stunning! Thank you for explaining all of the trials along the way. Too often we think these things all go smoothly and it is important to see how you conquered each of these challenges.

Happy anniversary too!

Michelle @ Sweet Something said...

That looks great! Love the new sink too!

terra @ said...

Just gorgeous! Love the sleek look. What a great present!

Trish @TheOldPostRoad said...

Beautiful!! I know you are happy! And probably cooking more.

My Notting Hill said...

Happy Anniversary! The counter tops and your kitchen look great.

Julie said...

Wow...Unless you go through these changes yourself, you don't really know what all the hurdles are that keep popping up ..."those little frustrations!!". Thanks for sharing with all the rest of us the facts of life...Every project will have it's unexpected challanges, and my bet is that we should plan for a longer period of time than what we are quoted!!!

Bringing Pretty Back said...

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! Congratulations to you both! Your kitchen is beautiful. Thank you for all of the info on the countertops.

Karen said...

Karen of Garden, Home and Party said...

I love your "new" kitchen. Thanks for sharing some of the details you need to think about when replacing the granite. It looks terrific.

Atticmag said...

It's great to get what you want as a gift, no? The countertops look terrific and there's nothing like a kitchen improvement!

Thanks so much for stopping by to see my garden. Jane F.

Ellie said...

Happy birthday to you! Love the new granite. Thanks for keeping it real and posting the problems and hassle involved in home-improvement projects. Visiting from Stephanie Lynn's Sunday Showcase. :)

Barbara said...

It looks fabulous! That's my kind of rock!

gena said...

Happy Anniversary ! I think your new "rock" looks wonderful - changed the look and feel of the kitchen for sure !

thanks for sharing,

Pam said...

The granite looks awesome even with the few glitches along the way!

Empty Nest Full Life said...

Beautiful! I know you are loving it! Jackie

Stephanie Lynn @Under the Table and Dreaming said...

Simply gorgeous! Love the sink and faucet! What a fabulous gift that will last forever. Thanks so much for joining the Sunday Showcase. Hope you have a wonderful week! ~ Stephanie Lynn

Cristin said...

Love your new rock! Happy Anniversary too.


Anu@My Dream Canvas said...

Happy Anniversary and what a great gift. I am hosting a CSN Giveaway so do stop by, and if you can please spread the word. Thanks a ton Anu

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

that looks gorgeous! of course, sparkly diamond countertops would have been nice, too.... just subscribed- how was i not before? oversight on my part!

Holly said...

Gorgeous! They installed my new granite in my old kitchen and it instantly looked is pretty amazing what granite can do. We had a laundry list of little nuisances too - we kept our existing cabinet boxes - so is was all about working around everything. I am over the moon too...I think I am posting photos next week.

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary! Love your new rock. It sounds like it was worth the challenges you faced in getting to the finished product, but it's nice of you to share so that others may not have to go through the same thing.

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage said...

Now that's a rock! It looks gorgeous!

for the love of a house said...

A perfect gift in my book! Happy Anniversary to you! Your kitchen looks wonderful; I can see why you are over the moon! Mr. RDH did good!!


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