Everything But the Kitchen Sink

Does anybody else think of a gigantic ice cream sundae when they hear that phrase? I sure do. I might need one of those after I break down this stressful home improvement project with you guys.

As you may or may not know by now, my kitchen needed some serious help. I had plans for painting the cabinets, and eventually replacing the fridge, but those were cosmetic fixes. All of the appliances and the cabinetry were doing their job…with the exception of the kitchen sink. It was the least functional and most utilized item in our home, and it needed to GO!

Remember this guy?

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The depth couldn’t have been more than 5 inches. Do know what a depth that minuscule means? Let me tell you. It means that every time you turn on the faucet, you end up spraying water all over yourself. Not to mention what it is like to do dishes in here! I end up with puddles on the floor and on whatever I’m wearing (if I’m even lucky enough to fit the larger pots under the faucet!).

The kitchens must have been the last section of the apartment building to be completed, and it seems like these builders started cutting corners as the end drew near! I’m guessing this was the least expensive sink available at the time. Thanks guys.

Anyway, we went to dinner at a friend’s apartment and I noticed she had this incredibly deep drop in sink! (My “Aha Moment”). Until now, I was thinking that we needed to do a total kitchen renovation before I could have a new sink. Of course, I was envisioning granite or marble countertops and an oh so luxurious undermount double basin beauty of a sink.

Back to reality Melissa – that sort of renovation would take more than my golf club budget would allow, and I had serious plans for making a big impact by spreading those improvements around!

I will admit that we did seriously consider the countertop renovation option. We might still upgrade the countertops and sink down the road, but we knew that if we ever wanted to do a full kitchen renovation (moving the fridge and stove around) we would need to replace the countertops again (due to new surface areas) and 2500+ dollars seemed absolutely CRAZY for a temporary fix.

So, I warmed up my online shopping fingers and found out that new drop in sinks weren’t too expensive at all!  Home Depot had a decent variety, but I was hoping to find something a little deeper (with more buyer reviews) for my specific sink width needs.

NOTE: Measure your current sink width before sink shopping! Most importantly, your base cabinet width determines the maximum width of your sink bowl, but if you want to avoid sawing into your countertops (and ideally simply “drop-in” your sink into the old sink’s holes) MEASURE TWICE! :) That’s all.

I found my perfect candidate on Overstock.com. Yep, they sell discount sinks! For 126.99 (plus 2.99 shipping) I would have my new 9-inch, 4.8 Star rating, noise reduction padded, perfect length and width new kitchen sink at my DOOR! I just love delivery!

This was one of those projects that I thought, “I can totally do that!” Plumbing?! Sure! If I can install a new light fixture (and not electrocute myself) I can watch a few youtube videos and knock this sink thing out in no time, right? Oh boy…there is a time and place for confidence. First time adventures in plumbing – probably not the time.

I started out with these (empowering?) videos on removing my sink (HouseImprovements) and installing a new sink (How2Plumb).

Per their instructions, I went shopping for the pipe wrench, the plumbers putty, clear caulk, and the EZ Mount basket strainer. I felt pretty confident that I could handle the basic “detach old sink, drop in new sink, install new strainer basket” skills.

My sink arrived (and it was beautiful), so I prepped my videos and sat underneath the sink to begin shutting off the water and detaching the sink.

Then I saw this:

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Just in case you need a closer look:

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Come on! This is terrifying stuff!

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What on Earth happened to this thing?! Something bad happened here, and I knew better than to mess with that amount of poor patch work. DIY – no more. Time to call in some help.

Luckily, my building has a crew of maintenance guys that work on things that the building is responsible for fixing. I heard from a fellow tenant, that sometimes (if you ask nicely) they will help you with a project after their shift, for a little cash tip. I went through all the proper channels, and scheduled my kitchen sink installation.

This is what Mario was looking at when we started: IMG_0046

As I feared, shutting off the water didn’t go very smoothly – even for my professional helper. He said we had a broken…valve? :/ (Actually, I forget – this is why I shouldn’t be pretend to be my own plumber). Basically, when we turned off the water, the water didn’t completely shut off. He managed to slow the water to a trickle (with another special trick/tool – Thank goodness I called him!) and we were able to move forward with a pot underneath the leaking pipe to collect the drips in the meantime.

Then he worked on breaking the seal to remove the current sink, and successfully removed it…with a lot of mess.

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This is gross! Right now, I’m really glad all that nasty black stuff isn’t getting in my hair and eyes.

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All we had left to do was clean up, drop in the new sink, secure it, caulk it, and reconnect all the plumbing. Haha…I wish.

Although I carefully measured to the inch, my new sink included a “fancy” calking ridge that kept it from fitting in my current hole. Ugh.

Mario to the Rescue! (Super Mario anyone? …sorry, I know).

He ran downstairs and grabbed a reciprocating saw to carve out the extra space. I would have been seriously regretting my decision if I had attempted this alone!

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With only minor damage to the already damaged (and hideous) countertops, he was able to carve out enough space and drop the new sink into place.

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My mom had given me a faucet (that she picked up for herself but no longer needed) and it was a definite upgrade from our old builder-grade faucet. This had a pull-out faucet with wide-spray or aerated options. It wasn’t the newest on the market, but it was an upgrade and it was FREE. Enough said.

By the end of the day, I felt like my kitchen was transformed!! Yes, I know it is just a sink…but it was shiny and deep and big enough to bathe a baby…or a really large stock pot – because apparently that’s how I qualify a good quality sink. ??

For 126.99 (plus the 100 bucks I tipped Mario for saving my DIY project) I…actually Mario, breathed new life into my kitchen! Just look at that beautiful 9 inch depth.

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There’s certainly something to be said for knowing when to bravely DIY and when to step back and call in the professionals. I think I’ll leave the plumbing to the pros for a while…or at least until I move and have more confidence in pipes that don’t look so crazy under my sink.

Here’s hoping I won’t dread doing the dishes anymore! Yeah right, I give it a week tops.

Now about that ice cream sundae…

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