Kitchen Update: Plumbing and Grout!

Sorry I haven’t posted since, uh, since–Thursday. Wow, it has been a few days. They passed in a blurr of pain and suffering, so I wasn’t too sure when the last time I wrote had been.

Morganna and I had some sort of vile stomach virus. (Are there any other kind of stomach viruses besides vile? I don’t think so. I think they are all pretty darned well disgusting, though I suppose some are more hideous than others.) So, instead of catering a party this weekend and cooking lots of neat stuff and writing about it, I was flat on my back, either trying to sleep the fever off or camped out in the bathroom wishing that I could just die and be done with.

So, I didn’t get to post these lovely pictures on Friday–because that is when both of us fell sick. (Zak, thus far, has been spared. We don’t know why the Gods favor him so, but Morganna and I are quite jealous.)

Anyway–here is what was done on Friday: as you can see to the right, I now have faucets and a sprayer for my gigantic sink. And you can also see, if you look closely, that the grout is done on the tile.

To the left is a close-up of the faucet set. We chose the oiled bronze to match the bronze hardware on the cabinets. (I also ordered the bronze Arts & Crafts switchplate covers on Thursday–they should be in in about a week or so.)

We chose bronze because it is a nice, warm, natural looking color. I am not fond of yellow brass, and chrome was just too cool or cold looking to be right for the colors we chose for the kitchen. The entire idea was to give the feeling of bringing the woods that you can see outside the window inside the house, so that is why we have so many shades of green, brown and black in the room.

Being as we have gone with an Arts & Crafts Movement feeling and look for the room, and considering the very retro look of the AGA stove, both Zak and I felt that a vintage-looking set would be the best fit with the room, so we went with this lovely faucet set from Danze. I like the combination of straight lines and curves in this set–the old-fashioned cross-shaped tap handles contrast beautifully with the arching curve of the faucet itself.

If you look at the picture to the right, you can see the graceful arcs of tree-limbs in the view from the windows–this is what I wanted to echo with that curved faucet. Those branches are broken up and bracketed by the straight columns of the window-frame–lines that are echoed in the cabinetry, while the branches themselves are called back to mind in the arcs and whorls of the heavy grain of the oak.

As for colors–the grout is a greenish grey–the exact color of lichen, which is also prevalent outside the window. The walls are a spring green, the green cabinets are the color of moss, and the wall tiles and countertops are variagated with all the colors of the room. The floor tile–it is the color of the red clay soil of southern Applachia–and it happens to bring out the reddish highlights in the oak cabinetry, and the reddish shade of the bronze. As for the black appliances and sink–they call to mind two minerals very important in southestern Ohio–coal and flint.

However, as much as I adore the aesthetic considerations for the kitchen, I also am just as in love with practical mechanical aspects of it.

Friday, the Insinkerator garbage disposal and the water filtering system were installed under the sink, and they work perfectly.

I do tend to prefer composting kitchen scraps, and when the summer returns, will start another compost heap, but for the stuff that clings to plates and pots, I like a disposal. The former kitchen had no such amenity.

I do love living in Athens–the man who did the tile told me that he was good friends with the people who sold us this house and was telling them all about how we were redoing the kitchen. Ken said he might have to stop by just to see it. I told the tile expert to tell him I said that was fine, he was welcome, but that I hoped he would wait until everything was finished so he could see it to full effect.

On Monday, the under-cabinet lights should be installed and the power supply and gas line for the stove will likely be recessed into the wall, in preparation for the delivery and installation of the appliances on Tuesday and Wednsday.

And then, with the exceltion of little things like the switchplate covers and the telephone, the kitchen will be finished and ready to roll.

Now, if only I could stop being so damned dizzy so that I can cook us dinner tonight.

Maybe something bland and simple.

Like tofu, greens and rice.


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  1. Barbara,

    I just wanted to let you know I really enjoy reading your views on the food industry (i.e. farm to market and processed foods).

    Your essays are quite articulate and well written out (even if you don’t think they are–THEY ARE).

    You’re take on the Jamie Oliver lamb issue was an excellent critique of the hypocrices (I can’t spell, Argh!) in our modern relationship with food.

    I have similiar issues with the food industry, but my thoughts are too muddled at this point to publish them (maybe at some point). Living in an urban environment full time has made it quite a challenge at times to find good nutritious fare on a student’s budget.

    Anyway, keep it up. I look forward to future critiques!

    Comment by Rose — December 4, 2005 #

  2. Rose is quite right. I enjoy your essays too and I love reading them although they take me quite a time to read. :o)

    I hope you are felling well again?

    I just wanted to say that your new kitchen look so lovely and fine you’d have much fun cooking in it, won’t you?!

    leaving very warm greetings from vienna *without any snow now*

    Comment by astrid — December 4, 2005 #

  3. Why, thank you, Rose–your kind words mean a lot.

    Have no fear–I will keep writing my critiques and essays–I still have in mind several that I haven’t gotten around to writing yet.

    The issue of Jamie Oliver and the lamb just hit me in the middle of my forehead, and made me wonder why in the world people are willing to eat meat, but not come to terms with the fact that it comes from a once-living animal. I cannot conceive of such a viewpoint–it goes against my own experience. And I suppose, that because my family experiences were all very close to the source of food, I get confused by people who do not have similar understandings because they never saw or heard about the process of how a lamb is turned into lambchops.

    I guess I was lucky to grow up as I did, with one foot in the city, and one in the country, so that I did learn that food does not originate in the grocery store! A lot of other people do not have the benefit of those experiences.

    I guess that is why I feel so compelled to write about thees things–so I can share out my own experience, and give people a taste of it, I suppose. I think that being ignorant of where food comes from and how it is processed is sad–knowing these things is valuable to all people.

    Anyway–I am glad to know you are enjoying my essays and writings. Have no fear–I will keep writing on these subjects–they are near and dear to my heart.

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — December 4, 2005 #

  4. Thank you, Astrid–I am better, but still not 100 percent well. It seems that the fever retreats before the digestive system is back to normal. This happened with Morganna yesterday–she thought she was well and she got up from bed, and moved around and did stuff, but ended up with a relapse.

    She is very hopeful that she can go back to school tomorrow–she doesn’t want to miss another day.

    As for the kitchen–I cannot wait to start cooking in it! Yesterday, and the height of the sickness, when I couldn’t even sit up to type, I laid in bed and was very sad that I couldn’t even conjure up a tiny speck of enthusiasm at the though of cooking in the new kitchen.

    However, today, I feel well enough that I can imagine it.

    And I am sorry you have no snow–we have a sprinkling of it over ice from the frozen rain.

    Which is pretty enough, as it coats all the bare tree branches in crystal, but is awful to walk or drive in.

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — December 4, 2005 #

  5. well–I hope you both will recover soon. :o)
    It is quite foggy here, but no snow and not the silightest sign of ice anywhere.
    They say it might snow thursday or so… We will see then.

    About the Jamie O. thing: you’re right. People do not want to know where their meat comes from and that it was part of a living creature bevore it became a “steak” or something else.
    In my childhood we had animals ourselves and they were slaughtered to be eaten too. But as we were children my granpa told me that this is the way of life and he was a very kind and handsome person. We did not like it, but we accepted it as a part of lifecicle.
    I do not eat very much meat these days, but I thik we should all keep in mind where our meat comes from!

    best whishes and happy cooking in your new kitchen :o)

    Comment by astrid — December 4, 2005 #

  6. Thank you again, Astrid–I am sure everyone will hear all about the adventures of cooking in the new kitchen starting late next week!

    I also wanted to tell you how much I appreciate that you do read my very long posts, especially the essays–the fact that you, and others, for whom English is not a native language, do read these posts means a lot to me.

    It tells me that not only does what I have to say mean something to someone else–it tells me that it means enough that they are willing to struggle a bit to read it.

    Also, when people from very different cultures and countries read the same essays I write and agree–this also tells me that I am writing something that is of value to others.

    And that tells me that I should keep writing.

    And so, I shall.

    Thank you Astrid. I do hope you get snow on Thursday. (We are supposed to have real snow this week, too–but I will not hold my breath. Here in Athens, we tend to get our biggest snows in February, or oddly enough, as late as March and April!)

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — December 4, 2005 #

  7. Barbara, I’m so sorry to hear you were ill!

    That said, I am ill with envy at the thought of a gorgeous Aga stove! What a gorgeous kitchen – I love the thought that obviously went into the colors.

    I really hope you feel better soon and can start using it. In the meantime, take comfort in the fact that it is spotlessly clean, something mine NEVER is!!

    Comment by Meg — December 5, 2005 #

  8. Okay, I know I don’t even like to cook but… *picks up your kitchen and steals it, a la Carmen Sandiego*

    The more it comes together, the nicer it looks. It’s a rather droolworthy room…

    Comment by Karyl — December 5, 2005 #

  9. Hi Barbara – Hope for a quick recovery. Can’t wait to see what you cook up in your kitchen.

    Comment by Kirk — December 5, 2005 #

  10. Barb, your kitchen is turning out beautifullly! Im jealous!!

    Its been long since we had a recipe from you, can’t wait!!

    Comment by Meena — December 5, 2005 #

  11. barbara, i just want you to know i love your writing and views and ideas, especially on chinese cooking, i’m a chinese and i know less than you. you inspired me to further explore my own roots in every way and especially in food. do keep on writing, i simply love your site.

    Comment by rokh — December 5, 2005 #

  12. Meena–I haven’t cooked much that was interesting because I was so sick. (No one wants to eat anything when they have a stomach bug. Not even Morganna, the growth spurt queen.) But, a recipe will be coming soon, I promise!

    Rokh–thank you. I am very touched by your words, and I hope that you do explore your culinary and cultural roots further. I will be posting more about Chinese food again soon, though this month will probably be much taken up with holiday baking recipes.

    I always found it interesting that when I taught Chinese cooking in Columbia, Maryland, that so many of my students were Chinese-American. At first, it made me horrendously shy, because I felt somewhat foolish teaching someone about their own culture. But as several of them said to me later, they hadn’t learned these recipes from their grandparents when they had a chance, and so I was helping them to rediscover their own history and roots. It touched me deeply to be able to do this, to kindle this desire to learn their own history in my students, and in a way, it made me very careful to be in every way respectful and careful in my explorations of Chinese food and culture.

    Karyl–you know, you can always come visit the kitchen, live and in person. 😉 But, it is too big to stick in a pocket and go, I am afraid. And the stove will be way too heavy to think about doing that. Cast iron will do that.

    Kirk–I cannot wait to share the first recipes that get cooked there!

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — December 5, 2005 #

  13. Barbara, I hope you and Morganna are feeling better by now. Sorry, I didn’t check your site for quite few days and didn’t know that you are going though stomach flu.

    I love the floor colour, Barbara. I think it will look warm and inviting during cold winter months when there is not that much Sunlight out there.

    Comment by Indira — December 5, 2005 #

  14. Indira–you are absolutely right. That is part of why I wanted the reddish color in the floor–to reflect back the warmth of the sun.

    I think that Morganna and I are fine now. My insides still feel a little wobbly, but they seem to be getting better. She is fine–starving, though, because she is growing and didn’t really eat for days. So, she ate a huge supper, and still had some cookies after that, and then more broccoli.

    Comment by Barbara Fisher — December 5, 2005 #

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