Sunday, July 27, 2008

Kitchen Faucets

Jim and I went to look at kitchen appliances and the remaining fixtures for our kitchen. For once, Jim picked out something that even *I* thought was too much to spend - the Waterstone Towson Gantry faucet, which runs about $1350 for the satin finish. They make a contemporary version that I prefer, but Jim likes the Towson version for its "Dr. Seussness". I think it's too much over budget, but Jim wants to still consider it. Folks, the world has turned upside down!

When we got home, I showed him a faucet I had seen online a few months ago, the Kohler Karbon Articulating Faucet. It has the modern lines we're looking for, and it's about the price I had planned on. My only concern is that I like having a pull-out sprayer, but it looks like the articulating joints allow me to get similar functionality to a pull-out sprayer. I'm going to see if I can find a store that has it on display so we can try it out. The videos on this page provide good demonstrations of it in use, particularly the 6th video down (Karbon Faucet 02:24).

I also need to find a pot filler. The one I've seen online that I like best is the Danze Melrose, and it's actually also the cheapest one out there (see?! the world HAS turned upside-down!) The only thing I don't like is that the stainless steel on Danze faucets is weird. It's not really metal, just metal-like. It's hard to describe - but it's the typical finish of the Moen, etc. fixtures you can get at Home Depot. I'm trying to decide if I can live with that since it is on the back wall. I love the style, and I haven't found any other pot filler style I like that wasn't $700+, definitely more than I want to spend on a pot filler.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Granite, Plan B (or C)

After contacting over a dozen granite suppliers in Houston, I located two that carried Mombasa. Of the two, only one, Stone Pavilion, carries it in 2cm slabs (which is what I prefer to use). Unfortunately, the slabs they have are really dark and are more brown than green, and they don't anticipate getting any more lots of Mombasa this year. They still look nice, but not what I had in mind since I'd found the "perfect" slabs while in Portland. Rachele also voiced concern that they were too dark since I have very little natural light coming into my kitchen.

I went to the second supplier, Arizona Tile, to look at their 3cm slabs. Their Mombasa was much more like the Portland slabs, reading more green than brown and also lighter. Unfortunately, it would cost us $2000 more to use the 3cm vs. the 2cm. Since the 2cm Mombasa was already slightly over budget, we decided to look at alternatives. Yes, I actually got Jim to go with me, even though his opinion doesn't matter ;-)

We separated since I tend to linger, and he returned after five minutes to inform me that he had found a granite I might want to use. He showed them to me, and surprisingly, I did like it. I told him I wanted to look some more before making a decision, however. I walked to another area where sold slabs had been pulled and found a slab I loved. "This is it!" I called over to him, "I like this one a lot more!" He came over, looked at the lot number, and rolled his eyes. Yes, it was the same granite he had shown me - Kodiak. All I can say is that the lighting must have been different in the Sold area...

I made an appointment to come back to select the specific slabs of Kodiak we wanted to use. We were pretty excited because while it was not "Portland Mombasa" (which will be forever elevated in my mind as the gold standard), I liked it well enough for our kitchen. As an additional benefit, it's a less exotic granite and would be $2500 less than using even just the 2cm Mombasa.

So that was this past weekend - cut to today:

I returned to Arizona Tile, and they had pulled slabs waiting for me. This particular lot had a deep, dark vein running through the middle of the slabs, and while I was mulling this over, the salesperson mentioned that I might like Amarillo Gold. They had two slabs left, and she had those slabs pulled for me.

So, after holding up my cabinet door and tile samples up to both granites, I still can't decide. Both the granites work really well with my tile/cabinets, so I couldn't use those as the deciding factor. They're holding both granites for me for now. Some thoughts:


  • More peach tones, which I initially would not think to use but it adds warmth and some of the glass tiles have a peachy/rose tone to them.

  • Lighter than the Amarillo Gold, which is a plus since there's virtually no natural lighting in my kitchen and the cabinets and floors will be dark.

  • Overall "warmer" feeling than the Amarillo.

  • Con: There's a dark vein that goes through every slab in the lot. It doesn't bother me too much, and perhaps can be avoided when they fabricate. The peach tones, I suppose, could be a con.

Amarillo Gold:

  • Appealing color overall - more "neutral". I actually prefer this color, but while not cold, it's not as warm as Kodiak.

  • Con: The slabs have a lot of black running through them, so they're overall darker than the Kodiak. This may be an issue in my dark kitchen, but the island will be predominately cream Silestone material which may balance it out.

  • Con: The Amarillo Gold is one level up from Kodiak and therefore more expensive. I'm not sure how much (waiting for bid), but it's still going to be less than the 2cm Mombasa.

Some pics: