My son is home for the holidays. Jeffrey returned from Kingston's RMC (Royal Military College) for the three weeks which surround the holiday season. As you could imagine, his life is very active as he balances his duties as an emerging Officer with those of his academic education. When he's home, and the initial hugs, kisses and home-cooked meal have been masterfully executed, his game plan becomes that of keeping his mind and hands busy during three weeks leave at the home front. Last summer he removed and replanted my back yard, transforming it from the Garden of Weedin' to Splendor in the Grass.
I've mentioned before how Jeffrey is a sharp observer. This year his eyes turned to my bathroom sink. A couple of years ago, something sharp and heavy fell into the sink, causing a small nick in the porcelain finish. At first only a minor amount of rust formed but over the months, and now years, the full front portion of the basin, from the overflow hole right down to the drain has rusted, and smells poorly, inevitably evoking a gag reflex while brushing ones teeth.
Jeffrey, in his quest to keep busy during his time off, decided to change the sink in my bathroom. It sounded like a fine, and much appreciated plan. We live in a very small, decor-challenged townhouse, and the only sink that would fit the pre-existing cabinet was a nineteen inch, circular basin. The other fixtures in the room are bone/almond/beige - whatever the latest term is for not quite white. We went to the store, and found that those sinks only existed in white now. I was willing to sacrifice colour but, Jeffrey was anxious to do more than a one hour project. He hinted at my going to Frank's for a couple of days before starting his project so that I wouldn't be looming over him, wincing occasionally, or asking too many questions. I agreed, but before leaving we took a look around at what products might replace my current sink and cabinet.
There were all-in-ones which looked fine, but were too wide for the small 22" space that needed to be filled. To complicate matters, the heating vent sits on the floor, right on the edge of that 22" space making it impossible for a larger cabinet to overlap. We began to consider pedestal sinks and a different means for storage such as an over-the-toilet cabinet. Jeffrey knew the logistics, and so I left it in his capable hands and went to visit Frank for a few days.
When you remove a long-standing structure from the corner of the room, you quickly realize that neither the walls behind it, nor the floor beneath it will match the rest of the room. We discussed the placement of similar but contrasting tiles under the skin area and maybe building it up with a trim so that it looked like it was meant to be. Jeffrey purchased materials to wainscot that small corner of the room, and he selected what he thought would be a nice pedestal and basin. He set to work.
Tiling the exposed area of the floor was not working out, so Jeffrey pulled up the tiles from the rest of the room, revealing very old linoleum below. That too, had to come out since it was being ripped at in bits and pieces with the removal of the tiles. Beneath the linoleum was a floor board. It was in bad shape, having all but rotted through, close to the tub and toilet. Jeffrey ripped up the old, and purchased, cut and hammered down news floor boards. He then re-tiled the room with a pattern and colour similar to what I'd had before. He was in the middle of this process when I arrived home from my three days at Frank's place.
The following day, Jeffrey planned to focus on the wainscotting but I eyed the boxes in the front hall and we decided to open the one which contained the basin to see how it would look. Crap! The pedestal, being narrow in nature would have surely fit the 22" space with ease, but the top portion was a monster, and we could scarcely squeeze past it while entering the door. At that time, it also occurred to me that the pipes on the 19" wall were hardly centered, and actually sat at about 1/3 of the way from the left edge of the wall. A pedestal sink was not going to work. Back to the drawing board.
We returned to the store, where they graciously took all unneeded items back for a refund (except for the wainscotting which were opened at some point), and we focused on trying to make that 24" all-in-one cabinet and basin work in a 22" space. We found a heating vent that only required an inch and a quarter to lift up and out, and we found flexible piping so that the water and drain pipes would allow the cabinet to yield to a two inch lift off of the floor. The cost of the unit was 25% less than when we first laid eyes on it, so we took that as a cue that this was the right piece, regardless of the fact that it was now non-refundable.
It was reasonably easy to set up. Jeffrey read the instructions and I followed his directions of "hold this," "don't move it" and "can you lift and pull?". We put it into the small space provided before attaching the front panel and saw that the overlap was exactly as expected and really not bad. BUT then came the all-in-one basin and counter top which they did NOT include in the dimensions on the box. This lovely piece was exactly two inches wider than the cabinet, forcing it to sit two inches forward and to the left from each of the cornered walls. From above, that looked just fine, but the 24 inch space for which I had compromised mild aesthetic displeasure had now become a 26 inch tank sitting in the corner of the room. I had a moment of panic when the door would not shut past it, but realized that if I pushed it all the way back into the wall as far as it could go, I had a generous 1/16th of an inch leeway.
It's overpowering and large, and is going to take a lot of getting used to. But I have a functioning sink, with plenty of storage below. I have a son who has acquired a few new skills, to which I was mostly-willing to be his guinea pig. Most importantly, I have a son with a kind, generous nature. He is a gift all year round. And he's a hands-on exhibitor. Who else do you know who is so dedicated, to be willing to orchestrate a live demonstration of the term "mission creep?"
Wishing You All A Healthy and Happy New Year!
Below are a few photos taken during the holiday season. Please remember to click each one to enlarge.
Late one afternoon, just before Christmas, I accompanied Frank to get his tree. The golden sun was setting as he secured it to his car. (please click to enlarge)
All wrapped up and ready to go. (please click to enlarge)
On the way back to his place, the sunset provided a colourful backdrop, against the silhouette of the stop sign reflected in the side mirror. (please click to enlarge)
During a walk along the path, Benny keeps hopping at one of his favourite activities - jumping for a stick. (please click to enlarge)
And catching it. (please click to enlarge)
Fluffy snowflakes dust a freshly-frozen portion of the creek, creating a speckled pattern. (please click to enlarge)
Up close, you can see how they have formed into clusters. (please click to enlarge)
Back home, a walk around the lake with Benny. He paused briefly to allow me to take this shot of a mourning dove, perched nicely on a bench. (please click to enlarge)
I also wanted a serene photo of the ducks and geese which were calmly roosting on the ice, but Benny preferred an action shot. (please click to enlarge)
On Christmas morning, the fresh falling snow beckoned me to take a walk. Branches were heavy. (please click to enlarge)
The sky was mostly overcast but I glanced toward this mini-stream and saw the golden reflection of the hazy sun. (please click to enlarge)
Looking up, I could see that the sun broke through the heavily-clouded sky just long enough to peek between the branches of this tree. (please click to enlarge)