Monday, July 6, 2009

My new bathroom sink

OK, it's no big deal, and it's been two weeks now, but finally, I've the photos, and I just wanted to put these up. Banal, personal, random. Yes, I admit it. Perhaps it's a girl thing? Fixing up a house and putting my personal stamp on it? At long last?

When I purchased my house in Avignon, it had particle-board based tiled surfaces in which were placed sinks -- both in the bathroom and the kitchen. These, were pulling away from the walls, the tiles were buckling, and the faucets were rusting in this ever-worsening environment of spongy woodishness. So, after two and a half years, I at last changed them.

I am very lucky that one of the mainstays of my Avignon existence is a dear and talented plumber (patient and willing) I've known since before Leo's birth. Few friends are so useful.

Changing the kitchen area was pretty easy. It now has two large round sinks, and a lovely wooden work surface -- covered in innumerable coats of organic hard oil. (see earlier post)

The bathroom was another matter. I was inspired by the bathroom choice of friends who live in the Vigan -- up in the Cévennes. They had found a bottom of a hutch, chopped holes in the top, placed their sink(s) and faucet(s) and used the shelves below for toiletries, etc., Neat, funky, personal, and easy, right? There are so many second-hand furniture places in the area, Emaus, Troc de l'île, Troc Souris, etc., that I just figured when it was time I'd make the rounds, pick up a suitable piece of furniture, and voila, it'd be easy. No IKEA neutral modern bathroom for me.

The first step went as planned. I went to three stores before finding a 1930s hutch with a reddish marble top, in a lovely solid red-toned wood. There was a mirror to go with it, and a top cabinet, but these I figured I'd get rid of, and/or deal with once I got the piece home. It was just 150 Euros -- a steal, right?

Once home, the challenges began. My nice round copper sinks (which were the only part of the former arrangement I rather liked) weren't going to fit. The piece was too shallow to take them, and cutting round holes in marble is not an easy or inexpensive task. Okay.

Next step, find a sink that would fit in this particular piece of furniture. Divided in three sections, the center hole (above a nice drawer) was 62x 40. I got onto Google, and away I went. And, I found it. IKEA had a sink that was 61x 41 -- the top measure, the bottom was smaller. So, with Pascale in my passenger seat on her own mission to purchase small rugs to put under yoga mats, off I went for a very long morning to IKEA (it's an hour plus drive from Avignon to the closest IKEA in Vitrolles, just outside of Marseille). Sink in hand, back home I came by 2pm, ready to get to work (or rather supervise said work).

The piece of furniture is too tall to be in the bathroom says Patrice. Hunh? Let's saw off the legs. No biggie, right? Hmmm. Patrice the plumber does as I ask, but grumbles a bit. And the faucet? Oh, can't we use these nice ones that were with the old sinks? Well, IKEA sinks are supposed to go with IKEA faucets, so that's easier said than done. -- Please?

A good bit of time and dexterous scrambling later, all is in place. There are aspects of the arrangement that are really pretty cool -- my bathroom is far "cleaner" than it used to be, with fewer items in view. The red-tinged marble is beautiful and practical. Unfortunately, rather than two sinks there's now only one, which is a shame. However, it is long and thus two people can still brush their teeth at the same time. Patrice tucked a length of oak behind the hutch, to deepen it and permit air space for the plumbing along the wall behind. I brushed a few coats of organic hard oil on it all to protect from splashes, toothpaste, etc.,

The renters -- particularly the Parisian theater artists -- think it's way cool, as did my girls Lucille and Magali before they left. Girlfriends find it lovely. Men go harrumph. JP commented that normally, when you brush your teeth at the sink, your feet go under the piece of furniture, so this would be an issue. Oh. Jonas happily steps onto the IKEA kid stool I've had for ages. So at least for him, the height doesnt' seem to be an issue. And other short people are welcome to use the stool too.

Yes, yet another example of a stubborn and somewhat artsy/funky woman getting her way, with some grumbling yet helpful men alongside. Here's the before and after:

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