Friday, July 5, 2013

Produce Cabinet

As part of our kitchen cabinet design, and at our request, our cabinet maker built a produce cupboard so we could have very easy access to our potatoes and onions. His design was to be an open cupboard with drawers, the bottoms of which would be very similar to Masonite pegboard only with larger holes. These holes would allow air to circulate thus extending the storage life of our spuds.

After Mel installed all of the cabinets, I decided we needed to have a door on the cupboard because I didn’t really like the look of the open cupboard. Mel returned to Logan and built the requested door.

In the meantime, our friend, Pat, was visiting. While we talked about the produce cupboard, she suggested we use the metal we had purchased and make the face of the cupboard door like the old tin pie safes of bygone days. I hadn’t even considered this application, but once Pat suggested it, we knew that was exactly what we needed. I called Mel immediately and described our new plan. He graciously removed the center of the cabinet door so we could replace his beautiful hickory with our metal.

Had I thought about it enough, I would have devised a beautiful pattern of flowers or leaves or some fanciful folk art involving cats or harvest scenes. Instead I made a geometric pattern of small, offset circles because, when doing something for the very first time (other than building a timber frame, strawbale house) simple is usually best.

First we drew a grid and pre-marked all of the drill points with a center punch.

Next I used a small bit and drilled holes.

Using a larger bit, I drilled holes to the desired diameter.

Scott used the belt sander to smooth the back of the metal so no one would get cut on sharp edges.

Scott applied silicone to the cabinet door and we inserted our metal.

Not bad.

Anyone for potato salad?

Office Space

Scott is a freelance photographer. (You can see some of his work at For years he has been working in the basement of our Cache Valley house which was built in 1981. That was before the era of computers, scanners, light tables, laser printers and the continually growing array of equipment needed for the 21st century photographer. The age of that house has a direct correlation to the number of cords that are plugged into outlet strips. At last count, Scott had 27 pieces of hardware that required electricity. If the fire marshal inspected his office, I’m certain he would issue several warnings and maybe even a citation or two.

Since we will be moving Scott's business to Torrey, we planned for an office with plenty of space and an abundance of outlets. The fire marshal will have no need to worry about too many cords and too few receptacles.

The office is another place where we have employed that beautiful painted metal from

Here you can se the many outlets that will accommodate Scott's equipment. The other side of the work station has the same outlet capacity - 48 in all.

I think Scott is looking forward to working in this space...nothing at all like the basement in Logan.


When Scott and I first discussed house plans with our architect, one of the many things we talked about was the way guests enter our home. I hadn’t ever thought about this before. I just figured people walk up to the front door, ring the bell and you let them in. But after those early  conversations with Wayne, I realized that the path guests take to get from the public outside to the private inside of your house should be planned. After all, family, friends and visitors are on a journey of sorts as they travel from the greater world to your private part of it. It makes sense to provide an entry that welcomes them. For us, that meant  creating a space with a place to sit and a rack to hang coat or hat  - essentially a transition from out to in.

A large window seat made from local stone offers guests a seat. We created the coat and hat rack by covering the face of the kitchen cabinet which forms one wall of the entryway with the metal we purchased from

The tricky part of the entry affair was the spot where the metal facade abuts the plaster wall and the stone window seat. To make certain there would be a nice intersection of the three materials, I made a cardboard template matching all of the curves and angles of stone and plaster.

Then we transferred the lines of the template to the metal, cut along the lines.

VoilĂ . It fit!

The wall is 48 inches tall. The metal comes in 36-inch widths. A piece of trim cut from our left-over timber frame wood covered the seam between the 36-inch and 12-inch metal sections.

As a final step, I had a small collection of old doorknobs, which Scott screwed into the 2X4 nailers behind the wood trim.

This is our new coat and hat rack.

Rusted Metal Roofing

Every fall, my sister-in-law and I always go to the Parade of Homes in Cache Valley. When we began this tradition, Barbara was remodeling her house after a fire and was looking for home decorating ideas. I went because it is always fun to be with Barbara. Recently, at least since Scott and I have begun building our house, I’m also looking for ideas.

In one of last year’s homes, the homeowner had covered the back of the wet bar with corrugated metal. I absolutely fell in love with the idea. Since the back of our kitchen counter needed some sort of facade, this seemed the perfect place to use that corrugated metal idea. But I didn’t want shiny silver metal. I wanted rusted metal that had been sitting on a farmer’s barn roof for years and years.

Since no farmers were knocking on our door, offering us the roof off their barns, I resorted to the shopping mall to the universe - the internet. There I found plenty of silver, galvanized roofing material, but nothing pre-rusted. Apparently farmers don’t sell their barn roofs on the internet either.

Eventually I came across Their product was exactly what we needed. It had the look of rusted metal, without the mess that, on occasion, accompanies shedding rust. The product we chose was metal painted in a pattern that mimics the look of rusted metal. We could get corrugated or flat. We chose flat. The metal is a heavier gauge than most corrugated roofing materials and less expensive. We could afford to use this in three places in the house - the entryway, the kitchen and in Scott’s office.

That Sinking Feeling

Scott and I have had lengthy conversations about the treatment we want for the kitchen counter as well as the composition of our sink. We finally decided upon a tile counter and a stainless steel sink, but that isn’t the focus of this post. This post is about the sink we required to accommodate tile and the challenge involved in finding said sink.

When my mom and dad built their house, Mom chose an undermount sink. Every time I watched her finish up a cooking project, she easily cleaned up her messy counter by brushing crumbs and other food preparation materials into the sink. Of course, we all see this everyday, but the great thing about Mom’s sink was there was no lip on it. At least it didn’t catch bread crumbs, or avocado skins or corn silk on the edge the way my Logan sink does. That’s because Mom had an undermount sink. I had never seen one of those before, but now I knew that was exactly the kind of sink we had to have in our Torrey house.

Great! We had made our decision and only had to purchase the necessary supplies. The thing about our tile counter is that we require an undermount sink with a flange that has 90 degree angles at each corner. This could be used in our tiled-under installation. We didn’t realize this was such a difficult thing to find, but after a long quest on-line and at plumbing supply companies, we realized that most undermount stainless steel sinks have flanges with corners clipped to 45 degrees or rounded at a large radius rather than the 90 degrees we needed.

We spent a great amount of time looking at everything available on-line and finally found Models 440258 (aka model 501-306)  by Blanco. This stainless steel sink received 5-star ratings from everyone who had purchased it AND it was on sale. Because we could fairly easily return the sink if it didn’t work out, we decided to buy it from Home Depot which is only 1 1/2 hours from Torrey. However, before ordering, Scott doubled-checked the sink’s specifications on the Blanco webset.

This is the specification sheet directly from the Blanco website. Yes, there is a disclaimer stating Blanco cannot guarantee dimensions. However, we thought the sink photo showing a 90-degree flange, plus a drawing showing the same would mean the sink actually had a 90-degree flange.

We need to have the kitchen counter finished by July 14, so we immediately ordered the Sink-Of-Our-Dreams and waited for it to arrive via our local UPS man, Dave. In no time at all, Dave brought it to our door. We opened the outer box, lifted out the inner box.

We noted the picture of our sink (with 90-degree corners) on the label and dragged the thing out.

Oh no!

It was actually a sink with clipped corners. Not the sink of our dreams after all.

Scott called Home Depot who sent Dave back to take it away. We both called Blanco to talk about the misleading specifications sheet. They didn’t seem very interested in the conversation, explained they have never made sinks with 90-degree corners on the flange. To date, they haven’t changed their website.  The sink is probably the perfect sink for some people. Unfortunately the Blanco company itself, or at least it’s customer service branch, receives all thumbs down from us.

We subsequently ordered a sink from Water Creations. Scott called the company before we sent them any money. The nice lady who answered the phone listened as he described our previous sink purchase experience. She actually said, “Wait a minute while I look and see.”Soon she was back on the phone verifying the sink really had 90-degree corners just like it said on their website. That sink is now sitting in our house waiting to be snugly fit into our soon-to-be-finished tile counter. Thumbs up for Water Creations!

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

After all of the tile was complete, the only thing we needed to finish the bathroom was a mirror. Even though two of our major goals have always been to have local people help us and to use only local materials, there are no glass installers in Torrey. So, once again, we needed to call upon Jones Paint and Glass in Cedar City to manufacture, transport and install our mirror.

When they were here for our shower glass, Mike and  Blair measured the wall space for the mirror and indicated they would need to bring the large piece of glass to Torrey and then cut the openings for lights and outlet on site. That worked for us and it seemed to work for them as well.

Here they cut the outlet opening.

Blair sands the edges of the mirror.
Blair applies mastic to glue the mirror to the wall.

It takes both Mike and Blair to move the mirror from the living room to the bathroom.

Next they pressed the mirror into place.

Scott set the lights in place, affixed the outlet and its cover plate and made a threshold from left over wood. Our bathroom is now done!