DIY kitchen remodel — antique mirror over kitchen sink.
Originally I thought we would end up with something similar to one of these options over the kitchen sink.
I spent a lot of time trying to figure out a solution that I LOVED, that was also practical and kitchen-y… because sometimes I forget the natural order of things and I try to be reasonable.
Once I let go of what I “should” do over the kitchen sink, and embraced what I would LOVE, the solution became obvious: MORE GIANT FANCY THINGS FOR EVERYONE.
I have been looking for a year… And about half that year has been spent reconsidering shelves or cabinets because I couldn’t find anything that was “right.”
At first it was FUN– being “required” to scour the salvage places and spend hours online looking for GFT’s… but the fun wore off about month four.
Looking for something specific/that MUST fit a defined area/that is also a “reasonable” price as defined by my completely UNreasonable experiences scoring antique card catalogs for next-to-nothing/and is hopefully less than a day-of-driving/or we’ll be spending money on having it shipped… good luck.
After a full year of research, here is my report:
Anything AMAZING is $10,000, and definitely too big… and will leave you sad and dissatisfied with your entire life because you visited the holy land and then were forcibly ejected like the peasant that you are.
Anything affordable is a compromise of heroic (and wrong) proportions.
Anything sort-of-acceptable is $3,000… which is FAR too much money for something that makes your soul die a slow and disappointing death of compromise: see below.
The one mirror I did buy prior to this one, wasn’t really the right size… I knew this beforehand, but it was cheap, (and I am a hoarder) and it did me the favor/further-obstacle-to-progress by cementing yet another factor: I was completely inflexible about color… I wanted dark wood to complement the repurposed antique island.
The piano is dark rosewood, and ornate in a style that’s specific to about 1870-1880… it’s also the immediate focal point when you enter the kitchen, and I wanted to complement that.
I think because of The Kingdom Mirror, (and, errrr, the multiple other mirrors,) and because my general life motto is: BRING ME SHINY; you could assume that I think gilding wins all… but actually, my absolute favorite possession/craigslist find is the massive wardrobe we salvaged.
My truest love is Renaissance Revival/ideally around 1870/dark wood/lots of large carving/anything with an Ansonia head/Eastlake if ornate and not just etched with a spoon/never veering into Gothic or Rococo.
I had no idea that finding a mirror that fit these criteria would be SO HARD… (although I certainly knew that once I have a CONCEPT, there will be NO OTHER CONCEPT.)
And once I added the dark wood criteria, it almost didn’t matter if I’d had an unlimited budget (which I didn’t) because size-restriction already made it a nearly-impossible task. … So I started thinking about how we could retrofit something.
Enter the organ phase.
Even without showing Paul, I knew that the arguments against getting an organ are many… and sort of indisputable.
Unless you are an organist.
But, in case you didn’t know? You can buy a SUPER FANCY organ for about $200… which is practically FREE!
Plus, let’s be honest – why would you NOT want to own an organ? Go search your Craigslist! Your significant other can thank me later!
My idea was that we would take the decorative top half, which is usually detachable… and hang that fancy part over the sink… and then turn the base into an addition to my pile of chaos in the garage: the place I store things “I am going to do something with,” that I will never actually do anything with.
OR I could get a blue tuxedo. And also lederhosen. And a bandstand with trumpets. And on Saturday nights, host a Lawrence Welk reunion show where I reprise all of the roles.
I believe this is what is called a win-win situation.
Eventually, after being forced to look at 47,000 organs, Paul got to a point where he said – fine. If we need an organ to move forward, try to stay within a three-state radius.
Then immediately, Self was completely dissatisfied with the organ idea. (Although to be clear – ONLY dissatisfied with organ-over-sink. NOT dissatisfied with the ACTUAL owning of an organ, which will absolutely be happening at some point.)
So I altered “let’s-repurpose-an-organ” to “let’s-repurpose-ANYTHING-THAT’S-FANCY.”
But even I could see that POSSIBLY I would be unhappy with hanging half a sawed-off headboard over my sink.
I was to the point where I was ready to just CHOOSE SOMETHING. Anything. Or go back to cabinets… or just start without a plan (which I said I would NOT DO.)
Forcing Self to WAIT FOR THE THING was maddening. And it made me question my imaginary plan that no one else was quite on board with. And it gave me ample opportunity to mentally explore the fine line between something-you-will-love… and poor-substitute-for-glory-in-the-form-of-half-an-antique-organ.
But as soon as I saw this mirror, I was SPEECHLESS at how much I coveted it; how MAGICALLY it was exactly what I wanted; AND that I would be permitted to go and get it because we NEEDED it.
The frame complements the piano perfectly, it was less than an hour drive, not grotesquely-over-budget, perfect color, size, and the CARVING GIVES ME SEIZURES every time I look at it. (Also, look at the close-up above and you’ll see that the mirror lady is wearing a necklace of invincibility.)
Somehow, miraculously, this is exactly what I wanted: a space that is unexpected and un-kitchen-y, and old and interesting… a space that is FULL of beautiful things that I love.
My expression here sums up how I feel: I cannot even believe how MUCH I love this kitchen.
Now for some details:
1. The four corners of blue tape are marking out an (unpictured) soul-killing option, in Boston… which was seeming more and more like what we were going to end up with.
2. The blue tape is also marking a wall-mount faucet that I AM IN LOVE WITH.
The choice is entirely aesthetic, as I haven’t yet begun my doctorate in spout-reach and faucet aerodynamics… also, YES PAUL TOLD ME you are not supposed to have wall-mount on an external wall, but I guess he thinks I don’t have access to the internet to figure out how to furr out the wall and add insulation.
Ann Marie @ Twice Lovely
November 23, 2015 @ 10:16 am
YOU FOUND THE THING!! SO excited for you!!
November 23, 2015 @ 10:19 am
I suppose it is no accident that your kitchen looks like a VICTORIAn ballroom fit for Queen ELIZABETH and not at all like BARNES or even a common disco!
November 23, 2015 @ 11:10 am
Well played, madame, very well played indeed.
November 23, 2015 @ 10:20 am
Oooo. Oooooo. (and other assorted vaguely sexual moans of pleasure) She is GORGEOUS! Yes, of course she was perfect for the sink wall. You will smile ( or moan – your choice) with pleasure every time you have to rinse the sink. And I will have to live vicariously since my sink wall is like something out of Shirley Valentine. (Hello, wall…)
November 23, 2015 @ 10:21 am
Wow that is absolutely beautiful! How do you find these things??? The shelf on it is perfect as well. Very nice touch. It’s looking good girl 🙂
November 23, 2015 @ 10:23 am
Love your ideas! We will be facing a kitchen remodel in the sometime future and will have to address options for moving the sink from under the window. What program do you use for your layouts? We will definitely need some architectural software for planning our renovations.
November 23, 2015 @ 10:23 am
WOAWWWW – NOW you’re talking, sweetheart. I KNEW it: When you heart beats louder than a drummer band, THAT IS IT and all discussions are over. CONGRATULATIONS; this is über-hot (can’t say cool because it IS piping hot!!!). What a development and what a long and steep trip this was; and now look at what you came up with! I am SO glad for you (and Paul!)
I had – of course – to look up that faucet (I thought a faucet is a bassin) and I was shocked at the shipping costs: $159.36…. until I realised they spoke about sending it to FRANCE where I live! So you might pay marginally less !
I did however pay way more for a similar set of taps in our downstairs bathroom, also for a late Victorian style type stone house which has glorious features and therefore DEMANDS original (if newly made) equipment to shine at its best.
November 23, 2015 @ 10:25 am
I get anxious just reading your updates! Will she find it? Won’t she? Is she going to be disappointed after spending too much money on the wrong thing? is she going to find the exactly right thing for a ridiculously small amount that will make her heart sing???? I relax when I get to the happy ending! I was worried about a sink that doesn’t look out to the world beyond, so I think the mirror is genius. It reflects the interior world….and yours is sublime!
November 23, 2015 @ 10:26 am
So glad you found THE THING. Congratulations! I recently found THE THING for my living room, when I wasn’t even actively looking for it (I mean, I had been off and on for a couple years, but I was taking a break). I don’t have a Paul, so I’ll have to hire someone to retrofit THE THING, but I’m still really happy.
November 23, 2015 @ 10:27 am
Victoria, I love your posts and your treasures. While the treasures are not my style I can certainly appreciate them! The posts however, fill a much more important function. I simply show them to my husband as means of displaying just how far “other husbands” are willing to go for their antique and vintage loving gals! After ANYTHING Paul has done…my requests look minor 😉 Thanks for the help! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
November 23, 2015 @ 10:34 am
I bow to your prowess and tenacity in finding PERFECT giant fancy things! You are the queen perched at the pinnacle of success and the place to which the rest of us lovers of GFT aspire. May you live long and continue to teach the rest of your humble servants…
November 23, 2015 @ 10:36 am
It is perfect! Like a fancy bakery in Paris would have behind counter!
Love the shelf!
Waiting was the right thing! I am always impatient for ideas to come to together!
I bow at your feet in your stead fast resolve to find “IT”!
November 23, 2015 @ 3:41 pm
Gaylin, I think you summed up Victoria’s kitchen perfectly; fancy french bakery in Paris … are you thinking more”Boulangerie” or “Patisserie”?
Arguements could be made for either side and would provide a perfect excuse for Victoria to swan about in a beret and striped shirt. Elvis, of course, is perfect just as she is.
Let them eat cake…
November 23, 2015 @ 10:39 am
You are amazing! Your creativity astounds me. LOVE the mirror! Congratulations!
November 23, 2015 @ 10:39 am
Ok Victoria…..let me get this straight. We are not going down the giant fancy ribbon/bow, mirrored balls by the thousands, garland encrusted with gold leaf and feathers around each and every giant fancy mirror Christmas theme this year??? We are, instead, doing miraculous kitchen that coordinates with the piano turned island which includes a faucet spouting out of an exterior wall we don’t have time or energy for Christmas theme. Some of us LIVE for your Christmas posts. I understand that a kitchen that actually functions would be nice over the holidays, but don’t you think we could be distracted from the non-kitchen by your inspiring and informative holiday posts? Just give it some thought. I know you won’t fail me!
November 23, 2015 @ 10:42 am
I imagine if I walked by your house I would hear ‘Phantom of the Opera’ music coming from the garage. Instead of the angel of music, you have the angel of fancy things.
November 23, 2015 @ 10:43 am
This looks fabulous — perfect with that impressive island.
November 23, 2015 @ 10:44 am
yeah…it’s perfect. You know it, I know it.
November 23, 2015 @ 10:46 am
Chad in the Crooked House
November 23, 2015 @ 10:50 am
You could build out the whole wall to make a ledge to set the mirror on and have the faucet come out of the bump-out. I like how on top of the outrageous fanciness, this mirror gives you a small amount of usable shelf space too.
November 23, 2015 @ 10:51 am
I love this, yes. I am left with this reverse projection, an unaccountable sense of accomplishment when I see that you have made another step towards finishing your kitchen. Your posts are the perfect antidote to TV reality shows where kitchens are popped up in 1/2 hour of screen time, all straight from the big box stores, without any serious conflict. They’re soulless – as if putting a kitchen together is solving a mathematical equation. Which is why I hate to make this boring geometry (and unfortunately structural) point here, and that is, I am worried about the asymmetrical windows, framing your perfectly curated island and mirror.
November 23, 2015 @ 10:52 am
My first thought when I saw the close up of the mirror–that woman looks like YOU. Don’t you think?!?
November 23, 2015 @ 10:57 am
My first thought when I saw the close up of the mirror–that woman even looks like YOU. Don’t you think?!?
(I’m surprised the amazing faucet is nickel, not gold!)