Kitchen stuff, (and some other stuff).
Before I write about the kitchen, I am compelled to explain something off-topic… if you are only here for the kitchen, scroll a bit.
On my post about the sconces, people wondered— how is it REMOTELY possible that Paul would need to convince you to go into that shop!? (Or any shop, for that matter?)
This is actually a question I had intended to answer.
I (inadvertently) brought home the PERFECT photo to explain… but as that sconce-post got longer and longer, I decided— this photo is unnecessary… on so many levels.
But it would’ve helped you understand— SOUTH STREET IS WEIRD.
South Street is an amalgamation of 90’s counterculture, crossed with a dominatrix fetish, crossed with Dungeons and Dragons, crossed with spiky facial piercings, crossed with gargoyle jewelry, crossed with patchouli, crossed with neck tattoos, crossed with cheesesteaks, crossed with occult black magic wizardry.
If I needed to purchase an outfit constructed entirely of latex, hold a séance, or buy horrific items for a bachelorette party… I would go directly to South Street.
It’s like a Bacchanalia.
But held at Spencers.*
*yes, the mall store of gag gifts that I assume must now be closed after being crushed under the psychic-weight of the collective-embarrassment of all humanity.
I apologize in advance now, for asking you to absorb this photo I just googled– to see if my memory was accurate, or if I hallucinated a building with GIANT ANTS plus whatever is happening with that dude’s head.
I am unsure why it is important for me to specify– the ANTS are not a paint-optical-illusion. They are ACTUAL 3d ant sculptures.
Basically what I am saying– I was not kidding about the gimp mask.
Also– the lamp guy has NO sign out front. NO NOTHING. It looks like the place has LONG been out of business. All of the cardboard and crap piled in the entryway… it does not LOOK like an ACTUAL shop. Let alone an antique place. Let alone OPEN.
This made perfect sense to me because it is a FACT that on South Street, EITHER it’s an occult black magic wizardry dominatrix shop… OR IT’S VACANT.
Interestingly though, it turns out that the lamp shop actually IS occult black magic wizardry– I learned this when someone left me a comment that this shop has been closed for TWO YEARS.
And even though I KNOW FOR SURE that is impossible because I just bought the lamps, IN THIS, THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 2019… I still believe this comment. Because I realized– the thing this shop MOST feels like is a ghost-pirate treasure-ship.
I was like– OH! I see! Yes, that makes TOTAL SENSE.
For the kitchen’s all-drawer base cabinets, Paul wants to do four, not three drawers… considering our stuff, he feels it is a better use of space.
He has been going around measuring/investigating our kitchen-items– stacks of plates, mason jars, all that… to figure out the best ratios; similar to when he built the piano drawers– we laid out how/where we wanted the tall/bulky kitchen items, and he designed around them.
I do really like how customizing the storage turned out, so I (THINK?) I am signing on to his theory for the other drawers… he is away for a minute, so I am mulling.
Anyone else do something similar? To be clear, we already have plenty of deep storage for giant pots, the food processor, etc.
New topic: dispenser for RO/instant-hot water.
If I could choose only one technology for the kitchen, it would be reverse osmosis water filtration— we’ve had it forever, use it 1,000 times a day, love it, love it, love it.
We are going to make it even better by adding filtered INSTANT HOT WATER.
Truly, this is the thing I am most excited about!!
I drink an INSANE AMOUNT of tea in winter.
A— I like tea.
B— I am married to a human who believes central heating is for those who lack the appropriate moral compass and also fail to value vigorous, early-morning marching.
It may surprise you to learn– despite all appearances to the contrary, I do actually try to accommodate the core principles of his being.
Plus, my mug is truly enormous, (the MOST GARGANTUAN I could find); so that amount of water takes more than five seconds to boil, which is obviously torture and unacceptable.
I have long purchased bulk bags of loose Peppermint tea leaves… but after reading How Not To Die, which I strongly endorse– I was motivated to incorporate so many EASY nutrition-improvements; example: obviously we all know that green tea is GOOD for us, but I don’t really like it… but UNDERSTANDING has changed my habits– so I now also get a bag of Green Tea and add some in the morning, (green tea has some caffeine, unlike mint.)
I use the biggest strainer I could find (they do come smaller!) but my mug is REALLY REALLY SO SO BIG.
Finding a dispenser for these two different water options— exercise in frustration.
1. must have two handles– for: not-hot, and hot.
2. would prefer unlacquered brass, but– A: really limits options… and B: uncertain I will like two DIFFERENT manufacturer’s brass in such close proximity– our faucet is unlacquered brass, but they do not make a matching dispenser.
All the other kitchen hardware will be unlacquered brass— the drawer pulls, fridge/freezer handle, piano pulls… but they won’t be directly NEXT to the faucet the way the filtration dispenser will be.
3. last-but-not-least I wanted wall-mount… I really wanted to get EVERYTHING off the kitchen counter… to me, the backsplash is the logical location for ALL this stuff… so I spent an INSANE amount of time trying to find a wall mount dispenser– which apparently does not exist… WHY?
I explored trying to DIY what lives in my head, using appropriately-unlacquered materials… but as always, my ideas are superior to anything that actually exists… the idea I liked best was a cross-handle, short wall tap, (do one for each water line)… I still like this idea, ESPECIALLY if I could find a pair of antique taps that I loved… but Paul’s head was melting as I explained.
After going around and around… I got over it and am resigned to a countertop dispenser.
View this post on Instagram
Photo above is this filtration faucet… I like it! BUT it’s $$$$$, and BIG– 10.25″… which brings me to my last consideration: size– if it cannot be a “match” I’d prefer small… no, I cannot get a matching faucet, already got the one I LOVE which is also the only one that works for our sink– explanation is here if you missed.
So I narrowed down to my smallest options, height-wise:
1. at 8″ tall, this Insinkerator is (I THINK) the smallest… I’ve looked at a LOT of specs, everything else is between 9-11″ tall… it’s stupidly expensive, and still have to purchase the hot tank… it does not come in unlacquered, so I would choose chrome or polished nickel?
2. I like this Newport Brass style better than the Insinkerator, it’s similar to above photo, but not as small as Insinkerator, it is less $$$, BUT it is more “look at me” and maybe there is value in LESS-noticeable… but consider this: I can special-order this one in UNLACQUERED BRASS… although to repeat from above, I’m uncertain two different brands will complement each other.
Note: I eliminated anything unbranded/made in China because even though a cheap one on eBay looks good, I’d be concerned about lead or something… Paul and I watched the first episode of the netflix series “broken” and it did NOT inspire confidence!
1. Which style dispenser do you like better?
2. What finish would you choose?
INDEX OF ALL MY BEST ANTIQUE FINDS
INDEX OF ALL KITCHEN STUFF
December 10, 2019 @ 12:36 pm
Did I really think my morning of reclining on my $20 thrift store Ethan Allen sofa (in perfect condition, I might add) could get any better? Nope. But then, I got your email going through the reasons why you might not have been so keen on going into that sconce shop. As I was reading I thought to myself (she is a snob, just like me, that’s why she didn’t want to go into that creepy looking place and besides, anyone who rescues kittens gets a “snob get out of jail free” card, in my clonish opinion).
Love, love, love reading your blog. Thank you.
December 10, 2019 @ 12:49 pm
The video is JUST what I needed on this dark and rainy morning!
December 10, 2019 @ 12:36 pm
Don’t bother with the instant hot water. First of all, to make good tea (or coffee) you really need water that has been brought to a rolling boil. The water coming out of these isn’t hot enough to properly steep the tea. Second, my parents had two of the instant hot water faucets (one in the kitchen and the other for the coffee bar in the master bedroom) in their house and both needed replacing in a fairly short time. They ended up thinking they were a waste of money, but had to fix them so they were in working condition when they sold the house.
December 10, 2019 @ 12:56 pm
Mary Beth, that were my thoughts also.
December 10, 2019 @ 12:57 pm
Should read “those were my thoughts also.” AARGH!
December 10, 2019 @ 3:08 pm
I am a tea drinker and I use an multi temperature electric kettle by Breville. I would t mind a hot water spout but not for tea.
December 10, 2019 @ 3:44 pm
Susan, I have had the same one for two years and use it daily. I LOVE the thing. It’s a bit expensive but I will replace it in a heartbeat should it break I hope I didn’t just jinx myself! Tea really should be brewed at different temperatures depending on the tea. Also, it keeps a whole pot hot for about an hour before it shuts off so I can have more at the ready. If I don’t finish the pot I throw it in the fridge and drink it as iced tea later. It only takes two minutes to boil the pot of tea.
December 10, 2019 @ 4:34 pm
I must politely disagree with Mary Beth and Susan C. I am a lifelong tea drinker, and have a Chinese mother-in-law who is also a tea snob like me. I have used my instant hot water dispenser for tea every day for over twenty years, and we’ve only had to replace it once. I cannot appreciate the difference between tea I make at home lickety-split with my dispenser, and the tea that I make at her home with her kettle. We also use the hot water dispenser for small amounts of hot water to clean surfaces without the need for nasty store-bought cleaners. Works great, sometimes we add a spritz of vinegar. Saves on plastic and avoids chemicals. Good luck with your kitchen remodel, VEB!
December 10, 2019 @ 12:39 pm
Take the finish you’re trying to coordinate with to a showroom, and look at the samples in person of the Newport Brass option. NB has so many variations of brass, one will work.
December 10, 2019 @ 12:42 pm
I think those Insinkerator tap handles look suspicious — like something that would be hard to fix, mounted so close together. I like the Newport Brass, and I’d order the unlacqured brass (and check to see if it’s exchangeable in case you don’t like the finish.) I’m inclined to think it and the faucet would age in such a way that differences would become minute. But I may not be as particular a noticer as some. 🙂
December 10, 2019 @ 12:50 pm
Loved your explanation of the sconce shop – but the real question is why did PAUL want to go in there? He must have been bewitched!
Also, I think that laquer would be very easy to remove – isn’t it? Paint thinner?
December 10, 2019 @ 12:56 pm
Victoria, anything, ANYTHING!, can be re-plated. For less cash than you might think.
Do the fixtures have to be unpolished brass all the way through?
If you find two fixtures that have perfect designs but are chrome or bronze or nickel or whatever, have them re-plated in unpolished brass. This would be especially great if both fixtures were re-plated at the same time.
I bet they could be plated to match the sconces.
Please talk to some of the plating companies in the Philadelphia area before making a decision.
I just googled [Philadelphia copper plating] and you have choices!
December 10, 2019 @ 1:00 pm
[Philadelphia brass plating] will give you wan you want.
We painted the house and garage black and painted the corners, sconces, and garage door copper so copper’s been on my mind.
December 10, 2019 @ 1:55 pm
I was thinking the same. My son plays trombone and all his trombones are lacquered brass. He has one or two he delacquered himself. There are music shops the repair lacquer all the time. I image you could get whatever style you prefer and change the finish for relatively little money. Considering you’ll look at and/or touch this equipment multiple times a day for years, I think this is not the place to compromise.
December 10, 2019 @ 12:58 pm
Ooooo I love the story of the Ghost GiantFancyThing Shop! It appeared for you, just like the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter. A Room of Requirement for GFTs makes perfect sense to me!
And it sounds like South Street has become…. even more so (since my PhilaPA days in the late 80s!)
As for the faucets, I think that as long as they are both vintage in style and both unlacquered brass you will be fine, for the very reason that the brass will become patina’d over time, and any discrepencies in color will sort of work themselves out. Does that make any sense?
Thanks for another lovely post!
December 10, 2019 @ 1:03 pm
Before you commit to unlaquered brass finishes, especially with hot water taps, please read up on copper (brass is a copper alloy) poisoning. Here’s an article which mentions tea, specifically: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK225400/
…”Semple al. (1960) reported an outbreak of copper poisoning from ingestion of tea that was contaminated with copper sulfate scale deposited in the water used to make the tea. The authors estimated that the total copper in the suspension was 44 mg/L….”
December 10, 2019 @ 9:28 pm
Interesting. Why are they making copper compression socks, gloves, and jock-straps?
My eye doctor even put me on copper supplements every day.
People are replacing their lead plumbing with copper due to lead poisoning (see Flint).
December 10, 2019 @ 1:04 pm
Idon’tknow Idon’tknow Idon’tknowwwwww!!!!! I trust your judgment. And Paul’s of course.
December 10, 2019 @ 1:04 pm
My son made me promise to go find that shop of lights several years back and I did and won’t forget it ever. I was in heaven. There was an elderly man behind the counter and he was ready to talk about any parts of his prized collection. It was great!
December 10, 2019 @ 1:07 pm
Hello! I love your blog and enjoy reading your exploits. i did get goosebumps when you found out the sconce shop had been closed for 2 years. It seemed like a twilight zone moment, like it was open just for you!
I think you should go with the faucet that matches everything else as closely as possible, although, i do like the really expensive one! I do not like the smallest one, it looks cheesy and definitely not Giant Fancy. Also, you could consider an electric kettle that you could store away until needed and keep one more thing off your counter top. I don’t think they’re instant, but close to it.
there is my 2 cents for what it’s worth. thanks for thinking and saving the kitties, more people should be as caring as you!
December 10, 2019 @ 1:08 pm
I would forget about the instant hot water tap altogether, although my vote is for the Newport Brass if you ignore my suggestion to not buy an automatic hot water dispenser. Different teas require different temperatures for proper brewing. I have a Kitchenaid tea/hot water kettle (https://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-KEK1322SS-Electric-Kettle-Stainless/dp/B01FSLQL4E?psc=1&SubscriptionId=AKIAILSHYYTFIVPWUY6Q&tag=duckduckgo-ffsb-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B01FSLQL4E) that we all love that has different temperature settings! We use it to make our own blend of herbal tea and I use it in the morning to heat water for my French Press. It takes only a few minutes to heat the water. And it costs much less than the dispenser and the hot water works you would be buying. It also has a really pleasant chime.
December 10, 2019 @ 1:15 pm
You are a brave woman, South Street scares me… I do not have the ability to (even with prodding) walk into any of those weirdo stores. I am so sorry you couldn’t find a wall mounted option 🙁 I saw the Insinkerator (are you invading a small country with that name???) does come in brushed brass… What is that? it doesn’t sound fancy! I am sure your inner diva will tell you which is the best 🙂
December 10, 2019 @ 1:19 pm
Any update on the induction cooktop?
December 10, 2019 @ 1:25 pm
Why not remove lacquer? Martha Stewart says it’s easy (see you tube)—just soak in acetone & use very fine steel wool if necessary
December 10, 2019 @ 1:28 pm
Hello VEB, We, too, have an amazing Ali Baba’s cave of lamps and things. It is in a pretty crappy part of Riverside, close to several autombile chop shops and other places I would rather not go. However, this place is worth the trip IF they are open. It is owned by two elderly brothers who open it when they feel like it. You must call ahead but then they only answer the phone when they feel like it.
Chances are that every city has some strange and amazing stores in strange and amazing places. Always an interesting hunt!
December 10, 2019 @ 1:29 pm
I thought the biggest benefit of Induction cooking (ie the cooktop you’re getting!) is that it boils water “instantly”? Buy yourself a pretty stove-top kettles and… voila!
December 12, 2019 @ 5:23 am
This is true. But a kettle seems more like clutter than beautiful faucets pleasingly located.
Patricia Ann T
December 10, 2019 @ 1:35 pm
“HN2D” advocates hibiscus 🌺 tea as I recall
(+ flax seeds). South Street is one weird carnival to traverse for a deadly steak & ‘wiz @ Jimmy’s.
December 10, 2019 @ 1:52 pm
I have a Christmas wish from you and Paul. Considering the profound microscopic attention to teeny tiny details you & Paul bring to every decision,and Paul’s ability to bring genius into every build/rebuild effort. I want you to run for President and Vice-not Vice as in South Street,vice as assistant to the boss -since you must be in control and I think Paul is indifferent to control issues as long as everything is on time on budget-you must be Boss. If you can put this into execution just a wee bit more quickly than the completion of the KITCHEN-I believe you can save the planet and We the people. Thanks for the wit & all the guffaws when life becomes weary,dreary,full of fear-ee. I always smile from ear to ear when I see your posts. Joyous holidays to all.
December 10, 2019 @ 1:56 pm
Your posts are always a pleasant escape. Today was no exception as I rabbit trailed over to electric tea kettles and found a bday gift for my husband who, like yourself, always has a mug nearby. There are some attractive editions out there–Will there really be NOTHING on your counters?? Your patience to get exactly what you want is inspiring. You are certainly building our anticipation for your completed kitchen.