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Brookhaven/Starmark Cabinet Question

posted by: 35ftcabo on 10.25.2011 at 05:28 pm in Kitchens Forum

I know currently these two companies have good reps. The KD at one design center is saying that it doesn't matter if Brookhaven has the particle board sides - it's made well and the particle board can be stronger than plywood. The other KD is selling the Starmark (free upgrade to all plywood box). The Starmark is coming in $5000 less than the Brookhaven. The interior decorator helping me never heard of Starmark and has Brookhaven cabinets. Need help - Any thoughts?

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clipped on: 10.25.2011 at 08:14 pm    last updated on: 10.25.2011 at 08:14 pm

Life with soapstone--patina pictures galore

posted by: bayareafrancy on 08.04.2008 at 03:27 pm in Kitchens Forum

I've been wanting to post these pictures for so long, but I've had horrible "soapstone elbow" from obsessive oiling, and I haven't been able to type much.

I don't baby this stone at all. In fact, I don't even use cutting boards very often (simply because I have a teeny kitchen with no good place for them). This is terrible for my knives, of course, but I like the nicks and scratches on the stone.

I have 2 kinds of 'wear' on my counter. One that I love, and the other that I don't love!

What I love are the marks of usage--scratches, dings, teeny chips. I want more and more of those. I'm restoring an 80 year old kitchen, and I want the counter to look as old an used as the rest of the kitchen.

Everyday look in my main (teeny) work area (you can see lots of fine white knife marks and scratches):
Photobucket

Another view:
Photobucket

After oiling (beautiful, but leads to pesky water marks, rubber marks, etc. as soon as I start using it)
Photobucket

What I don't love are the water marks! Argh, those pesky water marks! They drive me batty. They are only a problem if I oil the stone. If I leave it gray, the only thing that "stains/marks" it is oil (cooking oil, butter, etc.) but that can be washed off, The water marks mostly happen when something hot (like a dish right out of the dishwasher, or a lid from an in-use pot) is placed on it. The hot item seems to "steam clean" the bee's oil right off the stone. I can't figure out any solution to this.

Removed hot dish from microwave, placed lid here:
Photobucket

But the water marks I don't quite understand come from non-hot items. If the stone is freshly oiled, and I place a wet drinking glass on it, it will leave a ring. The ring (if faint) sometimes fades in a day or two, but not usually. Actually, I don't think think the ring is actually fading. I think the oiled area is fading to match the ring.

Photobucket

Water marks from regular glasses of water, and drips/puddles (these drive me batty). Am I the only one who gets these?:
Photobucket

Oh--the other thing that leaves rings is anything absorbent that can lift the oil out of the stone. So, I get a ring under my ceramic compost jar (the ceramic is unsealed on the bottom). Or flour spilled on the counter. Or rubber bottomed shoes (e.g. if I stand on the counter in sneakers or crocs, it will leave tread marks that won't go away until oiling. Or if I sit an appliance with rubber feet on the counter, it leaves footprints.)

All of these marks disappear with oiling. But constant oiling is hard for me and my poor elbow. So I'm thinking about "going gray."

Here is the everyday look in my other work area:
Photobucket

Another view (not for the faint hearted):
Photobucket

Of course, I still adore my soapstone. But I do with I could keep the dark look without battling all the water marks.

I've been painting the kitchen for a couple weeks now. It has been great to have mineral spirits and paint sitting right on the counters without worry. Of course, the mineral spirits stripped the stone back to gray. And I"m thinking of leaving it that way. Luckily, any color of soapstone works in my kithcen. But I do adore it dark.

But, black or gray, spotty or not, I love my soapstone!

:-)

Francy

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clipped on: 06.11.2011 at 12:22 am    last updated on: 06.11.2011 at 12:22 am

RE: Please show me the space under your 30 inch shaw sink (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: bayareafrancy on 06.22.2010 at 09:55 pm in Kitchens Forum

I could easily fit one under mine (if I got rid of the other stuff in there). The height of mine is 20."

Photobucket

Here is the space with my 20" tall garbage can (which normally lives in a designated pull-out cabinet) just so you can get an idea:

Photobucket

One could also use a rectangular storage tub with high sides (I have one from Ikea holding supplies under mine).

The tough part for me wouldn't be space, but the difficulty of bending very, very low down to access it, and not smacking my forehead on the bumped out sink. But I'm a klutz with a baaaad back. That said, if I had to choose between the sink, and a sore back and bruised forehead, I'd choose the latter. Because I just luuuuv farm sinks.

NOTES:

sink install using bondo!
clipped on: 05.08.2011 at 12:12 pm    last updated on: 05.08.2011 at 12:12 pm

Recessed Niche above cooktop

posted by: sleevepresto on 08.22.2009 at 07:08 pm in Kitchens Forum

I had wanted an arched, recessed niche on my cooktop wall. A tiled, pretty place to put olive oil bottles, salt and pepper mill, etc. However, now we're backpedding a bit and I want to see if anyone else has done this or not done it and why before I make the final decision. A 2X4 is really 3 1/2 inches. By the time you remove the existing insulation, put tile backer board on, you're down to 3". Not to mention that you have to cut a stud or two out and replace with a header since it's load bearing. Has anyone done a niche here? Was the 3" just enough of a shelf? Or did you bump out through the wall on the other side to make it deeper? In our case, it would be the garage wall. I think I may have to shelf this idea (no pun intended). I'm nervous about having to touch a load bearing wall even though its only a stud or two and not sure if it's worth it.

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clipped on: 05.07.2011 at 11:37 am    last updated on: 05.07.2011 at 11:37 am

Water rings on soapstone.....not anymore!

posted by: cheri127 on 03.24.2010 at 07:37 pm in Kitchens Forum

I posted on another thread earlier that Florida Joshua refinished my soapstone counters today and they look and feel wonderful...really, totally different. But I had to wait till the tile guy left to do the ultimate test; does it still get those dreaded white water rings/spots? The answer is, NO IT DOESN'T!!!! So, to all those who have this problem with their soapstone, it really seems to be the way it was finished, not the stone itself. I'm so, so, so happy. Thank you Joshua and thank you Pluckymama for posting your experience with Joshua's work and making us aware that a solution was possible.

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clipped on: 05.02.2011 at 09:38 pm    last updated on: 05.02.2011 at 09:38 pm

RE: Soapstone Counters: Brazilian Black vs Beleza (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: sw_in_austin on 04.27.2010 at 10:21 am in Kitchens Forum

I have Beleza from Dorado in Austin, Texas. I don't have any current close-up pictures of it but here are a couple from the day it was installed.
From soapstone pics

From soapstone pics

And here is an overall picture from more recently:

From Finished Kitchen

The stone has darkened some in the two years we've been using it. We've never oiled it because we liked the way it looked unoiled but it has darkened naturally.

We love the stone. It's quite hard. After two years there are a few tiny dings around the edge of the undermount sink and some minor scratches. The scratches are easily buffed out with a green scrubby pad. We've had absolutely no problems with it no water rings, nothing. It was the only soapstone we looked at (except for the Minas slabs that Dorado had at the same time we picked our stone) and I feel very lucky that it turned out as perfectly as it did.

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Dorado soapstone
clipped on: 05.02.2011 at 08:19 pm    last updated on: 05.02.2011 at 08:19 pm

Soapstone DIY finally complete!

posted by: don_chuwish on 03.23.2008 at 04:53 pm in Kitchens Forum

Friday night I was amazed to find myself putting the final piece of backsplash on. Saturday was spent mostly cleaning up and putting things away.
Thanks to everyone who has posted info that I read or answered direct questions, this forum has been invaluable. Now it's my turn to reciprocate. I don't pretend to be a pro or any kind of expert, but I hope this helps from a DIY standpoint.
I'll link a few pictures in this posting, but you can see the whole gallery on Photobucket, each picture has comments and between them they pretty much tell the story. Album is here:

http://s58.photobucket.com/albums/g267/d_roady/DIY%20Soapstone/

Some teaser images:













Various parts of my story in progress have been posted in other threads, but I'll try to mention some key points here.
We were very interested in keeping cost down, so the DIY option with soapstone was wonderful to discover. A quality granite or Silestone install would have been triple the cost.
We went to M. Teixeira in N.J. and picked our slabs. If I had it to do over I would NOT have chosen two side by side slabs. The vein patterns are too similar and end up repeating each other in our kitchen. Out of 4-5 side by side slabs I'd take the 1st and last, for example.
When planning how the slabs will be cut, I'd suggest the backsplash pieces be taken from exactly the same spot as the counter they will sit on later, so that the veins and everything match.
Black epoxy was best for 99% of the seams in our install, but where it crossed a white vein I had to make some corrections - digging the black out with a Dremel and replacing with "Instant Install 29" epoxy, which cures to a translucent white. The Instant Install 29 is great to work with, 14 minute working time and then it suddenly hardens up, locking things into place. You can sand it 15 minutes later (thus the name, 14+15=29). It can be tinted to match the stone too. 5 minute epoxies are too fast for big seams I think.
Make sure your cabinet tops are a perfectly even plain, 6' long levels help. Shim any and all gaps - none of mine were more than 1/16". Then get a bead of caulk on the cabinet tops before resting the stone on them. This just makes for perfectly even support all around. We used bottle jacks to lift the stone up a few inches, caulk under it, then set it back down gently.
Doing the caulk and a seam at the same time is daunting, but the caulk has a long setup time, so it works out OK. You can slide the stone over an inch to close the seam after buttering on the epoxy. Jam it as tight as possible to make a thin seam. Most important for a good looking seam is to have the two stones perfectly aligned - any height difference will have to be fixed by sanding one down to match the other.
Diamond cutting and shaping tools are great. They cut the harder parts of the stone just as well as the soft parts, which makes for nice straight lines and even surfaces. A diamond grit drum on an angle grinder is great for shaping the edge of a sink cutout, for example. Regular sandpaper drums don't do as well.
The dust from cutting and shaping is amazing, wait till it's warm and do as much outside as possible. If you can't, like me, then get a good fine particle dust filter for your shop-vac and always attach a collection hose to the tool, or have someone hold the hose right at your cut. It makes a huge difference.
When cutting you need to support the stone underneath, so it won't fall away and break off before the cut is done. I had 1/2" thick styrofoam sheets available, but thick rubber mats from Costco would work too. The photo album shows a good example of this in practice.
For final sanding I tried a million things. What worked best on the flat areas (to clean up seams) was a 5" wet sanding pad on a dual action polisher at its lowest speed. I used a Porter-Cable 7336. Sanding pads were 240 and 400 grit. For a backer pad I used a flexible one made for car buffing, rigid pads were too hard to handle. For product specifics, see my other post on this topic. Edges can be sanded with a good hand block and wet sandpaper. The highest grit with any benefit I found to be 400. Others may stop at 220 or 340 - just a matter of preference.
I feel like there's a million things to say but this has rambled on enough. Happy to answer questions and add details in follow up posts. But if you're looking for tips, please do check out the full Photo bucket album. There's 80 images covering every step of the way.

Thanks again everyone and happy Easter!
Don

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clipped on: 05.02.2011 at 08:06 pm    last updated on: 05.02.2011 at 08:06 pm

Resurfacing marble at home -- can be done

posted by: sayde on 05.02.2011 at 06:02 pm in Kitchens Forum

Our marble slabs were originally polished when they were received by the fabricator. Those who read previous threads know that when we received them they were horribly botched -- uneven rough patches and very visible swipe marks. Looked like acid was used, and a very poor job of it.

I had been wary of choosing marble because of the possibility of etching. Now, we were confronted with marble that had been unevenly and severely etched all over, and we had to decide how to proceed.

We did recover some funds from the fabricator.

And then DH rehoned the marble himself. He used 5 inch diameter 320 grit Abranet pads on an orbital sander. He followed by going over the surface with pumice. It took about an hour for the first pass and then we went over some of the areas again. The marble became silky smooth and even, while retaining the matte honed appearance. We finished with two coats of sealer.

I'm posting because I was one of many who feared getting marble in the first place because of the etching. There is no doubt that it will etch in future, but I wanted to share that it can be resurfaced.

I love the Danby marble. I feel much less worried going forward seeing how it can be brought back to a perfect smooth honed surface. Just wanted to share this with others who want marble but are concerned about etching.

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Abranet pads?
clipped on: 05.02.2011 at 07:57 pm    last updated on: 05.02.2011 at 07:57 pm

uh oh help--did i screw up getting the hg thermobalance III?

posted by: jimnyo on 03.19.2011 at 04:18 am in Bathrooms Forum

ok, so i want to run a handheld and a fixed showerhead individually and simultaneously. i was told to get a hansgrohe thermobalance III. but i was planning on using the shower arm as the source for both the handheld and fixed showerhead. but now i realize, i'd need the thermobalance 3 if i was planning on using the handheld with a separate water source (ie its own hole in the shower wall), but if i was using a shower arm diverter to use the same water source, then i dodn't need the thermobalance 3? is that correct? can someone please help? thanks!

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Regarding my hg thermobalance for basement shower
clipped on: 03.21.2011 at 01:27 am    last updated on: 03.21.2011 at 01:27 am