Tight screws are best (mom and I build a sink base)

Yesterday was the hubby’s birthday. To celebrate, my mom and I traveled up to the Yrppie homestead to build a sink base. Then we traveled all the way back to Harrisburg so I could grill expensive steaks in the middle of a electrical storm and horrendous downpours for his birthday dinner. The reason my mom and I put the sink base together, instead of the hubby and I, was because I wanted to give him a break from working a full day at work and then working a full night on the renovations. He needs sleep. And meat. Hot, grilled meat.

On Monday we had this conversation:

Hubby: So tomorrow for my birthday do you want to go up to the farm and put that sink together?

Me: Why? 

Hubby: The plumber wants it put together so he can see where to put the plumbing.

Me: We can’t give him the dimensions? The wall is not even in yet. I am not mowing the damn grass.

Hubby: Blah, blah, blah, blah (to quote Maggie-she has gotten rather cheeky as she edges closer to the big “5”)

He actually went on a rant about how much there is to do, how I complain all the time, how I hate mowing the grass (he throws that into EVERY debate) etc, etc, etc. Rather than engage in this debate I just let him think he won. Then I suckered my mom into going up and putting the sink base together with me. We were done and back soon after he got home from work.

It took us about 2 hours and 15 minutes (not counting driving time). It would have taken  less than two, but we had a few snafus along the way. As a reminder, here is a picture of an Ikea sink base that is SIMILAR to ours (ours has handles):

Ikea Sink Base, picture from Sunset magazine

The first thing we did was take inventory of the cabinet parts and directions.

Pre-assembly Sink Base

There were a lot pieces but we weren’t “scurred”. Since my mom was with me I had to act like I am all organized in life, so we grouped all the hardware with their buddies and made sure we had all the parts.

Mom found the hardware!

All pieces grouped and accounted for

The we took a picture of ourselves; you can see how excited we were:

Self-portrait of myself and my mom

We had our first hiccup as soon as we started. I got the drill out and felt all powerful and “I am woman; hear me roar”.  Then I proceeded to strip the crap out of the very first screw because the drill was on reverse, which I did not figure out until after my second attempt. My mom made the comment “Shouldn’t the drill be doing all the work?” as I was bent over grunting and sweating, trying to push the screw into the pre-drilled hole. Her comment inspired my “ah-ha!” moment. Sure enough, when I looked, the drill was set to “reverse”. Once we got that straightened out it was quick work. Mom got a blister on her thumb from from grabbing the stripped screws; she did not believe me when I told her they were hot. Then my mom made a comment about needing a hot screw. No we were not drinking, my mom is just classy like that.

Here is our cabinet base put together, at this point we did not realize that we had put the wall mounts in backwards. Whoops.

Mom and the directions; we THOUGHT it matched to picture perfectly

Can you find the mistake in this picture? We did not realize it until we went to put the drawers in.


We then assembled the drawers. I was reminded as to why I did not get into gifted classes in 3rd grade; spatial visualization has always been my downfall. After about 10 minutes of pondering which way the sliders slid, and 20 minutes putting the first drawer together, we were on a roll.

When we went to put the drawers in; I realized we had a problem. Luckily I knew the drill had a reverse, so we unscrewed and rescrewed the wall mounts in the right direction. Once again my mom made some un-mom joke about never having enough screws. I cannot take her anywhere.

Mom-tightening the screws


Wall mounts reversed

Once everything was facing the right way, we lugged it upstairs, put the drawers in, and called it a day. When it is actually installed, the base will have feet and a sink top so it will be standard height. (No we are not installing a sink for the Tyrion Lannisters of the world.) I did spend about 5 minutes perplexed about where the top was, until I remembered that the top is the sink. Duh.

Here is a picture of the finished product, the bathroom seems so roomy without anything in it.

Our success!

As I looked at the empty bathroom with the lonely sink base; I had a brief “hubby moment of panic” about how much we have to do.

The bathroom; it will be a while until someone is brushing their teeth in that sink

I usually deal well with stress and overwhelming to-do lists; I like to break it down and focus on one thing at a time. Do you ever feel overwhelmed with renovations…or life in general? What are some your coping techniques? I have been known to revert to potato chips and entirely too much caffeine, but I am trying to curb those unhealthy choices. Share below, I would love to hear from you!

Bathroom Brainstorm

Currently we have one working bathroom in the Yrppie house. It looks like this:

Shanty bathroom

Rotting shanty shower

The one that still has a toilet is on the first floor off of the kitchen in the shanty. If you have been following the blog you may remember that the shanty is actually on the demolish and rebuild list. It is slated for Spring 2013ish. The bathroom has wall-to-wall carpet and smells about as good as it looks. It is an interesting combination of mold, rotting wood and really, really old urine.

The shanty bathroom is not that bad; when I student-taught in Mexico many years ago I used a bucket over a hole behind a shower curtain at a restaurant, so I compare everything to that. (It is a constant reminder of how much we take good plumbing and running water for granted in this country.)  Still, I really do not want to shower in a bathroom that I have to wear shoes in for the next six months. Luckily, the decision to complete the renovation of both floors at once solved our problem. We are going to be installing a new bathroom on the second floor exactly where the old bathroom was. I wish I could show you pictures of the 2nd floor bathroom before we ripped it out, but I did not take any pictures. Just imagine a really small, moldy bathroom with a tub that is ready to fall through the ceiling.

Speaking of tubs, the hubby and I went back and forth on the tub issue. This bathroom will eventually be dedicated to Maggie and her sibling, if we have another child (NO-I am NOT pregnant). We both agreed we wanted the bathroom to have a double sink; however, adding a double sink where there used to be a single takes up more space. Our original plan was to install a stand-up shower with no tub to save space. As we finalized plans though, I had a change of heart and I decided I wanted a tub. The hubby didn’t. I won. The tub won (reminder: relationships are NOT about competition but compromise). The hubby compromised by moving the bathroom walls and making space for the tub (one more reason why I love him).

Now that the hubby and contractors have enlarged it, the size is around 8×8. The pic below is before the wall was erected. You can see how small it was.

Hubby trying to prove to me we cannot fit a tub in the bathroom

Once we had finalized dimensions we went to the Ikea website to look for examples of small bathrooms (Ikea specializes in bathrooms for small spaces). We found the perfect sink with two faucets, a long trough and two drawers. Even better, the base was on SALE for $99 when we got to the store! (I think the original price was $479.) We bought it immediately. It is 39 inches long and will fit perfectly in the bathroom. I found a picture of it on the Sunset Magazine website so you can check it out below (I LOVE that magazine; I think I was meant to live on the west coast.)

Photo by Martin Inger / IKEA , written by Emily Hsieh

That is about as far as we have with the bathroom plans; I am working on a floorplan to share with you next week. This bathroom will be the primary bathroom in the house until the shanty addition is complete, and we add on a Master Bathroom. Currently we are spoiled with a HUGE bathroom in our Harrisburg house; transitioning to a smaller bathroom will be a challenge, but totally worth it. (See how our roomy our Harrisburg bathroom by clicking on the link below, it is a Maggie classic. As an FYI-her disbelief in the beginning is because I picked up all the dirty clothes on the bathroom floor).

Do you have small children or big children who share a bathroom? What tips or suggestions can you add to our bathroom brainstorm; I would love to hear them!