Monday, January 29, 2007

Why does EVERYTHING have to be so hard?!?

Several years ago, in a moment of extreme exasperation, DollinkDaughterLLS asked this, a most rhetorical question.

Of course, she didn't mean EVERYTHING. Nor did she mean to imply that everything is SO HARD.
She did mean to say that it don't come easy...

DDLLS was in the middle of a seemingly endless experience of exchanging a DVD player (or was it VHS player?)(or was it the broken part for her rice cooker?). Anyways. Dealing with the store where the item was originally purchased, she sought to get an exchange and/or purchase a new part. The store gave her the run-around. Referred her to the manufacturer. Manufacturer gave her the run-aound. New parts sent or product was exchanged. New part or product not satisfactory. Issue still not resolved.
More contact made. More run-around. More frustration.
The kind of frustration that makes you want to run screaming.

This weekend, I (and my cohorts in DIY) had a taste of this good ol' fashioned frustration. We've been trying to update one of the bathrooms in our Little House in the Big Woods. New sinks, new mirrors, new faucets, new lights. New countertops. Nothing fancy. Changing out the pink laminate for a faux stone laminate. Is that too much to ask?

Apparently so.
It seemed so easy. Go to Lowes, choose from a small selection of pre-fab laminate counters. Pay and take. Nice.

Go home and find out just before installing countertop that the thing won't fit. We purchased the wrong size countertop. It's too large. Took the measurement of the width and figured - countertops = standard depth. Not so. Depth measurement of new purchase is 25" and the bathroom counter area allows for approx. 21 1/2". What we bought is a kitchen countertop and bathroom countertops are narrower. Who knew?!? I never noticed this difference. A countertop is a countertop.
Apparently not.

Exchange? Not an option - neither LowlyLowes nor Home Despot carry pre-fab laminate bathroom countertops.
Return the one we bought?
And get what?

Proceed? Option: chop the thing down to size by lopping off close to 4" along the front or back of the entire 8' 4 1/2" length? Either way, we'd be losing either the built-in backsplash or the moulded front edge (a nice rounded shape). In either case, something would have to be added front or back to make up for the sawed-off section.

This is the stuff of Frankensteinian home decor. Unfortunately, I know it too well as:
Make-do DIY. On a dime, on a shoestring, on a budget. Weekend warriors who get very good at covering up their handyman-handywoman mistakes.

It's always a bit risky cutting laminate = if not done 'right', the whole thing could chip, crack, and crumble like phyllo dough handled too roughly (alas, food references are sometimes the best).

I asked myself 'Why does EVERYTHING have to be so hard?!? Why can't it just be EASY?!?' I busied myself with cleaning house (when all else fails, clean house or re-organize something)(well, it works for me anyway).

Let's skip ahead to the happy ending. A small group of friends & family DIY-ers set their minds and skills (and the use of a very nice table saw with razor sharp fine-toothed blade) to the task, and made a bathroom countertop happen. It was a moment of Great Phew. Aforementioned laminate countertop has been hacked down to size. Yes, at the loss of the backsplash, but a band of decorative mosaic tile can be subbed in.

It WILL look great (before and after pix will appear on this blog when the project is completely done - patience, please).

And the beat goes on.


justducky said...

Even non DIY-ers have disasters:
The counter guy needed 2 people for our long kitchen counter, BUT NO!

He's edging in sideways down the hall balancing this 1/4" x 12' laminate and whap, the whole thing folds in half, crack!

He looks to see if it could be...NO!! we say.

The new piece finally comes and of course IT'S too short!...oh, well, they patch in a piece, ugly black line an all. Thanks a lot for thousands of dollars.

at least the cabinets and drawers came out beautifully.

1/2 a beautiful kitchen.

It's pink, too.

Lauren said...

I can't believe you managed to chop the thing down to fit! At least now you can get crafty with the back splash, like you said. I probably would've returned it to the store and said forget about it! Congratulations and I can't wait to see your new bathroom.

Lauren said...

I just clicked on your "and the beat goes on" link and had to leave one more comment! I love the choreography in that clip! And the disco outfits are pretty great too.