The Kitchen Renovation.
The sink & faucet.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this before but this ENTIRE kitchen renovation actually started because of a sink.

I wanted a new one. Specifically, I wanted this apron front sink from Ikea.

I liked that it wasn’t an undermount sink. Because in the olden days (when people got scurvy and rickets) sinks would not have been undermount. They would have sat on the counter like a regular sink.  So that’s how I like an apron front/farmhouse sink to sit  now.


It was cheery and big and had an apron.  Like Mrs. Butterworth.  Or Mrs. Garrett.

The only problem was it was cheery and too big and had an apron.   It didn’t fit my non-standard depth counters.

Which got me to thinking about new counters.  But, just getting new counters wouldn’t work because they’d stick out 6″ from my non-standard depth cupboards.

The only solution was to forget about it and realize I should just appreciate everything I already had.

Let’s see … I had a life that was falling apart, an 11 year old relationship that ran away from home, a grunge filled countertop and a fridge that was so volatile I’d nicknamed it Kanye.

57 seconds later it was decided.  I was getting a new kitchen.

And it would allll revolve around the apron sink I’ve wanted for years.  A big, farmhouse sink.

Big sink.  Farmhouse.  Apron.  Crap.

As it turns out apron sinks take up a lot of space underneath the counter.  If under the sink  happens to be where you keep your kitchen garbage, you’ll have to  either rethink where you keep the garbage or rethink how big your garbage can is.   I have 2 large garbage bins under the sink.  One for compostable items and one for regular old, can’t do anything with it, can’t be recycled, can’t be turned into a baby mobile garbage.

And with my small kitchen with limited cupboards there really wasn’t anywhere else to put the garbage.

So the sink that started it all … was out.

Funny how things like that happen.

After doing a bit of research and listening to my kitchen designer Carol Reed I went with a simple sink and faucet combo.

The faucet actually came first because it was generously provided to me by the fine folks at Brizo.  I never knew I had a dream faucet, but as it turns out I did, and this was it.

It’s a touch faucet, which means to turn it on or off all you have to do is tap the faucet with any part of your hand or arm. No more salmonella scares! Plus since I don’t have a utility sink in this whole house, at any given time I could be washing just about anything off of my hands.  Things that really shouldn’t come into contact with anything but a biohazard suit.

The other thing I LOVE, love, love about this faucet is it’s white.  WHITE.   Plus I was drawn to the general design of it immediately.  Something about it says, “Hey!  Karen!  You’re doing a Scandinavian Farmhouse kitchen?  Tap this!

And I thought that before I actually went to their webpage and read the caption that described it as sleek, stylish and …  Scandinavian.





I knew I also wanted a white sink, so Jean, the designer that Home Depot assigned to me (yes, I had two designers working on my kitchen, 3 if you count my sister with the pink tool belt and 4 if you include me) picked out this white, cast iron Kohler sink.  Nice, plain, pretty. Perfect.

I now officially have every SINGLE thing for my kitchen sitting in my house.  The new fridge, range, sink, cabinets …. everything.

The only thing I don’t have?  Anywhere to sit down.

I’ve been standing for a week and a half now.  Good thing I don’t have rickets.



  1. Feral Turtle says:

    Great faucet and sink! They will look awesome in your new kitchen!!

  2. Susan Dulley says:

    Well, I love the comment from you about someone thinking you would not have a …what was it a jigsaw. Sounds like my Landlord. I live in a completely refurbished, and very nicely done I might add, two family home in an historic village in Cincinnati. My landlord is/was a homebuilder in one of the most affluent areas of this city at one time. He is now 85 years of age. If you, or anyone, could see the look on his face when he learns that I have my own toolbox, two to be exact and a myriad of power tools, you would think that I had broken an Unspoken Rule that “WOMEN CANNOT POSSIBLY POSESS THE KNOWLEDGE OF HOW TO OPERATE SUCH TOOLS MUCH LESS KNOW WHAT THEY ARE MEANT TO BE USED FOR!
    Wow, it is like stepping into some really perverse time zone and wondering if I am still alive. I own and operate many, many power tools, hand tools and even have created and designed my own out of nothing, when necessary. Hats off to can and will promise to learn how to immediately. We Rule. It is as simple as that.

  3. Brenda says:

    My husband and I renovated our kitchen a few years back all by ourselvses (and yes, we’re still married).

    That is THE sink I wanted… the Ikea Domsjo (pretend there are two little dots above the last o).
    And I got it. That sucker is heavy and huge…but I LOVE it!!

  4. shauna says:

    p.s. if more men realized that women want utility sinks it could take over from roses for Valentine’s Day!

  5. shauna says:

    I thought I was the only woman who yearned for a utility sink!! But now I have one. It only took 3 different men and 30 years but I finally found the right guy and he finished the laundry room, complete with utility sink. Actually it is pretty special… I had a lid made for it that slides on and off and flops down against the wall when the sink is in use (piano hinge and sliders – very tricky and cool)… then flips back up and slides over the sink to provide more counter space when it’s not in use. I’d send a photo but I’m not sure how. : )

    • Sharon says:

      Wow Shauna, my curiosity is piqued! Would love to see photos of what you’ve done there! Hoping that there’s someone around who can assist you in posting a photo!

  6. Fifi says:

    Karen….will you be doing a post about your range hood selection?? I still have not bought a range hood for my 8 month old kitchen ugh!(ok, so thank God at least for now, I have a good ceiling fan overhead!) I am looking for a non venting unit with a slim profile, I do have a pet peeve about big honking range hoods that hit me in the forehead and blind me with light when I am cooking at the stove LOL!!

    • Karen says:

      I probably will be doing a post on the range hood, but I can tell you one thing. My range hood is not what you’d call … slim. :) I assume you’re getting non vented because your range isn’t on an exterior wall? ~ karen!

      • Fifi says:

        Yes, Karen!….you guessed it, mine is on the interior wall, with a 30 inch cab above it, as well. Always wanted a restaurant style hood that extended to the ceiling…aint gonna happen !

        Would you be in my Poll??>> If you had black base cabs, and a black range……but off white upper cabs…>>>would you put in a black or white range hood??? I say white is my choice, to blend in with upper cabs! thnx !

        • Karen says:

          In the situation you describe, white or sure. I wouldn’t always pick one that matched the cabinets, but since you’re going to have to get a low profile, ventless one and it won’t be a focal point of the room/range then go for something that’ll blend. :) ~ karen!

  7. kathy says:

    If I had a nickel for every “I have to have this” thing that nothing but a clipping in an old file now! But no regrets about my extra deep, single, ss, rounded corners sink. We roast a lot of veggies with big pans and the ss pans fit in for a soak with room to spare. In the porcelain sinks, I had to be too careful of I’d scratch the sink, so that beauty went out with the other clippings!

    I can’t live without my pull out for recycling and trash…and if there had been a way to make a cut out on counter to push the compost into….I’d have done that…..but the silestone installers were….difficult.

  8. Leslie says:

    Gorgeous! You’ll hardly miss the dream sink in the end. That faucet and sink with that super cool pendant light and white brick wall will be so amazing together. I can’t wait to see it all fall into place, and by “fall” I mean heave, kick, scream, lift, swear, cram, fudge, ease, pray, beg, sweat, grunt … so I’m hoping for video.

  9. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Love the sink..I am also sick of trying to fit pans in a double basin sink..Love the faucet..white?..white?..absolutely awesome..I have never seen a faucet in white..and it’s a touch faucet..heaven..

  10. kelliblue says:

    Wow. White. WHITE!?! You are a brave, brave woman, Karen Bertelsen. That wouldn’t be white after a week in my place, but you go on wit yo bad self! Can’t wait to see the end result!

    • Karen says:

      My sister owned a white sink for decades and she said it shows the dirt and smudges wayyy less than stainless and is 10X easier to keep clean. So that’s what I’m counting on. ;) ~ karen

  11. valerie says:

    Don’t give completely up on the farm house sink yet Karen.
    Have you considered using the cupboard doors to hold a frame for refuse containers rather than have the refuse storage under the sink proper? You could have two frames, one on either side if you have two cupboard doors in front and under the sink area.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Valerie – Well … I’ve already bought the other sink and planned the entire kitchen, so there’s no going back now. The only thing left is installing it all. Regardless, I literally don’t have space for garbage anywhere else. It was under the sink or nowhere. ~ karen!

  12. Sera says:

    I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Although, despite the classic look of the above mount sink, I am firmly on the side of under mount sink. After 35 years of living in kitchens with shabby molding seals and crumbs stubbornly remaining on the counter side of the sink, I love that I can just push my crumbs and water straight off into the sink and be done. And actually, our Rohl single basin under mount farmhouse sink was the first thing my husband and I firmly agreed on. We pretty much designed our kitchen around it. although, yes, there is very little room under the sink for anything. We even had to buy a smaller garbage disposal. But we went for the pull out drawer trash cans for recycling, trash and compost (yes all three) and it’s the best. But I think we had a bit more room to work with than you do.

  13. Gail says:

    Ok- I can’t wait to see the completed, everything in it’s place!! kitchen. I am in the drawing, measuring and picking out stage. Started with needing a new floor. The old one is beginning to look like various states of the US- I have Texas and Oklahoma and a little Hawai too!. Then, well, I should paint the walls, and oh, the tiles on the countertop I laid in 1988 are looking nasty, so now need a new sink to go with countertop and oh, add in the faucet!!. Oh and backsplash!! And then there’s the oven hood! Good golly, so many decisions!!!!! And I have a rounded edge on my countertop! Who DOES that? So my challenge is to find out how the hay to do a 90 degree rounded edge so I don’t poke myself everytime I enter the kitchen- help!

  14. Anita says:

    Darn that Ikea! I was there yesterday for a desk and actually stopped to look at that sink. It’s really nice. And yes, renovations take on a life of their own. I really want new wood floors in my house, so naturally that meant I must redo my bathroom first. Can’t have workers dragging tubs and tile across a new wood floor. Let them ruin the carpet right? Then I discovered tile that looks like wood. Hmmm, back to doing floors first. I live in Houston so tile floors just make sense.

  15. I’m so in love with your faucet, mostly because I have the exact same one :) Okay, mine isn’t white… but I ADORE the no-touch faucet. Adore it !! Best faucet I have ever owned in the history of ever.

    Here comes the other crazy part of the story… imagine that? Crazy. I have the Ikea sink ! Too bad it didn’t work in your kitchen :( but clearly.. we both have great taste. Ha!

  16. Laura Bee says:

    “Karen’e Kitchen Renovation” When is the film crew coming? You have a crew coming, right? Even better – live streaming (with sound!). That way we can learn some new swear words that a tv show would bleep out.

    I wish you well.

  17. Kelli says:

    Two years ago we bought a 1950’s farm house and 10 acres. The kitchen was described as “small but adequate.” Attached to it was room used for laundry that was twice the size of the kitchen. We started designing different kitchen ideas. We went from a kitchen that was 7×9 to 9×20. We found rotted floor timbers and what started out being a simple renovation, went into a complete room rebuild. I am a lot like you and like to figure things out. I would like to share the before and after pics with you. I also agree with you about the sink.

  18. Jennie says:

    Karen, don’t feel bad about the Ikea sink. Since I was considering an apron sink, a friend of mine who is an Ikea junky took me to her Ikea hangout. We actually looked at that exact sink you were considering. Nope, there was no way I was going to clean that backsplash area of soap debris very easily, since the ridges are 1/4″ deep. I am sending my existing farm sink out to be re-epoxied and building a custom cupboard to support it. You did good.

  19. Susan Mann says:

    You go girl! You’re so inspiring and you put it all out there which only makes us (your closest internet friends, ha) love you more. : )

  20. Debbie says:

    I was waiting to see Mom in the kitchen designer listing. Isn’t she your demolition expert?

  21. cbblue says:

    I can totally understand your story. We wanted to replace our front door. Just a door. Maybe move it over a smidge and take out a sidelight. What happened was we tore the house down to the 2 x 4s and added a second story. Guess what? We’re not happy with the front door. I’m afraid to do anything about the door as it may lead to something epic. I love the way you think Karen. Amazing.

  22. Karen says:

    “a fridge that was so volatile I nicknamed it Kanye”. You have a way Karen! Oh, how I needed that laugh this morning. Can’t wait to see your finished product!

    • Elaine says:

      I loved that line too! Ha! I’m very late to this post but am buying a new sink for my condo kitchen and naturally, turned to Karen for advice. I don’t drive anymore so can’t shop around but there’s a plumbing store a block away from me where I’ve been looking at the many choices.

  23. Ev says:

    You have so much work ahead of you, and it’s a good thing. When your beautiful (and it will be!) kitchen is done you will love it and have so much “I did it myself” satisfaction! And we’ll all wish we were you and secretly be jealous as hell! Have fun Karen!

  24. Miriam says:

    It’s amazing how that happens. I started out with a dripping tub faucet. I have since had the bathroom retiled along with removing the old shower and replacing it with a storage cupboard, repainted the kitchen, dining room, living room and hall, put in new light fixtures in all those rooms and a new floor in the dining room and kitchen. All because the tap wouldn’t shut off.

  25. Keelea L says:

    $700 faucet? Seems legit. That one will have to remain in my dreams. It’s going to look beautiful!

  26. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    Is there anything else I need to know about a farmhouse sink? My vision includes one, right after the bathroom is done. Which hasn’t been offically started…it’s just demo’d as in down to the studs! See you tomorrow.

    • Karen says:

      Don’t think so. :) I still absolutely love them, it’s just I knew not having enough space for garbage would make me crazy. Also don’t forget, if you’re going for a true farmhouse look you can buy a genuine antique farmhouse sink. ~ karen!

  27. Danica says:

    Hi Karen! Do you have a link for the white Kohler sink??? We are doing a grey kitchen in our home that we are renovating and I was planning on going with a stainless steel sink BUT stainless steel and well water hate each other so now the plan is to go with a nice white sink….not that you wanted to hear about my whole story but ya….

  28. Noelle Smith says:

    I’m so happy for you that you are tidy enough to have a white sink! That wouldn’t do here. I need a concrete kitchen with a “close the door and the whole thing gets hosed down all at once” like those bathrooms on the street corners in Paris.
    Let me know if you need useless girl help, I can open boxes and hold screws and make tea.

  29. Danni says:

    My kitchen reno started with the edge of the floor peeling up… I had samples of the flooring I wanted to replace it with for years, tacked to the wall where an idea board started.
    One night I started tearing up the floor… then a wall of cabinets… then a wall…. then the countertops. 99% by myself, mind you, after 10 1/2 hour work days, so needless to say it took months and months and I too would sometimes stand in the destruction and ask myself what the HELL did I think I was doing!
    It is winding down now and the change is dramatic, to say the least. And I love it. And I get great satisfaction that I did it myself.
    All it took was finding that inner voice to tell me “yes you can do it, it ain’t really that hard!”
    THAT was the hardest part!

  30. Jack says:

    Just touch it to turn it on!! Sounds like the relationship I always wished for but never had……I might get myself one.

  31. jainegayer says:

    I am green with envy! You will have the sink I have always wanted. I have a double sink. Neither side is big enough to hold a frying pan or lasagna pan, let alone a roasting pan. I need to wash pans tilted in my sink.
    And that beautiful simple faucet! I am going to drink my coffee and drool.

  32. Ruth says:

    Love it! Ca-yute!

  33. Patti says:

    Funny how things work out like that. All we wanted was a garage for my husband’s new motorcycle. After talking with several contractors, we ended up building a new house just across the state line from Maryland to West Virginia. Sounds far but was only seven miles away. Just celebrated our 20th anniversary in this house on Sunday. No regrets. Though it was a tough eight months while under construction.

    Looking forward to seeing your new kitchen. I’m “thinking” about a new kitchen faucet which means a new sink, counter top, etc…


  34. Tigersmom says:

    Nice choices. I love a white sink, too.

    One regret I have in my renovation was not adding sinks in my garage and laundry room. I dream of a utility sink.

  35. Annie says:

    Single basin sinks are bril!

  36. Christina says:

    Oh I live my domjso sink – its the single bowl one though, and it’s enormous. Got it new in box off kijiji for $100 from someone who couldn’t fit it in. We have no ikea here in Halifax. It’s my favorite part of the kitchen.

  37. mimiindublin says:

    Love that sink, and the idea of a touch- faucet. We call it a tap here, so would that make it a tap tap?

  38. Judith says:

    GREAT faucet! And great timing for me, because we’re at precisely the faucet-shopping stage of our kitchen renovation (which is taking place in an actual Swedish farmhouse, though the kitchen will be more of a Shaker style. Now to just find a blog by a Shaker who’s redoing her kitchen to look like a Brooklyn loft.) We’re currently tearing our hair out because all the faucets with the right combination of height + curve + pull-out nozzle + lack of being butt-ugly are prohibitively priced.

  39. Barbie says:

    I can hardly WAIT to see it all put together! Are you doing it? Or hiring it done? You must be doing part of it…yes?

  40. Patricia says:

    I laughed when I read your post because I too desperately wanted the Ikea farmhouse sink for the last kitchen I “designed” when we built our cabin and didn’t end up with it. I got plain old, serviceable stainless steel in the end. I like your new sink better because it still preserves some of that old fashioned, rustic charm but its sleek and clean and the same time. Good choice!

  41. danni says:

    White kitchens do rule (villa white, to be exact). I too, fell for a sexy Irish handcast number and yes, it had not only the plumber and the cabinetmaker, but also the countertop guy cursing a blue streak, bc they are bulky and handmade and therefore…. not easy to work with. But I was writing to say that I put a fake door on a pull out drawer next to my sink and it was pull out garbage, and right behind it, recycling. It was the best thing we did and you will just love it. I might just sacrifuce another one for the composting…. This isn’t mine, but you get the idea… WAY better than stinking up your new cabinents with garbage under the sink.,or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.59930103,d.cGU,pv.xjs.s.en_US.drS7gHrXclI.O&biw=1845&bih=995&tch=1&ech=1&psi=eEvnUtOcAdLyoASP8IEY.1390889832728.5&ei=e0vnUpOMLsTboATPl4CgAQ&ved=0CLABEKYrMAM

  42. Cathy Reeves says:

    I think Valerie meant that you can rent YOURS out by the hour. You know, what with that crazy plumber’s bill and all .

  43. Jane says:

    Oh Karen! Trust me, I will be there – tomorrow, and the day after that and the day after that! I wouldn’t miss it for anything!

  44. Fifi says:

    Karen….I like your faucet and sink choices, for you…but not for me….I like my touchless Moen faucet in their fingerprint free S.S. finish, because I am lazy about cleaning it ! Hubby freaked when he saw the price, but I insisted!
    And…about your single bowl sink, I have a burning question… I have always pondered, yet never had the opportunity to ask until now…..How does one wash and rinse dishes in a single bowl sink???? Having grown up with, and owned double sinks myself…I fill the left side with soapy dishwater, and then rinse dishes clean on the right side, and dry items on a rack on the counter. So, how is it done in a single there a Scandinavian dish washing method ??
    I have the Domsjo sink you once dreamed about owning, and I do love it because, again, I am messy, and I am a BIG splasher of water, near and far…..I never liked how my S.S. sinks stopped short of the backsplash, a great place for countertops to rot away under all my splashing…so I guess I like my Domsjo for its extra deep drainboard behind the faucet ! But prone to scratching, I keep silicone sink mats in the bottom of the sinks for extra protection of the white surface.
    PS I see what you mean Karen ,about the sink hanging pretty low under the cabinet, but I still managed to fit a big tall trashcan on one side, and all my cleaning supplies on the other, amidst the clutter of pipes and elbows, and the snake-looking braided pipe for the pull-out faucet.
    Luckily, I also have a slide-out 15 inch cabinet beside my sink cab, for all recycling needs. Kitchen design is not for the faint of heart…..get help from a professional when designing….its worth it to get it right the 1st time….I have a few design regrets in mine ;-)
    Hope yours is perfect for you, with no regrets…. hope you get everything on your wish list!!!

    • Sera says:

      I don’t know anyone with a double sink that actually uses it for its original purpose of filling half the sink with soapy water. That’s why I picked a single basin when we remodeled. I have a dishwasher for the main stuff and the hand washables (knives, pots, pans, cutting boards) get the soapy sponge and rinse. Now, I can actually fit my cutting boards, baking sheets, pans, etc. in there and get them rinsed off without taking a shower.

      • ally says:

        I do. I hand wash my dishes almost all the time. Only use the dishwasher (machine) about once every 2-3 weeks.

        • Kelly says:

          we do too. Actually, we haven’t used the dishwasher since we remodelled the kitchen. It’s there for eventual resale, cause you can’t sell a house without a dishwasher anymore than you can sell a house with laminate countertops, according to the real estate agents. I actually have a double sink plus another sink, cause i have a cook husband, while I also cook/bake, so we split the kitchen, each have a sink, save the marriage and don’t have to put the 3 boys up for adoption when they add to the general chaos by fixing their endless meals, the accoutrements for which ALL end up in the sink.

      • Leslie says:

        I use my double sink for washing eggs … dirtier eggs on one side, cleaner eggs on the other … everything moves from right to left the cleaner it gets … I could honestly use a third compartment. Yes, I know all about the bloom … and proper egg washing techniques …

      • Veronica says:

        This is an old poste, but I will tell you why I need two: I have children AND a garbage disposal. Forks and spoons go into the non-disposal side. That way my cutlery doesn’t get mangle. Well… *more* mangled.

    • theresa says:

      In my condo remodel of ten years ago, I got the exact Kohler Karen is using. At the time, husband was home brewing so we needed a deep roomy sink (I mounted the faucet on the back splash old-fashion style to make even more room) and I wanted it to be white. I fell in love when I opened the box–pristine and sleek and curvy like ski runs before the first run of the morning. I loved that sink every single day and miss it now that we have moved. Had a great dishwasher too which we actually used because it was more efficient than hand washing (heated its own water so never stole from the shower) Must have picked up living overseas but I rinse over the soapy water to keep it hot and in use–even now that I have a double sink that is ok but not lovely.

  45. Jane says:

    I can’t wait to see your new kitchen! I know you are excited! Have a great week!

    • Karen says:

      Have a great week?! You plan on going somewhere? I expect to see you here tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that. ~ karen!

  46. Valerie says:

    I love your selections! White kitchens rule.

    Don’t throw out anything the renovation folks remove, particularly your old kitchen sink. Take your old sink and trace around the (inner) outside edge on brown paper to create a template. Get a pallet (available behind stores – liquor stores usually) and add legs (second pallet.) Using the traced template draw the sink on the top of the first pallet. With a jig saw (you can rent them by the hour) cut the sink hole in the top of the pallet. Set the pallet table you have created with your old sink sunk in near your outside water source. Attach a bathroom type shower head with the hose attachment to your outside water source. If your hose isn’t long enough you can get extensions for hand held showers at large hardware stores to make them the length you wish. This creation will provide a treasure of a place to deal with outside gardening, potting needs and a washing up area.

  47. Marti says:

    I think I could be happy in that newly renovated kitchen, with or without chairs. I might be tempted to lay in the middle of that heated floor. Pretty spiffy, Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Well at this point it’s more iffy than spiffy, but it’ll get there. Eventually. One day. One day far, far away in a land with chocolate rainbows and hula hooping kittens. ~ karen!

  48. Jamieson says:

    Yeah my whole-house renovation started with planning to build a garage out back. Because a garage would have blocked construction access for our far-in-the-future house reno, we decided to do everything all together. So now we have a new-looking house inside! And no money for the garage which we didn’t build even though it was the plan that started it all.

    • Cheryl says:

      I’m laughing out loud at your post! I can so relate. My current renovation (of a house built in 1883) also started out with plans to build a garage. But before that we needed to clean it out, but we didn’t have anywhere to put anything, which led to cleaning out some room in the basement, which led to cleaning out more closets upstairs so we could put that stuff in the newly cleaned basement. While we were upstairs we decided that it would be good to paint two bedrooms and then, because the painters would be here anyway we should probably have them paint the living room, entryway and stairwell upstairs, but while the painting would make the rooms downstairs look better, the hardwood floors were a disaster–so we decided to get them refinished, but only 1 room could be refinished because the other room was too thin to refinish, so it needed to be replaced, and we thought the house was going to be a mess, so as long as that was being done, we decided to move some french doors into the living area and get new insulated doors for the porch. This project has been happening since July. The painter is just finishing up this morning. We still do not have a new garage.

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