The Plumbing Rough In [Where Dreams Go to Die]

I woke up bright and early yesterday morning, all set to meet with the plumber and discuss our grand plans for the kitchen, but most importantly, the pantry. It was like the boring adult equivalent of Santa coming. I’ll be getting a working pantry! Oh happy day!


The beauty of an old house is it is old. By which I mean, it has a certain character that some homes lack. The downside to an older home? It has outdated….everything. If you want to do something simple like replace a sink, you are talking major work. It seems everything costs a lot more than you expect. And even what your contractor expects.

You see, our sink in the butler’s pantry didn’t vent. Hence, it wasn’t to code. This is plumbing speak for “expensive to fix” and “in some cases, like yours, impossible”. Nowadays, indoor plumbing requires venting- this helps to rid your pipes of sewer gas, essentially. So far as I understood the plumber, anyway.  Basically, it’s a health issue. This is how I got Kase to agree to demolish the pantry.  Safety issues trump all else in our house.

Our contractor gave us an estimate for this work, and it was pricey, but the pantry was a must for us, so we scrimped in other areas and made room in the budget.

And then? With a simple shake of his head, the plumber basically killed all of my dreams of double dishwashers and farmhouse sinks and most importantly- the wine fridge. Well, technically, we talked it up, down and all around, we walked the perimeter of the property, we spelunked into the scary basement,  but the bottom line was the same. If money were no object, my dream pantry was completely feasible. Unfortunately, we are made of …..not money. It was like a bad episode of “Love It or List It” and I was Hilary, learning from that awful contractor Eddie that my plan was too expensive and too much work. Stupid dream killer Eddie.

I had demolished a perfectly charming, albeit dysfunctional, pantry. Now, I had this:


No bueno. This is the moment in the renovation when you ask yourself “Hmmm, have we made a mistake?” And Kase responds, “What are you talking about, “we?””

So with that, I rebooted the old computer (who am I kidding, it’s always on), contacted our kitchen designer who just happened to come by the day before to finalize our plans, and explained that I would be reworking the plan. Again. And he didn’t have to worry about those pesky 24 inch deep cabinets anymore.

I’ve planned out the stupid kitchen in so many configurations I can’t see straight anymore. I just hope it looks semi-decent by the time it actually goes in.  Honestly, it’s like “Cabinets? Do we need those? Are you sure? What about the refrigerator?”

In the end, I realize that this is a total first world problem. And it’s not even a problem. It’s a setback. On a lifelong monthslong dream, but still. Just a setback.  I have to look at the silver lining. It’s not a total wash. I am getting back all that cabinet storage I was sacrificing. And I’ll be gaining more counter space since we’ll no longer have a sink eating up the dedicated space. All that electrical that went in already will actually accommodate some appliances which we can hide in the cabinetry. And I didn’t have to get rid of my wine fridge, which may be the only thing pulling me through this. But, still.

I’ll be mourning my second dishwasher for a little while longer.  Your condolences are appreciated. 😉


3 thoughts on “The Plumbing Rough In [Where Dreams Go to Die]

  1. Ugh. What a nightmare. I’ve always dreamed of renovating an old house, but you’re talking me out of it. Well, I talked myself out of it when we moved two months ago and I told B that the next time you’d see me moving I’d be in a casket.

    Thinking of you. Hope something comes together to make your plan B absolutely perfect.

  2. Ask your plumber about using a “studor vent” which is a type of “air admittance valve”. This is one way to do plumbing venting inexpensively and less invasively.

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