New Faucet!

Recently, I have undergone a major change—a fundamental shift in my entire perspective on my day to day life and activities. It happened so quickly and dramatically that it’s a little hard to process, even difficult to describe without getting choked up. I am shaken to my core.

faucet-1

Ladies and gentlemen: I no longer dread doing dishes. Filling large pots of water or the caverns of our Brita are no longer tasks that fill me with longing and dread. At last, I have a new kitchen faucet, and it fills my heart with joy.

faucetbefore

Here is my old faucet. Even looking at it is upsetting. After almost two years, I’d gotten so used to this thing that I almost didn’t see it as a problem anymore——just another of life’s little daily hurdles to be overcome, like my subway card not swiping or my socks not matching. Our sink is only about 6 inches deep (because it’s crappy) and because the faucet is so low, we only had about 7 inches of clearance between the spout and the bottom of the sink. For a long time, I blamed the sink, but what do you do about a sink? I could replace the sink, but then I’d probably need a new countertop, and I’d need to re-plumb the whole thing, and that just seemed crazy. It wasn’t killing anyone.

When I realized that a new faucet could probably alleviate a lot of my frustrations, it took me a while to justify it. I could deal with the slow leak that occurred at the base of the spout every time I turned it on. I could handle breaking glass after glass while doing the dishes, trying to manipulate things in the cramped space. Having to dump half the water out of a pot to get it out from under the faucet just seemed like a sign that maybe we shouldn’t eat so much spaghetti. Which is true. We shouldn’t eat so much spaghetti. So I left the faucet alone.

Besides, plumbing is just one of those things that makes me weirdly nervous. What if I were to accidentally cause a flood? I can picture the front door of our apartment opening and the water just rushing out, like a shattered fish tank, and quickly overtaking the entire building, then the street, then the borough. “Amateur Design Blogger Attempts to Mess with Plumbing, Floods East Coast” would read the headline in The Los Angeles Timesbecause all of the worthwhile newspapers would be underwater. The world would weep. If I hadn’t been dealt the mercy of a painless drowning, I would have to go on living, knowing everyone hates me. My life would be miserable.

But I am here to tell you that it was worth the risk. I had no idea what I was missing out on. No earthly notion of how much my life could be improved with about $150 and a trip to IKEA.

I wish I had photos of the whole process to show you, but unfortunately the space under my sink is frightfully dark and hazardously crowded, so I kind of wimped out on trying to document the whole thing. I have to say, though, it was shockingly quick and easy.

Step 1: Turn the water off. This is the first step to not flooding the world. We have one lever that cuts the water supply to the entire apartment and knobs on each of the hot and cold supply lines that turn the water off when rotated.

Step 2: From under the sink, disconnect the hot and cold supply lines from the old faucet with a wrench or pliers.

Step 3: Remove the old faucet! This was fairly straightforward, there were basically three big plastic nuts accessible from under the sink that kept it in place. After these were removed, the old faucet just lifted out from the top of the sink. I put it in a plastic bag and kept it under the sink—in the off chance we move, I’m not leaving the new faucet behind!

horrors

I’M SO SORRY FOR BRINGING THIS PICTURE INTO THIS. By far the worst part of the whole process was taking out the old faucet to discover this broken down nasty crusty-ass mess under it. I think it’s old decomposed rubber? And mold? It easily scraped off and I was able to completely clean the stainless steel underneath back to shiny stainless glory, but still, I am scarred by this sight. And now you are, too!

deckadapter

Because the new IKEA faucet only requires one hole in the sink (or countertop), I needed to cover the outer two existing holes. I read somewhere that IKEA faucets come with a deck adaptor, but this is a lie. I purchased mine for about $15 from Amazon.

After that, it was just a matter of dropping the new faucet bits down through the hole and getting them all hooked up! The IKEA faucets come pre-assembled, so this was all very simple and straightforward. Just read the directions.

supplylines

The one thing that stood in the way of this being a SUPER quick install was that the supply lines on the IKEA faucet were too short to extend all the way to the valves, so I had to go to Lowes to buy extenders. I thought this might be really hard, but it turns out that they sell pieces specifically for this problem. An employee helped me locate them super quickly, and I was in and out the door in minutes and for less than $20.

The IKEA instructions didn’t make any mention of this, but I used plumber’s tape at all of the threaded connections to keep things super water-tight and leak-free. So far, so good! It’s really easy stuff to find and work with, and for about a dollar and a few extra minutes, it’s totally worth it for the little bit of added security.

after

And that was it! Don’t you just want to lick it? It’s OK, it’s a very natural reaction.

IT. HAS. CHANGED. EVERYTHING.

Seriously, all those little tasks that used to be so irritating with the old faucet are now so easy and enjoyable! I used to hate doing dishes with a burning fiery passion, and now I’m actually a little disappointed when there aren’t any to do. What the hell kind of person likes doing dishes? Me, apparently. I do. I’m that person. Me and my new faucet, taking on the world, one dirty casserole pan at a time.

actionshot

Here’s a glamorous action shot of my precious at work. Look at it go!

I’m welling up.


73 Comments

  1. Such a simple thing that makes a HUGE difference! How funny that one shiny, new faucet could help you find your dishwashing mojo.

  2. It’s called a deck adaptor? Who the hell knew. I was sure it was “thaat-thingy-that-covers-the-extra-holes”

    • I didn’t know, either! I don’t even remember what I was calling it, but my friend Anna told me!

    • They are also surprisingly hard to find. I did this in my apartment last summer with a different model IKEA faucet that didn’t come with the deck plate and was just designed for a single hole sink. The person in the ikea faucet section suggested that I could just buy one to match at a home depot…no problem.

      Unfortunately, I went to multiple home stores and the employees looked at me like I was a crazy person. Apparently if they don’t come with the faucet, you can’t get one and you have to use ugly disks of metal to fill the individual holes.

      Even looking online was fairly difficult…I could find things in fancy colors/textures (rose/brushed brass/etc) but it took a lot of searching to find a decent looking plate in either stainless or chrome from an amazon seller. Not the highest quality thing, but it was literally the only one I found that met my needs.

      If I was doing it again, I’d probably spend a little more on one of the faucet models that comes with the deck plate. Still though, it is amazing how much it changed my feelings about my apartment kitchen. I went from hating to loving. My hot water is scaldingly hot (and in the winter, the cold is bitingly cold) so the old 2-knob faucet was terrible. Turning on just the hot to wash your hands would result in pain if you took too long, but trying to get a decent mix with the two knobs was a pain. Now I just flip the lever somewhere in the middle and its all good.

      • And I should say…friends thought I was weird for replacing faucets in a rental unit (and other improvements I’ve made too).

        But something like this is so cheap (even if I sprung for a more expensive faucet). I’m in my 4th year of residence…if I had just replaced the damn thing 2 months in when I realized I hated it, you could look at it like a $2-3 a month rent increase. I’d gladly pay $2 a month to not hate my kitchen.

  3. I can’t believe I’m saying this about a faucet but here it goes… it’s BEAUTIFUL AND I LOVE IT.

  4. You are the only person in the world that can make a post about a new faucet interesting, funny & informative.

    (And it looks lovely!)

  5. frame 2: former faucet hangs its head in shame.

  6. In the final shot you can really see how ridiculously shallow your sink is!

  7. Functional & pretty! So, when going to Ikea did you pick up new cabinet doors for the kitchen as well?

  8. I think you can clone previous occupants of the apartment with that crud from under the taps

  9. Wow Daniel, looks like you are really on tap of things in the kitchen!

  10. It’s gorgeous! The old one is definitely a sad sight in comparison. Now I’m ashamed of my similar faucet and have the urge to go on a plumbing expedition.

    And now because I can’t stop staring and envying your kitchen sink area, where is that dish rash from? Mine bugs the hell out of me.

    • The dish drying rack? I think Bed Bath and Beyond a couple years ago…it was really cheap and nothing special, but it does the job.

  11. You’re my homeimprovement genius. You can do everything-WOW.I am seriously impressed.

  12. Who the hell installs a kitchen sink with seven inches of clearance?!?! Looks great now!

  13. Awesome! I’ve been thinking about replacing the faucet in our rental bathroom but I’ve been to scared, especially because I’d be going from two separate handles to one, like you did. You’ve made it seem so much less painful! Maybe I will do it after all…

  14. I bought a new faucet for my last apartment and brought it with me to my present one. Old faucet is in a bag in a cupboard I never use. :] I know exactly the elation you feeling, friend.

  15. congratulations on finding faucet happiness. it looks righteously in command of the sink. your last line got me…………

  16. YOU are a fabulous writer! Thank you for entertaining me with your words and informing of your triumphs in apartment makeovers. I am inspired by both.

  17. My old apartment had the same horrible sink setup. I only wish I had thought to do the same thing!

  18. Oh my gosh our sink is just as shallow and our faucet is just as short, it drives me UP THE GODDAMN WALL. I’ve been wanting to do what you did for a while, but I can’t bring myself to spend money on a faucet when we plan to redo the whole kitchen eventually. But when I read about your life change…maybe I’ll Craigslist it :).
    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Maybe this is stating the obvious, but could you just buy your faucet for the reno’d kitchen now, install it, and just reuse it when you do the full renovation? It’s seriously such a MASSIVE improvement, it might really be worth it! You could also definitely buy a cheaper one that would achieve the same thing…I just got lazy and IKEA was convenient and exactly what I wanted, and I figured we could reuse if/when we move. If you aren’t TOO fussy about what it looks like and plan to replace it in a few years or so anyway, Overstock or Amazon might be great options for something in the $50-60 range!

      • I’ve thought about it, but we definitely need a new sink and I wanted to make sure the faucet would work with the new sink too. I’m probably just being paranoid though cuz it looks like these faucets will work with most setups.

      • Yeah, I’m not an expert, but I think most faucets interface with most sinks! These can go either directly through the sink (like ours) or through a countertop (like if you had/will have an undermount sink or one without faucet holes). Unless you’re going to install something really weird, I don’t think you’d have a problem! Stuff like this is generally pretty standardized and less complex than it might seem!

  19. hooray for you!!! it looks great.

  20. Gorgeous! And I think you gave me the courage to attempt this myself. I have a plastic bin that is for things I have to put back when I move. Light switch and outlet plates (I don’t like white or off-white plastic ones I have my own wooden ones I have painted black), shower curtain cheapie rings (this place I am in now put up a brand new liner w/rings between tenants), etc.. And I want to object to you referring yourself an amateur design blogger– YOU ARE AWESOME. This post was so funny. Thanks for being you!!

  21. I love my faucet, too – funny how such a simple thing can bring so much pleasure, Daniel!

  22. Isn’t it great how such a small little thing can completely change your outlook on something? The only negative is that once its done, you start kicking yourself for waiting so long– as you rightly should since the new faucet looks lovely!

    • So true! It’s been a couple weeks and I’m STILL mad at myself. It should have been the first thing I did in the kitchen, not one of the last!

      • Cut yourself some slack. There was SO much wrong in that kitchen you were just focused on the more egregious elements. Also, I just LOVE it when you have a new post!

  23. I have a deep abiding love for the Edsvik Ikea faucet (I just want to fondle the cross shaped handles all day long). And thanks to you and this tutorial Daniel, it shall be mine. Bwahahahaha.

  24. The crud on the bottom of your old faucet is probably very old plumbers putty. It helps to seat the faucet so it doesn’t rock – I don’t think it prevents leaks.

  25. Im gonna be a fancy show off know it all
    the covers for the holes are called escutcheon plates

    http://www.faucet.com/vigo-vg17001st-stainless-steel-solid-brass-escutcheon/f1745913

    dont ask me why I know this I have no idea :)
    faucet = happy

  26. You are a freaking funny writer, so clever. I just love your website. I wish I could write like you. You give a great tutorial blended with an anecdote and sharp humor. I wish we were friends!

  27. We’ve changed every faucet we’ve ever had. Critical. You touch that thing soooo many times a day. It should bring you joy.

  28. Thats an awesome looking tap you have there, life changing indeed. Im 2 weeks into a 5 week kitchen renovation and was looking at the bigger is better taps but I think you have have just convinced me now!

  29. Hooray! I understand your excitement over the new faucet. We lived with a similarly crappy (even when it was new…in 1976 when the house was built) faucet that leaked and dripped. We kept telling ourselves that we would replace it during the kitchen reno, which is still probably 1-2 years away…deep breath…but just couldn’t take it anymore. A trip to Home Depot (or was it Lowe’s?) and an hour or so of plumbing and we still can’t believe we didn’t make the change sooner. Weirdly happy for you, enjoy!

  30. What a difference! clap clap clap!!

    Next you should get a Magisso sponge holder. Instead of suction cups it uses strong magnets.

    http://www.panik-design.com/acatalog/Magisso—Sink-Multiholder-For-Sponge-or-Brush.html I like this design.

    On amazon they sell another Magisso style that’s cheaper
    http://www.amazon.com/Magisso-Black-Sponge-Holder/dp/B007SYUKJM

  31. Woa! You’re not kidding about that thing being shallow. Looks great!
    Funny how such a (seemingly) small improvement can make such a big difference.

  32. Great update! You’ve encouraged me to make some updates in my rental but I always wonder… do you make them at your expense? Do you plan to remove them later when you’re gone? Your kitchen upgrade it’s incredible…

    • It depends on the upgrade, but generally, yes. Stuff like the faucet, though, we can definitely bring with us, and that goes for a lot of stuff (basically anything but the paint on the walls!). I think it’s OK to invest some money to improve our quality of life while we live here, which I think will be for a long time.

      • Hi~
        I am a midwesterner and am blown away with what you do to a rental…this would never have flown with ANY landlords I have had…is this a common east coast/NYC thing? Does your landlord know you have done all these things? Does he/she care/encourage or shut a blind eye? Have you written on this topic before? Truely amazing transformation you have going!!!!

  33. I think the only thing better than that gorgeous glamour shot would be a picture of the fantastic new faucet that also shows the fabulous new floor. But well done. I need to do something about my own. It’s also a gooseneck but the pully out part that sprays doesn’t stay latched in the faucet part when I try to put it back in. It just dangles. It’s super frustrating and gets water everywhere.

    jbhat

  34. Love it! We purchased a new faucet recently but instead of using the deck adaptor I got a faucet hole cover and a dispenser for hand soap. Life changing stuff!!

    faucet hole cover: http://www.amazon.com/Danco-80830-4-Inch-Kitchen-Faucet/dp/B000JFNOMC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367946913&sr=8-1&keywords=faucet+hole+cover

    soap dispenser: http://www.amazon.com/Premier-552029-13-Ounce-Dispenser-Brushed/dp/B001FODIAO/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1367947004&sr=1-1&keywords=faucet+soap+pump

  35. OH. MY. GOD. This is brilliant and I want to do this in my apartment. ASAP.

    So, thanks for the inspiration and also, thanks for the chuckle!

  36. The faucet is beautiful. But, more importantly (to me, anyway), is that I use the exact old refridgerator glass container for my dish sponge! I thought I was being original. Nothing new under the sun.

    • Ha! I just pulled that out of a box on someone’s stoop (people often leave a box or two of stuff they want to get rid of on their stoop and wait for people to take things in Brooklyn before tossing it all…it’s really cute) over the weekend! I was obviously channeling you. :)

  37. After replacing our faucet a couple of years ago, I wondered: why did any company ever make the stupid original faucet? And why are they still making them? They’re almost pointless.

    • I know! I guess just because they’re so cheap, so they sell, but even other types of $20 faucets are much better designed!

    • It’s a faucet for a bathroom sink, where you not only don’t need a high faucet, but would bump your head on a high one (like Daniel’s new beauty) when brushing your teeth.

  38. I can see why you love doing dishes. So pretty.

  39. beauty job! I love watching your home progress! now, please hide those soaps and pads under the sink (you & the rest of the design world). don’t know when we started keeping these items out for the camera.

    • Thanks! Re: soaps——like, always, or just for pictures? I’m not really a big fan of doing either, to be honest. I’m a real person with a real life with lots of real dirty dishes, and I think it’s pretty normal to have your soap and sponges accessible? I’ll concede I could probably store them better, but taking them out of the sink area entirely just seems silly!

      • your response made me smile cuz yea it probably is silly… but I hide mine under the sink when not in use cuz I like to pretend my apt is “world of interiors”… oh and i may just have inherited a bit of the crazy :)

  40. Excellent choice! We’ve (finally) bought our own flat and will be ripping out the existing kitchen and going all Ikea on it’s ass. This is the faucet (tap. I’m British.) that we’re getting and I’m glad it’s worked out for you! :-)

  41. HOLD THE PHONE! You’re telling me if I just buy a new faucet it’ll cause me to spontaneously want to do dishes? I would rather clean toilets than do dishes!

  42. Love the pyrex dish you have your sponge in! Oh and the faucet too :)

  43. I don’t think the teflon tape on the water lines is needed/useful. The water seal is the rubber bit in fitting. If water makes it past that, then it will be coming out elsewhere than the threads, like between the brass bits and the hose. You want to make sure that none of that tape gets in between the rubber bit and the seat that it mates to… blah, blah, blah. Having said that, Love the faucet.

  44. Another marvelous doing Daniel! I don’t know how you could ever leave that rental now. It’s absolutely stunning. I get giddy with every decision you’ve made with it so far. Well done!

  45. Fab improvement, Daniel! IMPORTANT NOTE to those who are inspired to try this for themselves: BEFORE you even buy a new faucet replacement, take a good look at the “angle stop” valves below the sink. There’s one for cold water and one for hot water and their purpose is to allow you to shut off the water flow to the faucet itself. I rent a condo in a building almost 40 years old. I wasn’t brave enough to try to replace my kitchen faucet myself so I brought in a plumber to do it. He refused to replace the faucet without replacing those angle stop valves first. They were really “sticky” and it would have taken a wrench to turn them enough to shut off the water. His concern was that the valve itself would break in the process of shutting the water off or back on again — and then I would have literally had a flood.

    If the angle stops under YOUR sink turn on and off easily – great! – start shopping for a new faucet. But if the valves are creaky and old and don’t work well, then it might be safer to get them replaced first, (which means that the water service to your apartment/condo will have to be shut off, sometimes easier said than done.)

  46. Nice upgrade! When using plumber tape make sure you put this on in the right direction – otherwise things might get worse instead of better =) Of course it sound just logical, that when srewing the two lines together, you don’t want to unscrew the plumber tape, but things happen!

    Keep cool! Alex

  47. Great post. Congrats on your upgraded faucet. Question: with a shallow sink and a high faucet, when the sink is empty, does the water naturally hit the sink bottom and splash outside the sink? Or does the water hit in a good spot and stay inside the sink?

  48. Oh my goooooooooooood I didn’t even realize I hated my kitchen faucet and now I realize it and I hate it. AGH!

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