Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Three Bathrooms and a Range-Cooker

OK - forget about the "what-happened-in-the-past-year-and-a-half" stuff for awhile. As of today, we are finally on our way to the one thing that, in my mind, will make this house habitable: a bathroom.

For months, M. Carbourdin, the mason, has been promising us that the tiles in our bathrooms will be finished by the end of July. And yet, July inched closer and closer with nary a tile laid. In fact, for the past several weeks we stopped hearing from M. Carbourdin altogether, despite numerous phone calls from Dawg.

Although Dawg was getting anxious, I wasn't worried because Carbourdin, though on the whole extremely reliable, gets like that sometimes. If he doesn't have a positive answer for you, he will simply not return your phone call until he has one. (This strikes me as a very french way of dealing with something. I'm generalizing wildly here, but, in my experience, the french are not big on saying "I don't know." They will go through all kinds of convolutions and sometimes even make up crazy, clearly untrue stories to avoid saying, "I don't know." On the whole, I admire Carbourdin's approach. Clearly he thinks it is more honorable to ignore clients than to lie to them!)

Anyway, yesterday he sent an email, full of apologies, informing us that the tile guy would be starting that very day. And as far as we know, he has.

I am so excited about this. This is the dream. A house with a brand-new bathroom. No, no -- a house with three new bathrooms! Do you remember what the old one looked like? Well, take a gander:

Yeah. You understand why I'm so excited. It will be so nice when this toilet is a distant memory.

Not that we ever used it. I would have happily let myself explode first.

The Range Cooker

But the bathroom isn't the only exciting thing going on. We're buying an oven. And not just any old oven - a Lacanche

Nice, huh? This is a serious stove. We're pretty sure we want the Saulieu model, but we still have a few other decisions to make. For example, how many burners to have. We will definitely opt for the classic four burner hob, but we could have as many as six. Six burners! The very thought of it makes me grin like an idiot. I can just see me now, whirling around the oven in a white chef's hat, manning a half-dozen copper pots and pans filled with complicated sauces and tender vegetables (from our own garden, of course), while checking on the huge golden turkey that is roasting below. Mmm. Six burners sounds nice.

But - is that just me being swept up in another house fantasy again? Will I really use six burners outside of big events like Thanksgiving and Christmas? Will I miss not having six burners if I don't get them? I don't know. I will say that both Dawg and I like to cook, and like to cook big. Anybody out there with (or missing) a six-burner stove have an opinion?

Now, if we don't get the six-burners, we could get a "short order cook." No, not a big-bellied man in a grimy white apron wielding a spatula, but a long cast-iron plate on which we could fry hamburgers, flip pancakes, sling hash, etc. Oh yeah. That sounds good too.

We could also get - a healthier version of the short order cook - a "plancha". This is a long, flat stainless steel sheet on which we could sear fish, cook vegetables, etc. The Lacanche salesman really tried to push this option, openly mocking our interest in the six-burners ("What are you, cooks?). With the plancha, said he, we'd hardly have to use any oil on our food. We'd be super healthy! Naturally, the plancha costs an additional 1,000 euros or so.

We have one more important thing to decide about the oven: the color. These beauties come in a dizzying array of shades, from "provence yellow" to "terracotta" to "tangerine" to "black." Making these kinds of decisions are fun but tough. At first we were thinking yellow, but the saleman told us that a yellow stove is very five years ago. (The horror!) Now we're thinking "tangerine" or just plain old black. The tangerine is gorgeous and fun, but will it still be so 15 years from now? Black seems classic and cozy, but is it too boring?

Readers with an opinion - please weigh in. I'd love to know how other people make decisions like this!


Jane Plane said...

Black seems so normal (okay, boring. But beautiful!), when you have such unique options. That Portuguese Blue is very appealing, as is the Tangerine. I think orange would date faster than blue. Marron glace is also very pretty. I don't think I've ever wished for more than four burners, and I cook every day. I'm feeling so UNgourmet.

Anonymous said...

I like the royal blue, but the black looks conservative w/the gold trim, kinda handsome. Go for it!
Six burners, yea!--Sheik

Anonymous said...

If you can believe it, we have 5 burners but we rarely use the 5th one because when we really need it we are normally using big pots and there's just not enough room to to use the one in the center. My mom (who cooked big and often like you guys) had something that had the four burners at each corner with an oblong grill thingy (sounds like the short order cook) going down the center. It had a solid plate and something that you can use for grilling too (with grill marks). I remember her using it for pan searing steaks,catfish, poultry, and also using the flat plate for pancakes and bacon! My mom would also use that center thing for keeping stuff warm too. It was very versatile so you might use that option more.

BTW do you think Dawg can handle the clutter of 6 pots on a stove at one time? :~)

the colors are wonderful!
I think the Tangerine is stunning - you know it is Zbop's favorite color. The terracotta is a tamer variation and still adds the warmth the tangerine brings. The blues(both)are both very nice. The black is really lovely too. So many options! Enjoy!

ian said...

the black is spectacular!!

kz said...

Of course I love Orange. Whatever you choose, I'm sure its going to be great!!!

amo said...

Hon, SO excited about your stove and loo. And I totally understand the thrill. I wouldn't go for black. But I WOULD advise coordinating carefully because while all those colors are so much fun, they're really strong colors and you'll have to be careful what you put around them. (It took me MONTHS to choose our bathroom tiles. Can you tell?) Anyway, you will need six burners to cook the feast when we arrive to partake of your three bathrooms!! Congrats on getting the blog going again. xxx

John said...

We have 5 burners on a US standard sized range/oven. We're really happy with it, and it comes with a drop-in frying griddle that I've used a few times. Who can really cook six dishes at once? (Well if there are two of you . . .) But you can keep stuff in the warming drawer if you get one of those. We wrote some about our appliance choices.

John said...

Oh, I forgot, that you really should take Raquel's advice on potties.

The Muehli's said...

Congrats on the bathrooms! Success at last. Your contractor sounds a bit like a Croatian worker we had but he would not avoid us because he didn't have an answer - it would usually be because he had taken on too much work or was having a nervous breakdown. But you seem to still be happy with your guy & hopefully your baths will be in the house in no time!

The stove is beautiful! I don't know what your kitchen cabinets will look like but I personally love the Marron Glace & Burgundy Red. I like most of the lighter colors also but keeping them and black clean can be a pain...but just go with what you will be happy looking at all the time and 10 years down the road also ;)

As for how many burners...we have 4 here and wish at times there were more - but aside from large parties or events like Thanksgiving, do you really need that many burners? Can you even fit that many pots on there at one time? The grill/griddle option is wonderful...I would have SO much trouble choosing!!!

All the best!

Lola said...

Thanks so much for all the comments and opinions! We're slowly edging away from orange, though regretfully. We'd be building our whole kitchen around this one orange stove...now we're looking into marron glace (thanks to Jane and Tiffany for pointing us that way!), the light green and, still, the black.

Laura Resurrectors said...

I agree that a maroon would be an appealing color in this old house of yours.

I so wish a dealer would sell this stove brand in the states. The closest thing to it available to us is the Electrolux ranges.

Anonymous said...

1I have just bought a brand new gas range cooker and I am so satisfied. My kitchen now is complete. Rangemaster is really fantastic.