After about six months of searching, Laura located the perfect sink: a 1951 cast iron double drainboard beauty that’s 54″ long, with an 8″-deep basin. Stamped into its metal bottom is the following information: American Standard Radiator Sanitary Corporation, Baltimore, 8-20-1951. The sink was freight-shipped from an East Coast salvage yard to the Lazets’ house, then Laura and John set to the task of designing a wall of cabinets to accommodate it, which proved a little challenging. “Like most old floors, ours are uneven,” says Laura. “The floor drops 1¼” over the length of the sink.”
In order for the sink to sit level, local craftspeople at Wilson Restoration, who did all of the custom woodwork for the Lazets, created cabinets for the sink with hutch-style footings taller on one side than the other to minimize the sloping floor, then set the cabinets with shims. After the cabinets were installed, finish trim placed along the base also helped hide the tilt of the floor. In addition, the sink’s heft—which at some 200 pounds, weighs more than a countertop—required that the cabinet be fortified. All four sides of the cabinet were built with ¾” plywood, then a hidden support rail—also of ¾” plywood—was added between the cabinet doors. The cabinet’s sides were also made out of two pieces of wood.
Another challenge came when John tried to install the sink and found the original drain so firmly attached that it was impossible to remove. “I spent at least two days soaking it in penetrating oil and gently tapping the retaining ring,” he says, “but it wouldn’t budge.” Next, he carefully applied heat and tried tapping the ring again, still it wouldn’t move. “Finally, I had to cut it off with a recip saw,” John says, explaining that he was careful not to damage the threads so the rest of the ring would unscrew. When John went to install the new drain, he got another surprise; the new one Laura had purchased wasn’t deep enough, and they had to find another.