Kona Bath Remodel and Meeting Cyndi Lauper at Safeway

Kona Bath Remodel

Apart from meeting Cyndi Lauper at the grocery store yesterday, I also completed our Kona bath remodels, finally. Yes, finally. My original game plan of starting on August 16th and being completed by early September totally blew up because Lowes did not follow up on my purchases to track delivery. Responsibility, oversight and culpability were main reasons to hire Lowes. But being understaffed, they let crap slip through the cracks; stuff happens, and you deal with it.

So I had to add an additional trip for the year back to Hawaii Island. Darn.

The photo above is the original photo of our master bedroom vanity area. It had been remodeled since the 1990s. You can tell because it has a new faucet, a new light fixture, but the original crappy pressed wood cabinets, ugly wall-to-wall mirror and horribly installed medicine cabinet gives it away.

Kona Bath Remodel

In this photo, you can see my Kona bath remodel. See, I think ahead. I wonder if I will like this design 10 or 20 years from now. If not, I’m not doing it. In fact, I truly believe more people should think about their remodels in this manner. What’s the point of doing it, going through all of that shit if you’re gonna hate it a few years down the road?


I raised the height of the cabinet, for starters. Bought a kitchen-height vanity (difference of 2 inches). The hardware is Amerock Eydon weathered nickel. In Hawaii, most metals rust out, and this gave me a fighting chance. The counter top is called Popcorn Quartz, and I got it from Oahu. Lotus vessel sink with waterfall faucet came from Overstock and the light fixture from Lamps Plus.

Mirrors losing the silver edge and turning black is a major problem in every single state in the country of America. Because of chemistry. Combination of humidity and high salt air in Hawaii is a dangerous combination for any kind of metal, actually, for real. Nothing you can do but re-silver, frame in (which is what I advise clients) or replace with a framed version.

What do you think of this portion of my Kona bath remodel? You don’t like it? Well, then, I say with my worst-ever British accent: click on Wheel of Fortune then and leave me alone.

Kona Bath Remodel

Here is my guest bath in its original state. There is an edge of the cultured marble that is discolored, possibly from some idiot placing a cigarette on its edge and letting it burn as she applies mascara. Oh, the good ol’ days. And the mirror of the medicine cabinet is severely discolored as well. Not to mention, I really do not like the guitar shape of the cheap-ass counter top nor the horrid faucet.

The shower surround is in an alcove and just as nasty. The chrome faucet was crumpled up so badly I was surprised any water could emit from it. Further, if I tried to put my head under it, I took a chance of cutting open my head if I bumped it the wrong way. On top of which, the tub itself was some fiberglass concoction. You never feel like your cold fat butt is sitting on anything solid.

Kona Bath Remodel

Here is the remodel. Same Lotus vessel sink and waterfall faucet, plus an ungodly expensive Kohler medicine cabinet, as it is the only size to fit that space without extensive modifications. Same vanity and ditto on the popcorn quartz and matching mirror.

See, I look at this and I believe I can still love it 10 years from now. Which is more than I can say about Millennials swarming to the grays that are all of the rage at the moment. What is gray, you might ask? Well, overcast skies, cement, dead people. Things that are not attractive. Dull. Depressing. Sad. Yet everybody wants to do gray because it is new. Well, I got news for ya.

Not that anybody cares. Go ahead, learn the hard way.

Or do your next home improvement project like my Kona bath remodel and pick a design, colors and materials that will stand the test of time. Don’t believe me? I have two words for you: hunter green.

Kona Bath Remodel

This is my beautiful 32-inch wide tub for which I designed my small guest bath around. A thing of beauty. 17 inches deep. Versus 9 inches of depth with the old tub. Oh, and Cyndi Lauper? Well I’m pretty sure it was her. Is there another celebrity who looks like Cyndi Lauper? True, she is younger than me, but only by barely a year. Cyndi, give me a jingle, we’ll hang out.

I met her at Safeway. Checking out groceries with a brand new check-out clerk by the name of Marie. I know this because she told me I was her first customer. I felt so honored. She felt so nervous. And Cyndi Lauper was behind me, growing a bit annoyed. “Well,” she snorted, “They will have to open a new cash register.” Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Like that’s gonna happen.

God damn if she doesn’t sound just like me when I get irritated.

She had something on the conveyor belt, which, btw, had stopped running, rolled up in large paper bags. Maybe from the deli. I dunno. She noticed I was wearing an Apple Watch. I spoke up as I rearranged the items on the non-moving conveyor belt, kidding around that soon my Apple Watch would ask me if I was “working out” and to which I would reply, oh, absolutely, YES.

“Does your watch track your steps?” she asked. Oh yes, I affirmed, every single day. Then she asked a question she had absolutely no business asking; she asked a question I would hahaha ask a complete stranger (because people will not), which is also why I’m sorry I didn’t have more time to chat because she seemed a lot like me. She asked: how many steps do you do in a day? From experience, I know most people DO NOT answer these types of questions unless they do not think.

Pretty ballsy, Lauper.

But. It is Hawaii. Different Aloha.

OK, I could not resist the set up. I replied 200 steps. .

Huge chortle. Yeah, I made Cyndi Lauper belly laugh.

Hey, you asked, I chuckled.

Unexpected reply. That is comedy. But some of that about 200 steps a day is true on certain days. Those assholes with their 10,000 steps. No respect for them. Especially since originally it was only 5,000. Screw you people! Waaahh!

Then, I left to go home and unload my groceries so I could make it on time to the Beth Shalom memorial for the victims of massacre in Pittsburgh. But not before I gave Marie, the new checkout clerk at Safeway, an A-Plus for her first checkout. So honored to be part of that experience. An employee’s first interaction with a customer. Totally glad it was me.

As for Cyndi Lauper, I suppose it could be a different celebrity I am thinking of. In fact, now that I focus on this story in retrospect, I don’t think it was Cyndi Lauper. I am now convinced it was Patricia Clarkson. Those two look very similar to each other, don’t you agree?

Elizabeth Weintraub







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