With the faintest glimmer of hope, our next stop was Scavolini, an Italian kitchen manufacturer who just recently opened a showroom in NYC. They are known for quality and innovation, something my friend Paul Anater wrote about recently in Sensational Scavolini, and a price tag to match. When all was said and done however, it wasn’t the €25,000 my friends at Lo Stile quoted me a few weeks earlier.
The showroom we visited was certainly not in NYs Soho district but in the humble Fuorigrotta district, one of Naples most western quartieri. It took no time at all to find the perfect drawer/door fronts – a gorgeous lacquered/glossy front in beige they call laccata lucida. I absolutely loved it. Our sales rep Antonio took down the dimensions of the kitchen and set about designing a plan that was so not me. After a lot of back and forth I ceded and let him run with it. For the time being it was just easier that way. I was just trying to get to a price point and date so I could figure out my next move (or non-move).
The price wasn’t unreasonable. Higher than IKEA for sure, but I reasoned quality and personal service had a price. The date – well that went something like this – “I’m sorry Signora, but within two weeks is impossible. It’s the Christmas season and our plant will be closed for three weeks so you are looking at the middle of January earliest.”
So there it was – the response I had expected, but hoped I wouldn’t hear.
Back home we made the decision to stay in the old apartment another month. I so didn’t relish the idea of spending the holidays in a torn apart apartment, but what could I do. I had no kitchen and zero idea what I was going to do with the other 45 square meters, so best to just slow down the whole process.
Since we were going to wait until mid January either way and since I hadn’t gotten the design plan I wanted at Scavolini, we reasoned it was worth another trip to IKEA. There were quite a few things they offered that Scavolini didn’t. For starters, I fell in love with the vent for the stove. I had looked at hundreds of vents, from traditional to modern and didn’t like any of them. I was going to settle for an under cabinet vent but feared it wouldn’t be powerful enough. Most kitchens here have no external vents so grease can be a huge, huge problem, as I found out in our Posillipo apartment. This time around I didn’t want to find grease build-up throughout the house. The IKEA vent was not only gorgeous, but a large powerful vent with three filters. Perfect!
IKEA also had a stainless steel work table that I was planning to put the cooktop on with lots of open storage below. And truth be told, I liked their special order countertop better. Finally, there were the bottle holders that would flank my scolapiatti (dish drying cabinet). Try as I may I can’t seem to come to terms with upper cabinets, but I was unwilling to forgo my scolapiatti. Nevermind that after five years I’d finally have a dishwasher again and didn’t really need it, I had grown very attached to it. It was a piece of my Italian life I was just unwilling to give up. But you can’t just stick up one cabinet can you? Well, I figured out a way to make it work, but I needed the IKEA vent and bottle holders.
So the whole decision between IKEA and Scavolini really came down to quality – score one for Scavolini, functionality – score one for IKEA, personal service – score another for Scavolini, price – score another for IKEA, and… whether or not I could live with IKEAs white cabinets or really wanted Scavolini’s beige.
Another jaunt on the A4R and we were patiently waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more for our turn with the sales girl. This time around we remembered to bring the exact measurements for our water, drain and gas hookups which we had failed to do last time. With any luck I thought, we might just get a kitchen ordered by the end of the day.
And this is where the whole thing went awry, again. Try as I may to explain to the sales girl that I had put the sink exactly where it had been originally, she wasn’t buying that my measurements would work. I explained, I reasoned, I cajoled, I begged and pleaded, all to no avail. She scrapped my plan and started moving things around and no amount of explanation about why I wanted things a certain way could stop her.
After 30 minutes of unsuccessful negotiations I said grazie tante and we left.
Hi ho, hi ho, it’s back to Scavolini we go.
This time around I would not be deterred. If I had to wait until Easter, I would get the cabinet fronts I wanted, the design I wanted and the price I wanted. I sat down with Antonio and showed him my design. After a bit of back and forth and lots of explanations, we finally agreed that I would get the vent from IKEA and he would custom make the bottle holders and a cabinet that would resemble the IKEA work table. Because of variations in cabinet sizes, I did have to make some concessions, but on balance, the plan was perfect. Well almost!
The deal was sealed in classic Neapolitan fashion, over a caffè at a local bar. Now all that was left to do – find a contractor to prep the kitchen, design the rest of the apartment, sell the rest of the furniture, find a mover, and oh yes – move-in. Stay tuned!
If you are just tuning in, you can read the rest of the saga at Moving from Posillipo to Chiaia.