The Kitchen Renovation Splurge I Totally Shouldn’t Have Made

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Dana McMahan)

Kitchen renovations are basically one long series of compromises. Stumble upon a Ferrari red Bertazzoni range at half price? Obviously you have to slash the budget elsewhere (many elsewheres) to make that the star of the new kitchen. More often than not, these compromises are focused on the savings and not the splurging.

Those splurges are oh-so-tempting, though, and wait for you around every corner — and on every Pinterest or Instagram refresh. While my husband and I found lots of places to save on our kitchen reno (think: cabinets found on Facebook Marketplace, purchased from the back of a truck; using some of the least expensive backsplash tile available; and salvaging a hardwood floor instead of replacing it) there were a few places I couldn’t resist a little upgrade.

Specifically: the touch faucet.

We encountered this little beauty while wandering around a shiny kitchen and bath showroom in search of inspiration. Still elated from our steal on the new range, my eyes turned next to the gleaming “champagne bronze” fixtures. One was just right — a sleek arch, simple and elegant with a pull-out sprayer. It was everything we needed. And something we didn’t even know we needed until the salesperson demonstrated. You didn’t have to bother with the work of actually turning on the tap! Instead, you can merely touch it. Yes — the future is happening, friends.

What is the point of this? one might wonder. Well, if you’ve ever been elbow-deep in something in the kitchen that you didn’t want smeared all over your faucet — delicious dry-aged ground beef on burger night, I’m looking at you — this could be extremely handy. Keeping the bacteria safely away from surfaces where contamination could spread, you just touch the faucet anywhere with your arm, back of your hand, whatever. Boom! Instant water to wash up with. Then touch it again to turn it off. No need to leave dirty fingerprints on that pretty finish.

Sounds great! We were sold. Except the official list price for this puppy was $734.30. Ha, no. I’m a big fan of Amazon Warehouse Deals and resellers, so that was my first stop. And there I found a refurbished model without the ‘Touch2O Technology” for under 200 bucks. If we were willing to spend more, we could get the fancy add-on. Since we were already saving so much off the list price, I figured, we should splurge on the upgrade. (It was still only $203!)

On the happy day that we got our kitchen back, after weeks of renovation, we played with the faucet like kids with a new toy. Look ma, no hands!

Then we started using it in earnest. And I hate when this happens, but I have to admit that we were totally wrong to get it. It’s great in principle, for sure. But what happens is you accidentally turn it on when you don’t mean to, or turn it off when you’re just trying to move it, or you have to tap it a bunch of times to get it to work and end up in a rousing game of How Many Times Do I Have to Touch the Damn Thing. Or my personal favorite, the person who used it before you left it hotter than you expect. Yes, there’s a color-coded light to tell you how hot the water is, but if I can’t be bothered to turn on a tap the old-fashioned way, am I really going to stop and look at a teeny light? In short, it’s way more of an annoyance than it is a help.

Luckily we didn’t spend that much more to get this little bell and whistle, but still, in a renovation every dollar counts. We’re probably going to end up turning off this feature, and I could have used that money somewhere else.