The new benchtop, hotplates, sink and tap were installed today. No photos until the kitchen is finished in a week or so, but the new bench top far exceeded our expectations. It wasn't really Carol who planted the seed of doubt. We had doubts ourselves about whether the old wall tiles would work with the new benchtop, but they do, very well. R has spent quite some time bleaching the tile grout to return it to white. Even though the new benchtop doubled the cost of the kitchen makeover, we see it as money well spent.
R overheard the gas man/plumber say to the bench installers, this is a really nice cooktop. While we know we bought the oven and hotplates very cheaply given they are high end brand, I am not sure what is so special about them. The stove top cleaner, me, will be the judge. Oh, I suppose the person who uses the hotplates to cook might have an opinion too but we won't worry too much about that. Ideally we would have liked a smooth glass induction cooktop, but as well as being expensive, we would have to have special wiring from the mains supply in service room. I could see a cost of $3000 just for a cooktop.
R is very happy as we were told we shouldn't really use the kitchen tonight, until all the silicone set, so it was take away fish and chips for dinner.
In spite of them leaving more mess than recent tradespeople have, a bit like the old days where cleaning was not their job, we are very happy, so far. Who said material things can't make you happy?