I made a mistake and.....

kksmamaSeptember 18, 2013

For the benefit of those who follow, please post a mistake you made, with pictures if possible, and whether you decided to fix it or live with it. Things that weren't really mistakes but just looked "off" to you at first don't count.

I made a mistake not specifying light rail and so the carpenter put this up and I hate it. I chose shaker cabinets and other kitchen elements for clean simple lines, and am having this replaced.

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I can't even tell what "it" is!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 10:01PM
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trim sticks out too far?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Ack! Looks just like MY light rail ... but I take your point :)

Good idea for a thread. Layout mistakes, fortunately not so many. In the midst of planning, some doors were converted to pull outs, so in hind sight, I would have spec'd out different door/drawer front sizes, so as to allow a minimum of space without gaps. I'd love to resize my drawer fronts to minimize the amount of cabinet fronts without drawers.

You can sort of see this around the microwave. (Why on earth didn't I raise the MW so I could have a larger drawer underneath?)

You will see a couple of errors in this one. Wrong grout and caulk color (replaced since then). Also, outlet should really be either centered in a tile or hidden out of sight. I may try decouppaging the outlet (had good success in kitchen) or moving the outlet UP.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 10:07PM
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Sorry my post wasn't clear! Oldbat2be got it - there is nothing wrong with the light rail or its installation, but it isn't the right style for my kitchen and cabinets. Looks gorgeous on hers!
This thread has already helped me - I do see that the caulk is too dark in her picture, and so there is one more note to self about the need to specify. And even in a kitchen that looks like perfection to everyone else, a TKO owner can imagine improvements. It is like learning that even supermodels have insecurities.
Who else has a mistake to share - with a photo? Let's keep it to self-confession, there are plenty of threads which call out the shoddy workmanship of others ;)

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 6:23AM
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My biggest mistake was the cooktop I coveted and got - a Viking. I didn't like it at all. The markings on the dials wore out, but more importantly, I could never get it to simmer even after it was re-calibrated.

Second was not incorporating a specific place for dish towels. I don't like them hanging on door or appliance handles, but I do like them "out" rather than under the sink. The problem was they ended up (not by me of course :-) ) on the counter. In my upcoming remodel, we'll have a filler next to the sink and the hooks for the towels will go on the filler, not in the way of anything. I saw this arrangement in an open house and liked it).

(The other big "mistake" was borne out of necessity, since we were constrained by the location of a doorway that couldn't be changed. I ended up with one drawer/cabinet that was only 12" wide, and generally speaking, I find those useless for anything but 1000 pens and pencils!)

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 12:02PM
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That's same as mine and I love it. But I can see why since you went pure shaker. I did a modified shaker....more formal look, so it works in my kitchen. My cabinets are P&F...are yours?

Sorry I didn't make any mistakes on my personal kitchen...fit like a glove. But as a KD for 30 years, I have made several over the years. Fortunately, nothing very costly....yet! Knock on wood!!!


    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 12:11PM
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Mine was deciding on a "typical" 4" backsplash attached to the counter. It's dated looking and doesn't even fill the entire space under the windowsill. I wouldn't have like it any better but at least it would of looked "on purpose". I also waited to pick tile for the rest of the back splash and now have painted drywall that's lumpy and bumpy.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 12:13PM
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My mistake/ aggravation point is my little drop zone area.

I fought and fought with the GRUMPY old electrician to get my outlets low and horizontal in my kitchen. Hubby and GC just stood there and let us go at it ( probably in their best interests, looking back now!). I won.

Anyhow, when they wired an outlet for the desk area, it went up high and vertical. Darn thing isn't even centered! I kept meaning to get it changed, but lots of arguing with them over lights, pendants, switches etc. wore me down. I am mad at myself forever now.

2nd thing in same area is GC and hubby talked me into 4" backsplash along wall. They both felt it looked unfinished. Being a GW junkie I knew it was wrong, but agin, they wore me down. Every time I look at that area I feel a little disappointed--in myself.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 12:54PM
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My cabinets are custom made by my GC's shop. Kompy, I'm happy you have a perfect kitchen! I would love to hear from you and other pros about design mistakes, even if they aren't yours. I'll start a new thread for it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pros, please share illustrated lessons

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 1:34PM
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Well, similar to kksmama I made the mistake of not insisting on seeing a picture of the crown molding. Just didn't occur to me, after telling the cabinetmaker that I wanted something very plain and simple, like a plain cove He never offered a choice to me after our discussion. This wasn't what I had in mind:

Second mistake: not buying a sample of the cabinet color and trying it out in a large swatch on all 4 walls, under the new lights, before I committed to it. I am living with it for now but expect that I will re-paint once my bankbook fattens up a little again. Too bad, because it is a beautiful paint job!

3rd mistake: not shopping for sinks before I ordered the cabinets! I could have gotten the sink base just one or two inches wider and then could have used a 30" sink instead of a 25". But, not knowing this at the time, I thought that I preferred those inches in my drawers.

4th mistake: I was focused on getting as much cabinets space as possible (having had so little for so long), but now that they are all in, I realize that I have more than enough, and I should have shrunk the wall cabinets between the old and new windows by 25%, if not 30%, and made the new window wider.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 11:45PM
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Raee, thanks for sharing those! I was also overly concerned with maximizing storage space.

In going from face frame, standard depth cabinets with all door lowers to frameless, custom, deep drawer lowers and deeper uppers, I've gained far more space than I need. And will surely make the mistake of keeping too much stuff I don't use and don't love.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 5:12AM
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We made several mistakes as well. We wanted to reuse both the range and OTR microwave because both were only 2 years old. But it totally obscured the mosaic behind the range. I (and someone else on here) called it the Darth Vader of the kitchen:

I am of the opinion that the mosaic was a mistake in an of itself, but DH still likes it. It is pretty when the light hits it, but that isn't often enough to really highlight it:
So we got rid of the OTR microwave and got a hood:

But we also put it between the raised bar and the counter and because of the slight overhang you never see it like this:
Instead it always looks like this:
Mistake #3 (or 4?) you can see in the 4th pic and here: what we called the ''beer can lights'':

The pendants were one of our hardest things to get ''right''. We went through many iterations before getting what we really thought worked well:
The backsplash is my biggest regret, but as I said, DH really likes it, and it is, after all, cosmetic. Removing walls and changing the layout to one immensely more functional is the most important thing, and we accomplished that.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 11:35AM
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I missed this. My cabinet guy missed this. Even all of GW missed this. My 12 inch pullout next to the hood is not very accessible. Oops!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 12:33PM
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Leela4 and Williamsem, thank you for sharing those. Even the most beautiful, well thought out kitchens have room for improvement. My spinoff thread for pros didn't work as well as I'd hoped, so it is nice to see one stay on track.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 8:27AM
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I took my time with my cabinet lay-out, so I'm happy with how it turned out. We tweaked it for months. What we didn't pay as much attention to was the floor. We had sheet vinyl and could have extended the oak hardwood from the hallway into the kitchen, but I didn't want cherry cabinets on a hardwood floor. We put in a porcelain tile floor, but tile requires another layer of subfloor, raising our tile above the oak hallway for the length of the U-shaped opening. We weren't told by the KD or the tiler that we'd have a threshold strip that feels like a major speed bump. It's only a fraction of an inch, but I have to step over it every time.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 10:11AM
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The pull-out over my fridge hits the light fixture if I pull it all the way out. None of us caught this until it was installed.

Cabinet installer and I talked about it, and one possible solution was to put in shorter glides - but I prefer to just be careful. Even if I bump the light, it's not the end of the world.

I did have one mistake. I put two pulls on the sink tip-out, but the hinges were so stiff that I needed to use both of them to open it. I asked Dan the Cabinet man to replace the front panel with a new one (I'd pay for it, of course), and I'd put just one pull in the middle. But Dan told me that he had just gotten soft-close hinges for tip-outs, and he replaced mine for me (no extra charge). Now it works like a dream, with either pull.

I have several features In my kitchen that others might consider mistakes - my DW is not right next to the sink; I have a 4" quartz backsplash - but I'm OK with those things.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 10:34AM
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Welp - so long as we're talking about cabs hitting light fixtures... here's my goof!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 12:05PM
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Annkh, that is a great tip about the soft close hinges for the sink tip out! I am having the same trouble with mine (two handles, opens awkwardly unless you pull on both) and will be asking my cabinet guy for new hinges pronto!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 4:04PM
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Williamsem, can you remove the pull-out hardware, add hinges to the door and make it a regular cabinet?

One of mine was also outlets..didn't push to have the ones in the backsplash horizontal and at counter-top level. Then I went 2years ABB and now that it's finally tiled they aren't all level. Fortunately I like a few things on the counter so I can hide them!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 7:30PM
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Cindaintx, I'd considered that, but we're a bit committed now with the handle placement, plus with only 12 inches it will be an incremental improvement as you will need to be right in front of it to see in and still need to manuver around the hood. We use it for overstock spices and lesser used oils, so it isn't an every day frustration.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 7:47PM
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My husband moved one of our old cabinets into the laundry room over the washer and dryer. If you open two of the doors, you hit the ceiling fan. My husband hit it and now it wobbles. Peke

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 11:54AM
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I made 2 big mistakes, and, fortunately, was able to fix them.

1. Assumed a 36-inch hood is good enough for a 36-inch range. There are no upper cabs on either side of the hood. When the 36 hood was installed, I immediately knew it was too small (in width and depth). Everyone encouraged me to live with it for a while... but I called the appliance store the very next day to inquire about exchanging it. The 42 replacement cost more $$ and delayed other work by 2 weeks, but I'm so glad I made the change. Besides "looking" better, the wider hood functions more effectively.

2. More recently, I failed to request to see the difference between what the electrician called "white" and "yellow" LED lights. Given those 2 options--and with my exhaustion over this whole reno--I just said "white." Well, "white" is actually blindingly neon white/blue that lights up my cabinets like the 7-11 beverage fridge at midnight. Ugh.

(BTW, if jakuvall reads this, thank you for your information/recommendation in my prior thread about lighting options for my cabs. I didn't reply to avoid bumping the thread up further, but do appreciate your input.)

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 12:39PM
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I feel so much better reading this. I'm not even finished and I find mistakes every day.
I especially appreciate the info about the lights. I totally do not trust the electrician or GC on the esthetics + function of lighting. the electrician missed sink task lighting completely. He's not leaving town without putting in my sink light!!
Can anyone provide the link to the lighting thread mentioned above?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 11:45PM
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They are generally on the first or second page in the Lighting forum, there are a few that are packed with info. They tend to stay near the front pages.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 12:11AM
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My biggest regret is not giving any thought (when the walls were open) to the placement of light switches & outlets in the backsplash area. Moving them now will involve opening walls, a big mess and more money. I'm waiting to hear what the options & cost will be.

This post was edited by romy718 on Fri, Sep 27, 13 at 0:50

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 12:43AM
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romy718 - I'm curious what you find wrong with the placement or your current switches/outlets. I have a similar issue with one of my switch boxes (which houses 4 rocker switches) - it may not all be within the backsplash area - so part may be in, part may be out.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 1:50PM
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Ellen - having never had a backsplash before, it never even crossed my mind when we did the electrical walk through. I have too many light switches (one 4 gang which is huge) within the backsplash. I may have been able to find different locations for several of them. I also would have positioned outlets horizontally & low so that they would be less visible & possibly been located within a subway tile. The esthetics of locations were not considered by either me, my KD, the GC or the electrician.
I read a thread here on GW discussing all these options. Too late for me. My kitchen is done except for the backsplash install. I have asked my KD if anything can be relocated. The response was "everything was done to code and relocation will be expensive & messy."

This post was edited by romy718 on Fri, Sep 27, 13 at 14:43

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 2:41PM
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I see - thanks.... I did move my outlets low to the counter thanks to GW (they were already horizontal), but I didn't think about exact switch placement wrt to backsplash (and where it will end) - the contractor should have thought about this as far as I'm concerned. So I'm hoping it ends up working out when I finally get my BS installed.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 9:16PM
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heidihausfrau - if you are still following this thread, here's an idea for your area. We created a sample board of our backsplash, then physically photocopied it in color (took it to Staples) and played with different settings to get the color right. Then, cut and pasted the 'tile' onto the outlet cover with mod podge and topped with a few more layers (of mod podge).

Here is the decouppaged outlet cover:

This post was edited by oldbat2be on Sat, Sep 28, 13 at 6:42

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 9:31PM
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And if you order a new physical outlet, you could have something closer to this:

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 9:36PM
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To show that this can work, here's one of ours. Occasionally, we get something right:)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 9:43PM
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Brilliant! I will save this idea - my backsplash eventually ended up frosted glass subways so I painted the covers to match.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 9:59PM
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Thanks oldbat. I clipped this post too.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 10:35PM
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Wow, @oldbat2be. What a great job you did on your brown and white backsplash. Sensational job.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 10:47PM
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This message is for LoPay...

I received your email inquiry about my hood, but your GW settings are such that I cannot reply to your email. There is another thread in this forum about how to change that, if you're interested. If you change it, email me again, and I'll reply with photos to illustrate. I can't post the photos here in this forum at this time due to a connection issue with my phone (which I just haven't had time to research).

You asked what about my former 36-inch hood didn't work with my 36-inch range. I have a chimney hood, and there are no upper cabinets on either side of it. Based on research here (in the appliances forum) and other Web sites, I learned it's preferable to choose a hood about 6 inches wider than a 36-inch cooktop if:

1. You have no upper cabinets on either side of the hood (like, in my case)
2. If your cooktop is located on an island (and so, like #1, no uppers)
3. If you can move your uppers to allow for a wider hood.

Obviously, you cannot go with a wider hood if your uppers are already fixed in place and don't allow for it.

Here is a link that explains this, because I'm not even touching on the CFM issue, which you'll need someone much more knowledgeable than me to explain! I have a Thermador 42-inch chimney hood, and the CFM is 600, which is sufficient for my application. Some would argue that.


I didn't look at the CR recommendations for hoods, but I found its explanation about my lack of upper cabinets most helpful:

"Wall chimney hoods can work where there are no cabinets and mount with exposed vent stacks on the wall. Island hoods, which also work above a peninsula, are mounted to and vented through ductwork in the ceiling. These lack a wall of cabinets alongside them to help funnel fumes, so consider one that is at least six inches wider than the cooktop.

"Don't size down. This is one time when bigger often is better. Any hood you consider should be at least as wide as the cooking surface it will be installed above. And avoid downdraft hoods, which have been unimpressive in our tests.

"CFM isn't everything. Manufacturer airflow claims tout cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air exhausted. More airflow does mean faster venting but doesn't guarantee better smoke capture and removal."

All of this is null and void if you have fixed uppers on either side that don't allow for a wider hood. But if that's not the case, you'll want to consider a hood that's wider than your cooktop.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 11:20PM
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This is a great thread! Thank you all for coming out w/ your mistakes. I haven't even demo'd my kitchen yet, so I will try not to make the same ones. If I end up w/ any, I'll post them here for others to learn from.

oldbat2be, what a creative idea to hide the outlets. Thanks for letting us know how you did that. I love your backsplash tile! Gorgeous! Where did you get it & what is it called? I'm also curious what paint color your cabinets are next to it. Is it a creamy color vs white? If you can tell me about the tile & cab color, I'd be very grateful. I don't mean to hijack the tread so if you want to email me personally, you can on my GW member page.

Thank you,

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 11:31PM
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Thanks cindaintx, romy718, and carree! I edited my post to include what I used for the glue/protective layer (mod podge). Bicylegirl - Below is link to my reveal thread, which has all the details. (Another mistake from which we recovered - WAY too much white called out for a bold tile).

Here is a link that might be useful: link to reveal

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 6:51AM
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Thanks for taking the time to respond Peony. Didn't realize that my settings were like that. Will get that fixed.

I'm planning on a custom surround, and there will be open shelves on either side of the surround that integrate with it. My cooktop is a 36" Bosch five burner, and my insert is 36". Wonder why cabinets make a difference in relation to the vent width.

Choosing a hood vent is perplexing. Next challenge is lighting.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 10:44AM
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oldbat2be, thank you for the link. What a stunning kitchen! I'm sure it's fun cooking in it everyday! I'm considering a bold tile & yours is similar to what I'm looking for. I'll ck out kj patterson.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 12:22PM
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Another mistake was not putting everything that I wanted, specifically how I wanted it, into writing and in a drawing. With all the discussions and good ideas that I gathered here, some things that I wanted were not what the crew was in the habit of doing. The outlets are a good example. I told them that I wanted them low and horizontal, they ended up lower than their norm but still vertical. The drawing showed them as vertical so that is what they did. I wanted the UCLs placed at the front of the cabinets -- they were going to put them at the rear: "If we had known that you wanted them at the front we would have run the wires differently"

Also, telling the GC something and trusting that he would tell the crew what we agreed He would forget, and they would go ahead and do what they "usually" did.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 10:31PM
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