Start Date

grlwprlsOctober 25, 2012

I signed the contracts last week and this morning I got the email that our start date on our kitchen renovation is November 5th.

This is my materials board - we have planned for painted cabinets (Barker RTAs with Shaker panel) in Ben Moore Fresh Butter, a small bank of Shiloh inset in vintage cherry with a walnut-y finish they call "Sundance" (I think), Electrolux Icon appliances, Newport Brass faucets in uncoated brass, wooden knobs on the painted cabinets, and brass on the stained wood. Gasp now, Corian Witch Hazel for the countertops with 2" walnut on the wood toned cabinets. Silgranite main and prep sinks in biscuit...

All this is fine and great. I'm confident in my design and my materials and layout (a split U with separate cooking/prep and clean up zones). What has me nearly about to pass out is going back out into the wilds of a construction project. You see, I've *never* had a good result - even when I research, meet old clients, etc. Somehow, I'm always the client where the contractor's entire business falls apart. I don't know how to shake the fear. And I don't know how it is that I always pick these unskilled - or outright thieving- losers.

The new contractor is hearing impaired - and I don't mean in the usual contractor way, he's really hard of hearing :-) - so I already know that I have to write out what I want. Good. So I already have my Day One page drafted. A reminder of what exactly is to be demolished and what is not. What it to be saved/recycled. I remain nervous. I'm hoping this is good because on every other project I was super confident and ready to start slinging hammers. Today, I'm feeling cautious.

If anyone else has had a bad contractor experience and then actually had the nerves required to do another project, how did you manage your fears? Conduct yourself on the jobsite? Keep your expectation realistic? Not see disaster at every turn?

::bites fingernails, pours bourbon::

(and yes...I scheduled a kitchen renovation for Thanksgiving and yes, I do have people coming for dinner. The poor layout we currently have will make for a pretty sweet temporary kitchen. It just sucks as an everyday kitchen.)

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Hmm, I can relate, with a twist. I am considering a gut reno or a new build on a vacation home, while our punchlist is still not done on our whole house reno. My DH say he thinks the real reason I want to do it is I want a "do over" !

I am so angry at our GC on our primary home, who dropped the ball and ripped our eyeballs out and added so little value to the process. DH thinks my main motivation for buying another property is to use all I've learned and get another "chance".

So, use your bad experience to your advantage, and go bravely forth. And, incidentally, fwiw, there is a natural tendency to go soft on someone with a handicap, or to attribute honesty or integrity to them. Make sure you don't put a halo on your GC. Treat him no better or worse then anyone else.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 8:25PM
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Grlwprls....I love that backsplash! Mtnrdredux, sorry, am guiltily remembering I never got back to you. Trust you have moved forward? - best, badoldbat2be

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 9:06PM
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It sounds beautiful..can not wait to see the finished project. That backsplash is awesome!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 9:35PM
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I think I want a "do over" too. :-) I have learned a lot from my experiences, and one day, I am going to stroke a check to a contractor and feel like I got my money's worth. Our last renovation, a gut reno of an old corner grocery store, went so off the rails...and the renovation ended up costing the equivalent of my husband's annual salary so it really pained me that it never really was finished properly and that the finishing work was so shabby.

Somehow, I feel like this little is house is as close to a forever house as we may have (so far) and I do not want to spend hours in my kitchen stewing in a broth of regrets and bitterness!

I am actually doing quite a bit of the work myself - mostly those pesky finishing details - so I hope I am satisfied overall. I held back giving over my tiles, etc. to the contractor mainly until I see how things are going with the project. I can set tile (quite competently) so that's my "salvation".

And phoggie, thanks for the compliment on the backsplash. Actually it was my husband who pushed me toward it - even knowing it was $60/ sq. ft. So when I found it on eBay for $19.99...well, I felt like it was meant to be!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 1:16PM
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I can't wait! Your choices sound so great! Will it be done by Thanksgiving?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 3:53PM
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I doubt we'll be done by Thanksgiving, but my FIL knows me so he probably won't be surprised to see that we have essentially no kitchen. I'm packing today. We shouldn't have to go more than a day or two without a generally functioning kitchen (assuming the contractor actually follows the plan as planned).

    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 10:08AM
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So far, things are going so well that *that* has me worried. :-) We're already to inspections, and then Thanksgiving weekend, I will be painting and tiling. Yikes! I am so used to the negative pace of construction that I could not imagine they legitimately meant four weeks to finish.

That said, we've had to do some redesign on the fly. The 1990's faux beams aren't faux at all; they are supporting the massive weight of the Miami Vice second floor bathroom. And, the partial wall between the living room and kitchen held all the plumbing and electrical runs to the second floor. So, we elected to go with a pass thru (which is fine, period wise, for this house) and do a boxed beam ceiling treatment to tie in the 1990's beams and make them seem intentional.

So far, my contractor is great (let it continue) and we're scheduled for inspections Wednesday!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 2:21PM
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That is what I was hoping for - but months later - we are basically done.
Congrats - maybe more GC should be hard of hearing :-)

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 2:31PM
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grlwprls-sounds like things are going well and having to put it in writing due to the hearing issue may have been a great solution to any perceived confusion!

I can't wait to see pics! Love that backsplash. Your board looks great!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 2:55PM
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I'm extending my best wishes for a painless remodel. I can understand your fears. I was in the same boat when I remodeled my kitchen. I'd had HORRIBLE experiences with contractors. Same thing as you, good reviews from others but their lives seemed to fall apart when I hired them. Very frustrating and scary to embark on a major remodel when you've had such bad experiences.

Long story short, I remodeled the kitchen in my previous home and it was a disaster. Hired someone reputable and ended up firing them 5 months into the project because they weren't getting the job done and some of the finish work they were doing was horrid. My appliances were installed, granite was in, BS was in and I thought I just needed to have some cabinet work done. Turned out the cabinets were so shoddily constructed that we had to rip out the entire brand new kitchen and start over. Lost over $30,000 and never recouped a penny because they filed bankruptcy and listed us as creditors. It was awful. By the time my kitchen was complete, the 1 year warranty on my appliances had expired.

Fast forward to this remodel, I used the knowledge I'd learned from that disaster, crossed my fingers and moved forward. I made sure I checked out the company thoroughly. Made sure expectations were in writing as well as verbal. My remodel ended up going to smoothly and this company was a dream to work with.

Hang in there. You can have a great remodel in spite of past experiences. I kept thinking that this remodel was going so well and kept waiting for the whole thing to explode. It never did. Here's hoping for a smooth remodel.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 3:04PM
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What is this tile called? It is lovely! Thanks

    Bookmark   November 13, 2012 at 1:16PM
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The tile is called honey onyx flower :-). Obviously, the tile namer was not feeling very creative that day.

Well, here we are, the day before Thanksgiving...exactly on schedule. The drywall, and all its dust, is done. The only glitch so far is that Barker shipped my RTA cabinets in TWO large plywood crates, but I only got one. And since the delivery company sent ONE TINY GUY to deliver an 1100 lb crate to my residential address, I was just so glad the damage was as minimal as it was that I didn't even notice that there were supposed to be TWO crates. So that needs to be resolved.

We are on track to be mostly done the first week of December - and that is also when we will switch over to a temporary sink because of counter top templating. Then, the third week of December, the guys will come back, and do the last minute stuff like hardware and installing the permanent plumbing and vent hood. So far, I'm thrilled!!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 2:13PM
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So exciting! Hope you find your other crate somewhere :)

Can't wait to see that beautiful tile in place.

Happy T-day!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 3:04PM
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Your board looks great. Glad things are going well and I can't wait to see the result.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 3:20PM
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How exciting grlwprls!!!
Will look forward to your reveal.
I love your materials!!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 4:29PM
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