GC I'm considering says this is extremely difficult, is it?

gidgetgirlyDecember 14, 2012

I'm about to start a kitchen remodel. I have an electric range and am switching to an all gas range. I want a particular style of range hood, of which my cabinet maker is custom making for me. This is the style of hood I'm getting:

The GC I had considered hiring is giving me a lot of grief. He has never installed an inside exhaust fan system, and said his cabinet guy told him it's a lot of work, does he realize that, etc. He said he'll have to find some way to 'figure it out'.

The GC is reallllly making me feel like this is a VERY difficult thing to do, and of course he'll be charging me extra. He's said I have NO IDEA how difficult it would be to secure the inner exhaust.

Now, he's not talking about the duct work to vent outside, simply attaching the exhaust system inside that hood securely. Is it really that difficult? He said it can be done, but I have no idea the difficulty in work I am asking for.

Should I be alarmed that he's never done this before? I admit I was a bit shocked that he wasnt aware of how to do it but would 'figure it out'. The guy builds houses for a living.

Is it really that difficult? He's a bit of a complainer in the first place.

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when you don't know how to do something, it is difficult, it takes longer, you make mistakes and it costs more. find someone who isn't learning on your nickel.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 11:37AM
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Depending on your cabinet maker, the front is removable for connecting the ductwork. This guy does not seem like a winner though

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 11:47AM
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"The GC I had considered hiring"

keep him this way - as someone you HAD considered - before you found someone who knows what they are doing.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 11:52AM
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GG, sounds like you are still considering the GC who's giving you headaches over cabinets (another thread). The writing is on the wall. Get rid of him now and look for someone else.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 11:58AM
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Ditto. A pro would have said something like "while I don't have a lot of experience with this type of venting, I will bring in an expect to make sure it's done right".

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 12:11PM
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Hi Linelle, yes, same guy, just had a few more questions this morning. I'm really sad about it as he is a friend of a friend. I was trying really hard to give him the business. I just feel really bad because it's a friend's friend :(

Thanks to everyone who has helped me out with responses. It just stinks that it's not going to work out with him and I guess I just have to realize it.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 12:17PM
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What everyone else said - sheesh, it's not that big of a deal. I like people who look for solutions, not problems.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 12:19PM
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If this goes horribly wrong, as it sounds it will from reading both your threads, you could lose YOUR friend over it! You don't owe anyone any favors on something this big.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 12:45PM
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No REAL friend would be upset with you on this. It just didn't work out. The GC just did not have the experience/knowledge for what was needed for your kitchen. The GC admitted this! Said it was going to be difficult.

Personally I think it is a bad idea to use "friends" or family for this stuff. You need recommendations for third parties. No personal relationships involved.

If I needed to hire someone I would say upfront to any recommendations, "hey I'm a real tough cookie with this stuff so I'll talk to them but might not hire them."
Actually I would use a different term but you get the idea.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 1:01PM
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I only hire people with whom I would feel comfortable firing. That means no sensitive referrals. I have used nannies since my kids were small and I had no interest in hiring someone who was attached to friends or family... way too hard to get rid of them.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 1:12PM
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Horse hooey.
I'd take the unspoken hint and not have him do it. You don't want to have to correct his potentially dangerous errors later down the line.

BTW. That is a gorgeous hood.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 2:03PM
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He may also not Want to be involved in a project like this but wants You to make the decision to turn him down. It may be beyond his capabilities to do it right, but he is embarrassed to say so. He shouldn't be, he just has a different set of skills which may suit fine for one kind of kitchen--but not the kind you want.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 2:12PM
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Sorry to hear. Clearly this is beyond his capabilities, and you need to find someone who can do this.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 2:22PM
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Nothing difficult about that type of hood. Is this the same guy that wanted to charge you for his cabinet guy to look at plans?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 2:24PM
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    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 2:38PM
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He's whining....they must teach that in GC school. When client asks for something you are not familiar with, whine. When client wants something you have to LOOK for, whine. Inset cabinets...whine. Marble countertops...whine. Paint color not supplied by cheapest wholesale paint dealer in town...whine.

I could go on.....and on....


    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 2:39PM
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Hey, the good news is that this guy is making it really easy for you to kick him to the curb.

I had a similar type hood in my previous kitchen. Neither the custom cabinet maker or the GC said the slightest thing about how difficult it was to do. They just did it.

I bet your new GC will know how to do it.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 3:32PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Yes, it's a bit more difficult than the classic under cabinet hood, but not to the degree he's whining about it. He doesn't sound like a good fit for your project, and that's all you need to tell him. "We aren't a good fit, so good luck with your next project."

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 3:43PM
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I've never done one, but I think a few minutes with the cabinet maker and a napkin, I could whip something up.

And it wouldn't cost you $300 for the napkin.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 3:53PM
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agree....my builder and his supervisor didn't think anything of it when I showed them the kitchen design. And, we also have an exhaust to the outside, etc. I think I'd find someone else.

Here is a link that might be useful: kitchen/hood pics

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 4:01PM
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No idea if it's difficult (I love it, btw) but kick that GC to the curb. The GC we are considering hiring is a solutions guy. He will tell us straight up if he doesn't feel expert enough to do something, and also tells us he will find someone who is. And we haven't hired him yet! It's YOUR dream kitchen. Find the GC who will make that dream come true. Trust your gut.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 5:29PM
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There's, like, a zillion kitchens with a wood surround hood. Therefore, I agree with Palimpsest - this guy may be doing the ol' Lookin'-For-A-Reason. I.e. he wants to extricate himself from working with you while keeping his relationship with your friend. So he's coming up with impediments in order to get out of the job. He will be secretly relieved when you tell him you can't work with him. Be really nice about it, so that everyone keeps face all the way around.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 8:01PM
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I went to reread your other post about the cabinets.
You guys haven't even started (or signed anything) and he's already putting it to you.

Let me ask. Is he recommending builder grade, particle board oak cabinets? Because they're "easier" and his [ahem] KD handles them? Sorry. I'm being snotty.

I think you'd be insane to go forward with this person. Perhaps Palimpsest is correct. Usually if a GC doesn't want a job, they price it ridiculously high. This one might not want to disappoint the mutual friend.

If someone were to choose to go forward with these obstacles, already, and this sounds mean, that person gets what that person deserves: Nuttin' but trouble.

Take a deep breath. You've been given several ways to approach this, which you can do with grace and civility. It's time for you to be the grown up and choose the direction your project is going to go. Suck it up and make the best of an all ready distasteful relationship, or move on to a more positive relationship.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 9:32PM
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Along with my manifest talents (modesty being primary), I have built cabinets and furniture although not for 30 years or so.

I could easily design and build a exhaust hood such as yours in my sleep. It's easier to build and install than the cabinets are.

The GC you are talking to is lazy and not worth hiring. His 'very difficult' interior fastening method is known as 'screws' which Archimedes made great use of around 250 BC.

Even though these screw-thingys are an ancient invention, I've been told they can be easily purchased. If any GC is having trouble locating them, please PM me and I'll SEND HIM SOME FOR FREE!!

Even after the hood has been permanently installed, it is an easy matter to service both the electric and ductwork within if you know what the hell you are doing and make allowances for it.

Get rid of this jabroney before his puts a big hole in your wallet and breaks your heart.

It amazes me what passes for knowledge and experience for some of the GCs out there.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 9:58PM
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DH designed ours. It may help you if you understand what needs to be built. In our case, DH build a frame which was attached to the ceiling studs. Part of that frame was a surface into which we could attach/screw in our hood. (That was a hairy moment, when we were both lifting up the hood and trying to screw it in).

In the below picture, you can see the frame. The cutouts are simply to reduce the amount of weight. Next, panels are nailed to the frame.

Just noticed lovely blue skylight, hah! (Hated the blue, it's been long gone).

Here is how it turned out. Good luck, oldbat2be

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 11:00PM
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I didn't realize your tile was in!! Or is this still the printout?

Such lovely kitchens.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 11:44PM
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count your blessings and do not hire him. if he is a whiner now, imagine what he will be like months from now when the honeymoon is over? cut him loose, don't look back, hire the right GC. warning sign - you feel bad as he is a friend of a friend. keep in the forefront of your mind this is a large expensive business transation - nothing to do with friendship.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 12:00AM
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I originally was going to hire the cabinetmaker who did my mom's kitchen. He was their "friend of a friend." My parents really liked him (as well as his work). He kept putting off my job because it was over an hour away, but he wouldn't exactly say it. He was too nice. I finally cut the cord and he was relieved.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 2:30AM
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Christine - yup, in for a few months now!

gidgetygirly - I had a lot of custom wood hoods such as the one you show in my inspiration pictures as well. These are not a favorite among many on this forum, due to the boxed in space. An alternative might be to do something like Michelle16's space / omit the sides.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 9:21AM
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I agree with those who said this guy is trying to not take the job but because of the friend of a friend situation isn't able to come straight out and say it. Thank him for his time and find someone else.

I almost hired a well respected contractor to do my kitchen/family room remodel. He never really came out and said anything so blatant as your guy but I kept getting the vibe that he wasn't really interested in doing our job. We've since hired someone else and while we are still mid-remodel I am extremely pleased with the work being done and their interest in creating my vision. We are doing some nonstandard things and my guys haven't given me a bit of grief over any of it. They and I just figure out the best ways of accomplishing the task at hand to get the results I want. The other guy we almost hired, I didn't feel at all like it would be a collaborative relationship. That may work well for his other types of customers but it wasn't a good fit for me.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 9:37AM
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Thank you all so much for your advice. I had no idea if it really was crazy difficult as he stated. I think his comments were because A. He wants me to pick out something stock which is a lot easier for him, B. by stressing how incredibly labor intensive this is, he would charge me more hoping I'd be none the wiser.

I became suspicious when he asked if I realized how expensive the internal exhaust blower/fan was, saying his cabinet guy quoted $2000. That's not including duct work, just the piece that fits into the hood. That's what his cabinet guy quoted him.

Um?? $2000?? I honestly think he thinks I'm an idiot. I had already researched it, and for the 5 burner all gas Bertazzoni range I've purchased, I can get that piece for $1000 or less., even if I did a 1000 cfm unit.
Then it dawned on me, he was under the assumption I was going to buy that piece through him. Of which he would double the price for profit.

Now I know there certainly are exhausts that are in that price range, but there are many that aren't. I called the kitchen/bath showroom where I bought my range and the owner actually laughed. He said absolutely not. I can get that piece for $1000 or under. I already knew this but wanted to double check.

Which then leads me to his $2.50/sq ft to lay my flooring, then a week later it was suddenly $3/sq ft. Ugh!

The moral of the story is lesson learned. I've not even had anyone else look at it and give me a bid. That's my own fault and I'll certainly do it now.

Another question:
Would it be less expensive to hire out certain parts of the job? My husband and I can rip out the cabinetry ourselves, my dad has said he'll lay the floor (he's laid floors and said it's super easy with the click lock system), the cabinet craftsman can install the cabinetry.

So I'll need:
- gas ductwork/venting etc since I only have electric now
- plumber to hook up sink, etc. sink dishwasher will be moved but only by a foot or two.
- drywall person to fix my walls (ok My own dumb fault. Years ago I wanted the faux Tuscan texture on my walls. Stupidly I applied heavy drywall mixture all over the walls. Can you say horrendous?? In order to try to cover it, I've painted it probably 8 times. Big mistake. So yeah.....lol )
- new baseboards installed (my dad's not a baseboard guy haha)

I'll do all painting and priming myself. I love to paint! I may not be versed in faux texture ~nightmare~ but I'm a darn good painter IMHO ;)

So...hire out different parts of the job? Or just find another GC?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 10:09AM
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@CEFreeman yes, I think so too!! I'm in love with Christopher Peacock kitchens wow. Too bad I don't have that kind of $$!

@ctycdm yep, same one :/

@hollysprings I like the way you put that, that 'we just aren't a good fit'. It sounds just matter of fact, I don't want to offend anyone.

@andi_k & oldbat2be omgoshhh!!! I am salivating over your kitchens! Wow! Both are absolutely stunning. As well as Michelle16's. thank you for sharing the photos!! What an inspiration :) :)

@Doc8404 & weedmeister hilarious!!!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 10:23AM
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On hiring out piece-meal work:

The gas ducting and the plumbing for the sink and such is all plumbing. In our town the local plumbing shop has been a great place to do business. We call up and tell them what we need, they send someone along who does the job. We've had at least 3 different people out for both gas work and water work and they've been universally great. Not only are they extremely competent, they're really nice and very helpful. What more could you want?

My guess on your drywall is that it will be more expedient to just replace it. A drywall crew will be in and out in nothing flat. If you aren't up for doing the baseboards, it shouldn't be hard to find someone. Do check their work though. At the moment we're at my daughter's rented house. Whoever did the baseboards in the downstairs bathroom didn't bother to make 45 degree cuts in the corners, they just ran one side into the other. Good grief.

How about your counters and backsplash? You have a plan?

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 1:18PM
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Thanks suzannesL for all the info. No, I do not have a plan for the tile and countertops :( I mean, I know what I want, and pictures of it, but I don't know who to call to do that. I was thinking maybe my local tile shop, which is funnily enough called 'The Tile Shop' lol ;) I think they have good referrals.
I wish I knew how to do it all myself! I'm not afraid of hard work and I like learning. The contractor i hired to smooth out my two-story great room ceiling (it was stamped), taught me how to do it. Ive since done 3 bedrooms and they turned out beautifully, even better than his!

I'm actually excited to help my dad lay the floors. It'll be a wonderful learning process, a great workout, and quality time with my dad :)

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 4:36PM
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QUOTE: Another question: Would it be less expensive to hire out certain parts of the job? My husband and I can rip out the cabinetry ourselves, my dad has said he'll lay the floor (he's laid floors and said it's super easy with the click lock system), the cabinet craftsman can install the cabinetry.

Gidget: Welcome to what happens when full service gets too frustrating! We started with a full design/build certified kitchen designer, moved through considering GCs, then did what you're thinking: did what (little) we could ourselves (design, old cab rip out, painting, trimwork) and organized subcontractors: plumber, electrician, floor repair, cabinet installer, counter installer, tiler. It can be done... it helps if you have some flexibility in timeline.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 7:43PM
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I would look into a couple of remote blowers.

If you get motors that are designed for variable speed, you can turn them down from hurricane to gentle breeze as needed.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 8:24PM
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Thanks Co-Co, we have plenty of time. No hurry. Did you find it was a lot less expensive doing it that way? Was it worth it in the long run?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 11:49AM
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Thanks brick eye, I didn't know about remote blowers, I'll look into that.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 11:51AM
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"So...hire out different parts of the job? Or just find another GC?"

If you are on a tight budget, I would consider managing the project yourself. You will need a plumber, electrician, tiler and handyman. You should start a spreadsheet of to-do's, a shopping list, and a schedule. You'll have to start interviewing the tradesmen above. And last but not least, you will be here at the forum asking lots of questions.

If you are a very organized person who likes to manage, then it can be done. But it will take a period of careful planning before starting. You want to have everything planned, right down to where the electrical outlets are going to go. Ready? We're here to help!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 1:30PM
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Gidget: what you are considering doing (in hiring out the individual pieces) is known as "acting as your own GC." Absolutely it can be done, and absolutely it may save you a decent chunk of change. It also may confer a number of other advantages, as you get to control the process and take time to research and make decisions as you go, rather than being rushed into your choices. You or your father can do as much of the work yourselves as you please to save some dinero.

However, it does not come at no cost. The GC certainly does add value to the process. You will have to take a lot of time (off from work?) to find and deal with the various tradesmen and women whom you hire. Those tradesmen and women will know that you will likely not be hiring them again, as opposed to a GC who may hire them in the future. You will have to coordinate all of them, and eventually bring the project to closure and make it look right. Essentially every step you take will be the first time you are dealing with such a task, as opposed to someone who has already learned all the tricks. You will have to be careful with your permitting and inspections from your municipality. Certainly you should have a chat with your inspector before you make a decision to take this project on.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 1:52PM
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As to being your own GC - one of the biggest values the GC provides is understanding when one sub's changes/requirements impact the next (or previous). ie the plumber needs to change the drain or venting plan b/c of a load baring wall/ducting/joist etc...and that then pushes it too close to the wiring or switch box (so an electrican needs to come in) or the framing needs adjusting (framing carpenter) or the cabinets will need adjusting (cabinet maker). These type of integration questions are really important, and see the issues early is important. You will have great difficulty getting the sub's out for 1 hour jobs, over and over...or they will charge you $$$$.
I'm not trying to scare you off of self-GC'ing...lots of people do it successfully ( I do ) but unless you are confident you can see the big picture and how it is impacted from the small details, I would try to find another GC.
Just because your first GC experience was poor, does not mean they all are.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 4:49PM
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Thanks Caspian. I'd really like to find another GC but when I told this GC that my dad was installing the floors (about 1200 sq ft), and my husband wanted the cabinet maker to install the cabinets (since he's making them and knows how he wants them installed), the GC said he wouldn't take the job unless he installed the cabinets himself. He said he's a GC, not a piecemeal guy who comes out and does a little of this and that. So I don't know if another GC would take the job?

I just asked this question on another thread as well so my apologies in repeating myself. If I had to be my own GC, I have no problem learning, I enjoy reading and studying, and I have plenty of time on my hands as I only work two days a week at my convenience. But I don't know if this is too big of a thing for me to learn.

From what the GC made it sound like, no GC would take the job if they didn't install the cabinets themselves.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 9:00AM
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I would not take the opinion of just one GC. If you want to be your own, great but don't do it just because of what one guy said.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 9:09AM
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Ah, ha.
Yes, others would take it.

You just gave him an out.
Let him take it and run.

What you're telling him now, is that you're going to be a PIA because you're going to nickle and dime him (which, in this case, you sure should). Everything -- just like this -- is going to be a fight.

Let him go!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 9:10AM
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I'll say it again - dump this guy.

There is always a GC out there that will work with the boss (that's you!!) no matter what the boss's requirements are.

Keep looking or GC the job yourself. I was general on my kitchen redo and it cost about 1/3 less and took twice as long as it otherwise would have. It can be done but there are trade-offs.

You just have to decide what is most important to you regarding the job and act accordingly.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 9:26AM
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Not sure how extensive your remodel is but I was glad to have a GC for mine. Our GC did not install our cabinets (the cabinet makers did) and he would have let us use our own plumber ( which we would have if hadn't been too busy at the time). He was also fine with us using our own floor refinishers. Our GC used his plumber, electrician and carpenters. He always gave us a heads up on who would be there and what time. They were always there when they said they would be. His subs were fantastic. You could tell they respected the GC as well as he respected them. They all took pride in their work. My kitchen was torn out, re-wired, lights installed, plumbing moved, vent piping installed and new ceiling and walls put in, and drywall primed all within 2 weeks so that it would be ready when the cabinets were.
You can be your own GC but your remodel will most likely take longer. Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 10:45AM
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Loved the saying, not a good fit'. I've used it myself, 'not a good fit on my team'. The emphasis being 'my'. Ur paying for a kitchen you want, not paying a contractor to install a kitchen that he can do. If he can't do what you want, move on. It really is that simple.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 1:21PM
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Gidget, my GC said he would prefer NOT to install custom cabs. Ur current potential GC is taking you for a ride. Did u decide ahead of time that 'he was the one' before truly seeing if he was the one that could meet *ur* needs? Not to be mean or snotty, but it sounds like you are trying to make him work, but all signs at the early stages are saying different. A doomed project in the making. Been there

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 1:33PM
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I'm going to talk to a few other GCs and get some bids from them, and asking UPFRONT if they charge me for a rough estimate lol!
I'd also like to thank everyone for taking the time to answer my questions. It really means a lot!

I don't really have much kitchen experience/advice yet to help others as I'm new to all this, but if anyone ever needs any hair advice, I'm more than happy to help as that is my expertise :) we can add a new thread 'the hair forum' :)

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 10:39PM
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I have to say I'm glad to read your last post.
I was wondering, thru all the posts here and in another thread, if you were just going to run with this guy, anyway. It looked like you were looking for someone to tell you you were just being [cough] overly sensitive, wrong, overreacting, demanding, whatever.

But nooOOOOooooo. You're not. I do think all along you knew he wasn't the one. A friend of a friend doesn't mean much if a bad relationship with that extended friend causes the immediate friendship to suffer. So, "not a good fit" is just great.

Now. Let's hear about the new GCs, their bids, and their attitudes. Remember. Your most important contribution in this situation is 1) what you want, and 2) making certain you're talking apples to apples with them, not changing your ideas between GC meetings, OK?

Good job.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 11:56AM
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