Return to the Kitchens Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

Posted by cal_quail (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 21:26

I'm in the midst of a kitchen reno (I can say now that since my living room is full of cabinets, right?) Being a school teacher, I scheduled it during the summer when I'm mostly available. I have no idea how anyone who worked any kind of a job at all (M-F, other schedule, full-time, part-time, at home) could ever have this done. I have a second, part-time, work-at-home-but-have-to-set-schedule-ahead-of-time job and trying to maximize the income from that before the REAL reno starts has been incredibly difficult.

When will my cabinets be here?
8 week lead time, 1 week window up until 5 days before, then 1 day window, up until day before, then 4 hour window.

When will the GC inspect them?
Wouldn't schedule it until the cabinets were actually here...except I sort of begged so I could schedule work. Friday they told me inspection would be Thursday, but then changed it to Saturday (when I'd already scheduled work). Luckily it was done in time.

When will demo start?
"Can't tell you that until the cabinets are inspected. "What? Again, can't schedule work or any appointments. Finally got them to say it wouldn't be before 7/17. At inspection, we were told it could be 7/15. Appointments will be moved, I will not delay this on my end!

When will installation start?
"You have cabinets missing. We can't schedule install until all cabinets on site." me: They're due early this week. "Great, then we'll be able to tell you early this week when we can start."

When will missing cabinet be here?
Friday I was told it shipped Thursday and due early this week. I hadn't gotten any shipping info and decided that today was a good day to spend out and about with DH. Luckily, it's due tomorrow. I have work scheduled at 3, so hoping it's here before that. I have someone on standby to take my classes tomorrow if I'm still staring out the window waiting for DHL.

What comes after demo?
Electrician and plumber. Electrician will be there Thursday, Plumber Friday. Except when I was told it wouldn't start until Friday, I offered to pick someone up at the airport. I'm NOT going to delay this, so will go through heroics Wednesday night to leave a car at the airport for them.

It hasn't started yet. How would I have even gotten this far if I was working FT? And how would I know how much time I'd need off once it starts? As it is, MIL is on notice that if this thing isn't wrapped up by the time I go back to work, I'll need her help being around.

Seriously, what do people do?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

I would be the first to admit, it's not for everyone. The only reason I can do it is because I know exactly what I am doing, I love doing the work, and I work at home. I can literally roll out of bed, start my day's work, and then work on the house with whatever time I have left in the day. I do this six days a week. Even then, I had planned on doing each room in three to four months but the reality is that it is taking seven months per room gutting to the studs and building out because life is always interfering.

My three-year project has now ballooned to five years minimum, with the kitchen and upstairs bath and all the plumbing and moving parts that involves yet to come. That will be my trial by fire and even now I don't know how it will go and am filled with trepidation that I will overlook something.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

It. Is. Insane. And I thought phone/cable companies with 6 hour windows was bad. It really is unlike any other profession. No way my clients would accept the kinds of terms so common in remodeling.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

It is crazy stressful holding down even a part time job and getting things in order for a remodel. Hats off to people who are their own GCs-can't even imagine trying to juggle different trades. If you DIY, atleast you can work on your own schedules. I guess the only answer is choose your GC wisely and you won't have to second guess them all the time. Sometimes, I wish I could care less-it is after all 'just a kitchen'..as if that's going to happen :-)


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

Well, I am a SAHM with 4 kids ages 1-6 and my husband has a full time job.

We built onto the back of our house so we hired someone to pour the slab. Then my husband took a week off and he, his best friend, my Dad and myself spent every day getting it framed up, including building a new hip joint to tie into the existing roof.
After that week, it has been every weekend and every day after work from 6-10 or 11 pm working on it.

We started in August of last year. We had our kitchen use able by February and we have been dragging our feet since then to finish it up because it was so exhausting and we had birthdays, school activities, retirement parties, etc going on.

Definitely not for the faint of heart and I can't imagine how anyone who didn't already possess the knowledge we do could possibly do it.

Thankfully, we haven't had to work around any contractors except our custom built cabinets and our granite and since I'm a SAHM, I scheduled it when I knew I would be home.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

We both work all day, have long commutes home, then usually work on the house all night and all weekend. Yep, we are tired! Being DIYers, it's really the only way to get it done within this century ;)


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

I hired a GC who is close family. He already has a key and comes over whenever he wants.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

You are so right, I work full-time, am doing a rebuild and having a terrible time trying to juggle being there when I need to, because getting things done is so unpredictable.

If I ever did it again, I would ask how long is going to take, and then double or triple that time (in my mind), so you can allow a lot of extra time between each step.

Am taking a lot of vacation time.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

We didn't even do a complete remodel and I never imagined how much time it would take to just find the materials. I too used a lot of vacation time and thank goodness I have a generous boss who knew the stress of it all and didn't charge all my early outs from work to benefit time and would just say do what you need to do.

DH and I had many a heated discussion as his goal was to put it back together ASAP but I was not about to settle and when I did, found rushing and choosing the wrong items just added to the stress. It seemed some items I would return 2 or 3 times before getting it right.

The hours spent online looking at pictures, ucl recommendations, reviews of vinyl flooring tiles, paint color advice, tile ideas, light fixtures etc. were many but so very worth it. Once you find it, stop looking as the choices are daunting and you run the risk of second guessing. :)

I would step back and say to just pretend we are camping when the sink was out for over a week, we had no counter tops and were using tile samples as a make shift counters to set the coffeemaker on so we could at least have coffee in the a.m. We only kept the necessary kitchen items at hand and everything else in boxes in the basement.

I think it helps with the stress to prepare ahead of time to avoid cluttering other areas of your house with kitchen materials and items if at all possible and just have the kitchen space torn up. Organize what you don't use on a regular basis and place in a spare room or basement for easy access.

The biggest regret I have is not taking time off from work to attend the templating of the granite. This VERY important and my advice is not to miss it. Granite looks great but I would have liked to have the piece used in the corner of the kitchen over on the long more visible counter. Will never know if it were possible and disappointed somewhat when I look at it.

This post was edited by tinker1121 on Tue, Jul 15, 14 at 21:50


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

My work schedule: I put in about 60 hour weeks most of the time - I go in two weekends, stay home the 3rd and weekdays are between 8-10 hours long. On weekdays I'm at work at 5:30, weekends it's 5:00 AM. It's a short drive to work so that's a non-issue.

Generally I'm home by 3:00-3:30, or on the weekends about 1:45. That gives me a few afternoon hours + evening hours to build the place when we aren't going out or meeting up with people. That's usually 2-3 times a week.

When I'm home, I'm building. This project has been 100% DIY except for putting up the new drywall and removing 24' of load bearing wall. You just do it - there is no other choice because there is no one to do it for you. Your task is to eat an elephant. Don't focus on that - instead continue moving forward one bite at a time and eventually you'll be done.

I'm extremely independent though, growing up and making it through school for engineering I had to be.

This post was edited by schicksal on Tue, Jul 15, 14 at 7:14


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

"You have cabinets missing. We can't schedule install until all cabinets on site."

This is BS. Cabinets are square boxes. Leave a space for the missing one(s). Duh.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

It might be a matter of picking the most important moments to be around. My GC just worked by himself according to a detailed plan from me/my architect. Did everything go exactly as on the plan? No. But mostly within spitting distance. I wish I had been there for more of the finishing stuff, not demo or electrical rough in (which I might have cared more about but don't know enough about so it looked fine to me) but countertop install, cabinet install, etc. Definitely caught the installers doing Things That Weren't On The Plan.

Definitely caught my husband letting people do Things That Weren't On The Plan too...small example, my plan showed literally a drawing of the faucet installed the correct way and the plumber installed it backwards in defiance of a) the plan, b) the installation instructions, and c) the ability to operate the handle, then says DH okayed it...well, all I can say is it's good to be around for the finishes if you can. Not that that was a big deal. Just a little annoyance.

Oh, and the electrician who put one of the pendants off center by 2" and then wanted me to get the cabinets literally taken off the wall and cut down instead of moving the box. WTH. Glad the GC was having that conversation with him instead of me.

This post was edited by robotropolis on Tue, Jul 15, 14 at 8:50


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

DH & I have done a lot of DIY in our homes over the past 35 yrs. Fortunately, he had exposure to and worked with skilled tradesmen growing up which served us well when we could only afford improvements if we did them ourselves.

But now I realize that in addition to the sense of pride and accomplishment, DIY'ing gives you more control over the timing and execution of the project, even though it takes a whole lot longer to get things done. There is a lot of stress involved being in a holding pattern and not being able to schedule your life when you are waiting on other people. There's less tension in the house when when we are actually working than when we are waiting for the workers.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

I DIY'ed; demo in April, installed the soapstone (which I honed and fabricated) the following March; worked evenings, weekends, vacation weeks.
I had to do structural work, 3-coat plaster, drywall ceiling, take up and re-lay antique flooring, sand floors, refinish (strip, sand, shellac) antique trim and doors, assemble and finish RTA conestoga cabinets, build decorative paneled bulkhead/soffits above cabinets. Then the obvious things like installing hardware, painting, installing the appliances. I farmed out the electrical and plumbing to very trusted subs who did not disappoint.
Some projects happened the next year, like finding the perfect victorian kitchen door onto the back porch.
Casey


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

I am in awe of all you DIYers. I used to say I was handy and try to DIY. All you have to do is look around my house to see my half-a$$ed, half-done projects to know that it was a good choice not to DIY the kitchen. I can not complete things and don't do good detail work. I have no patience (cause or effect of not having kids?)

What amck said though is what I've started to think. I was thinking I was having someone else do it because: a) it'd get done, b) it'd be 'easier'. Sure it would cost lots more, but it'd be counted in months to completion, not years. But now I'm totally at their mercy. It's costing me nearly as much (not really) in wait time (opportunity lost) as it is for the actual contracted work. That's definitely something to consider.

I'm also skittish about contractors. I know a couple people who had people build/install things and then disappear. This is one reason we went with HD. They're backing it. But the layers of intermediaries make it very, very challenging. If our best friends hadn't survived it last summer, I probably would have changed course by now. (Though he did his own subs, and I probably should have.) I've called him to talk me off a ledge a couple times now.

Thanks all for working through this with me.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

I have no idea how those of you who are not self employed do it! If I had a boss, I would have fired me, lol. This remodel has taken an unbelievable amount of my time, even though we have a GC, if I were not there certain things would not have been done right. I have an office and a home office, I have been working from home most of the time. I find if I go into the office my contractor is calling me with a million questions of how things are supposed to look so I end up going home anyway. It's sad because as much as this remodel is costing I have also been neglecting my business and losing money on that end. :(

Keep repeating "it will all be worth it in the end".


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

I have a different kind of schedule.
I work at night.
So when I get up in the morning, I take my moments people would usually have after work. I have espresso (and Reese's cups) on the porch with my cats and dogs. Walk around the yard (about an hour) looking at the day's new plants or blossoms and what I should get done. When the heat starts to kick in, I come inside.

Here's the tough part and why I started the "Accomplishments" thread. Sometimes I just do nothing. Sometimes I do one thing and feel like it's a mountain I've overcome. Sometimes sometimes sometimes.

I go to work about 3:30 pm 5 days a week. I don't know how I'd get anything done if I worked during the day. I'm just too pooped, mentally and physically to do much in the evenings.

When I actually have the $$ to hire someone for something I'm afraid to do, it's very handy to be home during the daytime.

I don't give a darn what anyone says, I watch every single minute. I warn the contractor/employee about that. And what will happen if the words "good enough for now" or "I'll come back to that" even form in their brain, I'll boot them out of the house. (Really only happened once.) But I take nothing for granted because some of my ideas seem weird to people who haven't seen whatever before. We've had whole threads on those who ask "why" vs. just plain doing what I ask.

My reno and repairs work at a snail's pace, simply due to money. But it does give me the opportunity to change my mind. The things my POC-ex-GC-DH rushed me into deciding have all been changed out to my Ah HA details. Rushing stinks and costs time and $$ in the long run.

But how I'd do it if I worked a "real" job? Well. Maybe it would have been done 6 years ago and I wouldn't be here, but I might be lamenting things I'd like to change because I couldn't be home.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

Well, not everyone cares as much as the folks here do, either. I've had two neighbors who are only seasonal residents who have made arrangements with contractors while they're here and then all the work was done while they were back up north. They came back the next year to a finished renovation. As a matter of fact right now one of those same neighbors is having her bathroom done while she's in CT.

Were the results completely satisfactory? No, neither kitchen was anything that people here would be pleased about, but it wasn't all that bad, either, and they're quite happy with what they got. And I have to say that the design was the poorest part and they certainly had input on that.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

I have a couple guys who I have no problems doing work when I'm here. One we left here when we were taking off on vacation. "Thanks! Lock up when you're done!" And one of them...I should have used him on the kitchen. Hindsight and all that.

HD's policy, someone over 18 here at all times. That's fine. I want to be here.

BUT TELL ME WHEN THAT IS SO I CAN PLAN!

/rant
I'll go back to cleaning out cabinets now.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

Even if you're not doing a DIY project, remodeling while working is really really difficult. Just shopping, and buying, and making decisions, not to mention running home in the middle of the day, or staying home in the morning for this and that, or getting home early. I told my DH this time that I won't do it again as long as we're working - after that (which isn't so far off), all bets are off!


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

Spouse and I have full-time jobs and 2 young children. We just now started a renovation that we have been putting off for nearly ten years. The reasons we didn't start the renovations sooner were that we both had relatively long commutes (out of the house from 8 am until 6:30 pm), the kids weren't sleeping through the night (we were exhausted), and we frankly didn't feel we had the mental and physical capacity to deal with the ordeal and mess of a remodel. Now, the kids are older (and sleeping!) and I have switched to being mostly a teleworker (I pop into the job site at least once a day during work hours).

Remodeling is tough if you have a rigid, out-of-the home gig, because there are times where you really need to be on the job site to make sure that things are done correctly. My recommendation is to make sure that you have plenty of leave saved up for the inevitable times you will need to be present during work hours.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

I am a stay at home mom and our remodel took SO much of my time, it was like a full time job. Researching, problem solving, picking things out, and not to mention all of the decisions that had to be made on the spot when unexpected issues arose....ma'am this isn't going to work, would you rather we do this or that....

I guess it didn't help that we chose to do it over the holiday season! Stress on top of stress! Glad it's behind me now :)


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

I'm acting as owner/builder on our tear-down-to-the-studs remodel/addition and I've wondered the exact same thing as the original poster. This is not for the faint of heart or those who don't have plenty of time to devote to it. I'm an attorney working part-time right now so I do that work late at night, and devote almost every waking second to the house build and shuttling my 3 kids around. We are about 4 weeks out from finishing and I can't wait to have my life back again!


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

I've found the shopping/decision making parts to be time consuming and stressful (which is why I'm trying to research and order as much online as I can), but I have no issue at all with my GC being at my house when I'm not there.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

OMG - this is an absolutely wonderful thread, as i work full-time. I thought it was just me going crazy. Last March my house burned down while I was at work and my 3 cats died. The house needed to be torn down to the studs.

The number of decisions are endless, and dealing with the insurance co, the GC & subcontractor screw-ups are driving me crazy. I sometimes wish I died in the fire. It seems like it will never end.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

Oh, mdln. I am so sorry. In our fire, we lost 3 of our kitties and our Golden Retriever to smoke inhalation. It was absolutely horrible.

I hope your rebuild is faster than my recovery. It's so hard to face decisions when your heart hurts.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

mdln I can't even imagine the stress you are under and so sorry this happened to you (and CEFreeman).

Step back when you have to, take some day trips or short vacation from it all if you possibly can. Take a break from it to refuel and get back into dealing with it and though you want it finished sooner than later, take your time and at some point things will fall into place. They really will.

Best of luck to you and surely you know this is the place to be for wonderful support and ideas.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

Thank you so much for your very kind words CEFreeman and Tinker. This thread helped me realize how difficult building is - even without a traumatic situation. This thread helped convince me to take more time off work.

CEFreeman - recovery? I am not sure that is even possible. I do not think I will ever be the same person. Since you've been there, any words of wisdom???


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

I choose the word "recovery" because people who have never been there have no clue why in a day or two we're still "fussing" over "it."

One of my kitties with horrible lung damage lived, loved and snuggled for another 5 years. My dog Morgan must go in tomorrow for the last time. She has inoperable tumors and has lost much of the control of her back legs. She can't be on her back for surgery because of lung damage. Other things, along with the tumor, but that's the biggest thing.

No, since I'm in this house still rebuilding, I have things that still slap me in the face. No, I'm far from the same person. But subsequent trauma has helped form into the next person I'm going to be. Maybe not the same, but someone who knows, vs. talks about, what's important. Doesn't make it better.

But if one more person misquotes Nietzsche at me, I'm gonna, well, I won't be polite. 1) I'm strong enough, so FU. 2) it's "What does not destroy you makes you stronger. "Destroy" is a heck of a lot different than "kill." And there was a lot of destruction.

Sorry to be such a downer. I'm a wreck about Morgan tomorrow. My sweet girl.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

CEF, my thoughts will be with you tomorrow. My wife found a vet that did house calls for putting down a pet, so that's what we did the last time we had to do this. It made it 10 times easier on us as well as on our cat, Keeley. My wife was able to hold her the whole time and Keeley never had to leave her home.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

Thank you, mtdoug.
My vet has offered. He's pretty wonderful. His practice boarded 2 of the dogs for 3 weeks without charge after our fire. He let me pay him the $14,000 over 5 years. Actually, there was no deadline, but I put one on me.

I can't lift Morgan, so once she's gone I don't know what I'd do.

cal_quail, I'm so sorry about the hijack.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

Oh CEFreeman...I'm in tears. There's nothing I can say which will make sense but my thoughts and prayers are with you.

mdln -No you won't be the same person, but reading your posts, I don't think that you realise how brave and strong you are. All the best for the insurance dealings and take care of yourself.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

CEFreeman - am also crying with you, the losses just keep coming. You will be in my thoughts.

Thank you gemcap. Not brave, just no other choice. GW has helped me be strong. I just (30 min ago) stopped the finishing of the floors, until they replace (not repair) the new HW that was damaged by the tile guys wet saw water - there is cupping of the wood. GW posters have given me the courage to say, ''no, that is not acceptable.''


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

CEFreeman, I will be sending good thoughts your way. My first dog - was supposed to be the kids' but ended up being my shadow - was also named Morgan. She was a rescue beagle who was part of our family for 13 years. I still miss her, though it's been 10 yrs. Take care -


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

Schicksal said a very wise thing. Instead of focusing on eating the whole elephant, focus on eating it one bite at a time.

For those of you going through a remodel or are contemplating a remodel, the above bit of wisdom is how those in the business get through the job. They compartmentalize each step of the job in order to remain focused. It looks chaotic to an outsider but it really isn't.

One thing everyone could do right now is put on paper the order in which each step of the project needs to be completed before moving to the next. Once you have that, do some reading on the next few steps on the list as you go along to familiarize yourself with it and how it is done. You will then be able to better anticipate the needs of those doing the work and better understand what might go wrong. Try to stay at least a month ahead of the actual work being done in learning.

Doing the above will help you not feel so blindsided or helpless when something comes up, which it will.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

Oh Christine, I am so sorry. It is terrible. You think you will never stop crying. We lost our thirteen year old puppy many years ago. There are no words now. The pain does get softer. I am just another voice who knows you and wishes you, I don't know what, less pain, ...just the wherwithall to trudge thru this time.


 o
RE: How do people who work ever remodel their...anything?

We both work full time...my DS at a less demanding 9-5pm job at a university, me at a 50-60hr week + travel management consulting firm.

We're remodeling our entire home interior--every room. Plus massive plumbing, electrical, and HVAC upgrades.

We hired an architect to draw up the plans, and a GC is doing all the work. I am personally playing the role of interior designer/finish chooser. That being said this project has been a 40 hour a week second job. To make it easier we:

1) MOVED OUT. I can't even imagine how naive we were thinking "oh we could stay and they could move room to room." It would have taken far longer to complete it and would have ruined our life (no exaggeration).

2) PLANNED EXTENSIVELY. There are so many decisions you have to make in a remodel and so many surprises. To keep these items to a manageable level, think out everything in advance that you can and make sure it's in the budget. It will cut down on the mistakes, stress, and change orders. The idea of some people who don't know whatcounter top they want until they put in their cabinets--I couldn't operate that way.

3) ACCEPTED THE AFFECTS ON MY CAREER. I'll be honest with you all--I got a middling mid-year performance review last month. "You don't seem engaged." "Your not selling enough new business" "you haven't done anything 'extra' this year" -- you just have to be at peace with the fact that a major reno has side affects in a lot of areas of your life, including your career. I was willing to sacrifice a better raise and add another year to my promotion timeline because there is no way you can add a 40 hour a week second job and not have it affect your first one. I honestly can't wait to get back my job and try to make up for my distraction this year--I was excited about this project when we started but I am so sick of going to Home Depot and the tile store all the time. I know I know, we're going to love it.

TWO MORE WEEKS!


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Kitchens Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here