In Kitchen Remodel Part 3, we removed the popcorn texture from the ceiling and put up the beadboard. We were ready for the next steps: cabinets, counter tops and tile. This post will tell the story of our first time acting as our own contractor and the coordination needed to get these installed.
We started with the cabinets. We wanted custom cabinets, rather than getting them from a box store, because of the changes we were making in the kitchen. Friends of ours had recently redone their kitchen and recommended the company that made their cabinets. We liked their cabinets, and after reviewing the company’s website, we contacted them to come out for an estimate. The salesman came out to do the measuring on May 23rd. We visited the showroom on May 27th to select our wood and door style and signed the contract and made our down payment on June 1st.
We also wanted granite counter tops and needed to hire a company to make and install them. We started looking at counter tops immediately. We received estimates from a box store and from an individual we selected with great Angie’s List ratings. We liked the Angie’s List guy because he also had a plumber that worked with him and we got a great price on the new kitchen sink. We hired his company and signed the contract on June 9th. That was also the day I heard from the cabinet company that our cabinets would be finished and ready to install on July 1st. I notified the Granite Guy and he scheduled the template for July 5th.
We wanted the cabinets professionally painted so we needed to get a painter hired now that we had a date for the cabinet install. We contacted a painter through Angie’s List and he was already booked to the end of July. I had received a couple names from the cabinet company and I attempted to contact them. The first one never got back with me, so I reached out to the second. He said to let him know when the cabinets were installed so that he could come for an estimate. He said he would block that time for our job.
We continued to work on the kitchen, getting it ready for the cabinet install. We contacted our salesman on June 15th to check on the install date and verify if they would be installed in one day. I let him know that we were attempting to get our granite template and painter scheduled. We were still scheduled for the 1st of July. Andy contacted him again on the 21st to be sure the plumbing for the sink would be okay for the cabinet install. Andy sent a picture and was told it was fine. I reached out to him again on the 28th to confirm the install date of July 1st since I had the granite template scheduled for the 5th. He replied on the 29th that he would have to check on it, and on the 30th, he let us know that there was a delay and they would NOT be installed the next day.
We were both surprised and disappointed. He had also replied to us using a forwarded email from the owner. The owner had said there was no way and to check with the shop foreman because “the big jobs were kicking their ass”. Our salesman indicated that the shop foreman said maybe delivery next Wednesday (which would have been 7/6) and maybe install next Friday (7/8). He also let us know the shop was working on cabinets for million dollar homes and they would also be working over the holiday weekend.
As I said, we were surprised and disappointed. We were also confused regarding the lack of communication. I knew that getting mad at the salesman and going off on him would not make our cabinets suddenly appear. But I did send an email response asking him if he would have contacted us if I had not reached out on the 28th to confirm our delivery. I left him know we understood that dates change, but that we needed to be kept informed due to needing to schedule the template and the painters. I then contacted the guy that was scheduled for the 5th to do the template and told him I would let him know ASAP regarding a new date. The same with the painter. Both of these gentlemen were understanding.
The cabinet company called me at 3:30 on the 8th and said the cabinets were being delivered. Within 30 minutes, they were there. When they called, we started moving remaining things from the kitchen. We did not get the stove and refrigerator out before they arrived. We did get the oven out before the install. However, we could not move the refrigerator over the threshold into the living room, so it remained in the kitchen throughout the process.
The cabinet installer arrived on the 12th. It was a busy day because we also had an air conditioner repairman there at the same time. And I was still working full time from my home office. It was also noisy, but the cabinets were 99% finished by the time he left. He returned the next day to install the crown molding.
We were not able to get the original painter and I had to search again. Rather than continue to put off the counters, we had the template made on the 13th and the counters were installed on the 19th. If we had tried to get the cabinets painted first, the counters would have been pushed back to August.
Since we had the weekend of the 16th available, we removed the old sliding glass patio doors and installed new French doors.
The only thing I will say about that experience is that expandable foam is NOT Andy’s friend!
We were able to locate a painter and he came to do the estimate on the 19th, while the counters were being installed! He was able to start on the 23rd and finished on the 26th.
7/26/16 – Counters done, sink and dishwasher installed and cabinets painted
7/26 – Bench painted
The backsplash tile and grout were completed on July 31st and the cabinet hardware added on August 1st. We still had the beam to install and some painting touch up to do, but we no longer had workers coming to the house and were on our own to finish up.
Here is the completed beam.
I wanted to share this story so others could possibly learn from our experience with this type of remodeling. It was definitely a learning experience for us.