Sunday, May 25, 2008

Kitchen Project

Our kitchen (and half bath) redo is finally done. . . well, almost. We have a few tiny things remaining. Living out of boxes juxtaposed about the dining and living room floors and having our laundry room as an efficiency kitchen, is not our idea of a perfect life style, but it was workable and the project has finally come close to conclusion.

One of my philosophies is never celebrate until something is actually complete. . . until the verdict is in. For as soon as I get that sense of feel good, it is generally a warning sign, like a nudge that needs my attention. I usually adhere, but there was so much excitement in seeing this transformation, I couldn't hep ma sef thinking about how great things were going and the final result. Having written "so far, so good as all seems to be falling in place", . . . should have been a warning.

Having a few "extra" things done allowed us an opportunity to then have to "fix" a few other things, i.e. replacing the particle board pantry shelves and small support posts with new free standing ones and very simple corbels, proved to cause some neck tension. A board cut too long and forced against the dry wall made opening the pocket door next to impossible and with an attempt to open, inflicted a deep nail wound in the flesh of the wood, so now we could have the painters repair that, the carpenter suggested. Wonder who is paying the painters?

Since the door leading into the garage required downsizing due to the height of the new flooring, the security folks had to be called as the magnetic trigger no longer aligned. Sure, that was free. . . not.

As the tile was being unloaded and stacked, I suggested that it looked awfully dark (brown), but was assured it would lighten as it dried. Okay. . . I'll trust their judgment. Well, it was and it didn't. So our fabricator called Emser Tile and told them of our dissatisfaction, to which they replied, "They will have to pay a 25% restocking fee if it is returned". My husband and I decided to visit Emser, and the representative tried to convince us that it was the "ivory" classic premium travertine, that they sometimes change the names, and that God was responsible for the color we received. Having removed the label from the crate and researched their suppliers Rustico as being a different color, need we say anything more? We were charged nothing for what was their error and effort to force a product on us, and a several day delay would occur as the correct tile would be purchased at Intrepid in Portland, Oregon, where we initially made the selection of all the products. Ah, and of course we had to pay a little more for it, since Intrepid was a little higher in price.

Nailing the backer board to the floor and with astounding accuracy, one of the tile folks hit a capped-off copper water pipe dead center causing a large water leak under the house. It took hours for my husband and the plumber to pinpoint the leak; the carpenter was called to cut an opening in the floor; the copper was repaired as was the floor board; and the tile work proceeded. This added expense was clearly not in our budget, but we took it in stride.

Once the painters had gone and the oil-based painted pantry shelves were dry - about a two-week wait for those to cure - I could begin emptying the boxes and again find food items without playing the game of see if I can find the jar of olives in less than two minutes this time. With the pantry restocked, I could now climb the ladder to the large shelf which spans one of the kitchen walls and return those display items of pottery and family collectibles to their prior places.

Okay, I said a few bad words (#!!@#*#&!!!!). There was not an ounce of paint on the upper side of the shelf, and once the painter returned, it would be another two weeks waiting for that to dry. All I could think of was the conversation with one of the painters. He indicated that I could go ahead and put things back on the shelf if they didn't have to paint it, to which I responded, "No, we want it painted. It should match the new baseboards, the shelving in the pantry, and besides, it was part of the bid." Several other areas of missed paint application or paint on new light fixtures. . . no need to discuss.

When our electricity goes out in the winter - and that usually happens at least once a year - and since our cooktop is an electric Jenn-Aire, we added a gas cooktop so we could always prepare meals. It only took 3 weeks to get a county permit!

Overall, I think we did a pretty good job as our own general contractor, scheduling the fabricator, the plumber, electrician, painters. . . and verifying with each as to the correct time and position in the schedule so as not to interfere with whatever work was in progress.

Granted, when things go wrong, it takes away some of the joy of getting it done, but you have to stay focused on the intended result, and no matter that you hire those you believe to be the best. What I said to one of the young men who was working here, the difference between someone who is "good" at what they do and one who is the "best", is the attention to detail. I continue to be astounded at the lack of it. Do I expect too much? I don't think so, especially when you have hired and pay for the so-called best in the business.

Putting all of that aside, we now chuckle at some of the stories; you now have the benefit of our experience; and we have a beautiful kitchen and are looking forward to years of enjoyment. Besides that, we're cooking with gas!