Hi. It’s been 5 months since my last post – 5 months since we moved in and 5 months since we gutted our kitchen. As I type this, there are still a few (very minor) items still needing to be checked off prior to our kitchen remodel being totally, completely, 100% complete. As the remodeling story usually goes, what was originally scoped as a 2-3 month project turned into 4 – and then into 5 – and just keeps slowly creeping along. The project wasn’t incredibly detailed – we didn’t change the footprint of the original kitchen, walls didn’t come down, we didn’t run into any major issues. Yet each week I was dealing with a new headache and quickly learned that contractors aren’t designers – nor are they project managers – and I was going to have to take on both roles.
I’m not going to bore you with all of the depressing details because you don’t want to read it and I will likely chuck my laptop across the room in a fit of rage if I type it all out. Instead, here’s a summary of what I learned:
- Take recommendations from neighbors, friends & family prior to hiring a contractor. Get multiple estimates and meet with more folks than you’d originally plan for. We were in a bit of a unique bind when we hired our team because we were looking to secure a renovation loan when purchasing the house and had to rush with estimates. I’d never, ever, do that again.
- If you aren’t working with a designer, have every design detail prepared prior to starting the project. Ask questions about installaltion processes, have measurements available and walk through everything throughoughly prior to signing a contract.
- Keep a running list of items needing to be completeled and a seperate list of issues needing to be addresssed. I was the only person doing this and I can’t tell you the amount of times my contractor asked to view my list/where we stood because he wasn’t keeping track of anything. (Infuriating – believe me, I know.)
- Take photos of everything. EVERYTHING. When countertops aren’t protecting properly, when finish on your floor is stripped, when tile is going up incorrectly – capture it all. You’ll likely need those photos down the road.
- Don’t feel like you’re not entitled to raise flags. Being young and being a woman are two barriers I had to force myself to quickly get over when pushing back on things I didn’t feel were right. It’s your home, you’re funding the project and you’re going to have to life with the end result – things should be done the way you want them done.
- Look for imperfections. Don’t assume your contractor is double and triple checking work, especially when most of it is being completed by groups they’ve hired the work out to. After each step is ‘complete’, take some time to look it over and raise any issues before you move onto the next.
- Remind yourself that it will all be worth it. Every project has to have a completion date and at the light at the end of the tunnel is a new kitchen, new bathroom, new deck you’ll get to enjoy for years to come.
Alright, I know you’re here for the photos so let’s just get to it. Here’s the kitchen pre-remodel, in all of her 90s era glory:
And here she is now:
The cabinet hardware and faucets are made out of unlaquered brass so they’ll age and develop a beautiful petina over time. The countertops are made of honed marble so they, too, will age and have some history to them with each scratch and stain. I love a white kitchen but am growing tired of the subway tile trend so we went with a glazed terracotta brick that gives the kitchen a similar bright, airy vibe, but adds some variance in color and little areas of imperfections throughout. We ran a gas line to say goodbye to electric cooking forever and took full advantage of the large windows overlooking the backyard by building a seat below (with storage!)
We purchased this home knowing we’ll be here for many years to come and every day, as I walk into this kitchen, all I can do is smile.