Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Reveal…the Before and Afters

Let me back up and tell you a little about our kitchen before the remodel. First, it is a small space and we did not have the luxury (time or money) of being able to remove walls and re-configure. So the same footprint remained but everything else went. We live in a 1950s home and Jennifer (co-owner and general contractor) was concerned we might have some electrical and plumbing challenges. Luckily, when they opened up the walls, there were a few out-of-date issues but nothing that was not manageable (for them – wouldn’t trust an amateur here). They upgraded electrical, water shut-off valves and other stuff I don’t really understand (or want to) to make us feel nice and safe. Our cabinets and drawers were one of our biggest targets. The cabinet doors wouldn’t close and the drawers closed so well that our then four-year-old had a tough time opening the drawers. She is still ecstatic about the soft close (blu motion) that is easy for her to pull out and then push back in without making a sound. Exciting! We had laminate throughout our kitchen and into my office – we decided to replace all of it with the hardwood that was found throughout the house. It plussed up the entire space and we love how rich it makes this area look. We also had wasted space around our cabinetry where the stand-alone stove went and the dishwasher was inserted by our back door. Our remodel has re-claimed these unused spaces and we were able to add some nifty new features (i.e., pull-out spice drawer).

Our other main complaint came in the way of very old appliances (dishwasher, oven and microwave) which all worked at a sub-par level. My husband is a chef and has a new lease on life with our new Bosch gas cooktop, stove and warming drawer unit and I can’t wait to bake Christmas cookies this year – the uneven heating element in our old sad oven made the actual baking of the cookies an olympic event. So, without further delay…

Before…

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And AFTER…

After

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Process, Process, Process

This became my favorite word during this project as I have to say it made the entire undertaking a breeze. From our first meeting where we talked about the scope of the project and what we liked/did not like about our current space to the final stroke of paint being brushed onto the wall, the Kitchen Design Concepts process makes for enjoyable days. I work out of my home and was a little concerned about the possible disruption, but because we had a well-planned schedule where we knew what to expect and when, I was easily able to manage all of my clients while having our kitchen taken down to the studs and rebuilt again.

So the process…

Mary Kathryn and Katie (lead designer) came to survey our space and talk to us about our expectations, budget, timing, wishes and needs. We talked about the must-haves and the nice-to-haves; we even talked about doing it as a Kitchen Design Concepts project or a Snappy Kitchens project. They own both companies and each has its place – Kitchen Design Concepts if you are wanting a complete remodel or Snappy Kitchens if we only wanted to replace components. The difference for us and the reason it became a Kitchen Design Concepts remodel was because we decided to replace our old outdated cabinets with new custom ones (with Blu motion soft close on the drawers – so exciting). We were fine either way as we knew we were getting the same great quality, people and consultation throughout the process. We saw a couple versions of contracts based on give-and-take to make our budget work and then we signed the contract. Even though we are business associates and great friends, the process and details were outlined to perfection and we had talked about even the smallest of details. This is a BIG BIG deal in remodeling as I have learned – they talk about the intricacies up front (even the exact tile, for example) so that you don’t find yourself adding money on in change orders throughout the process. At the end of our project, we ended up spending less than $400 more than our contract! We don’t even get that close doing our own home improvement projects that are 1/100 the size of this one.

Once the contract was signed and a schedule was presented, moving out of the space and setting up our temporary kitchen was the first order of business. They helped us move our refrigerator into the dining area and we set up our microwave as well. They provided a booklet they had created that walked us through the set-up step-by-step. The book listed what items to keep out while we were packing up and where to put them. It made this foreign concept (in my 40+ years I had never set up a temporary kitchen) very manageable.

Demolition was next. In two days time, our entire kitchen was down to the studs. The contractors used their own side entrance to the house and we rarely saw them. At the end of each day, we as a family would enter into the space through our zippered door and see the progress that had been made. We were amazed that they cleaned up every single day and we loved how quickly change was happening. Early on, photo of Amy at Arizona Tile resized.jpg
Katie and I took a trip to the granite yard. Although we had already selected our small sample of granite, I learned that the big slabs can vary and you want to pick the one that has more of the colors you are looking for. In our case, we actually switched to a different color style but Katie was able to steer me to others that were at the same price point (no change order!). Here I am next to our materials (cabinet door, backsplash) and new slab of granite…

At the beginning of each week, we would receive a schedule of what to expect for that week in terms of work and progress. It was nice to be able to understand when we might be inconvenienced and they worked very hard at keeping those times to a minimum. Our utility room, for instance, was in our kitchen, but they gave us plenty of advance notice and then moved the washer and dryer out to replace the flooring, grout, dry and seal. We were without washer and dryer for a total of two days and we were amazed. Inconvenience avoided!

Construction continued and the one glitch happened – the backsplash we had chosen was on back order and it would not be in for several weeks. We met with Katie to see if there was something else we wanted to select, but decided that we wanted to stick with our first choice. They moved the other pieces of the project along to keep us on schedule as much as possible and then came back in to tile when the material was available.

My husband saw some great-looking hardware at a friend’s house and we decided to change hardware and faucet to oil-rubbed bronze from satin nickel. This was one of two change orders as we decided it was worth the re-stocking fees to get the darker fixtures. The second change order was because we decided to upgrade our utility room doors – they installed and painted them, put on the new hardware and I am so thankful we decided to make this move (another great idea of my husband).

Next time, I’ll show lots of pictures of before and after. I’ve decided I might need a couple more blogs but I’ll have to see if I can negotiate that with Mary Kathyn. Until next week…

Floor is Buckling… Let’s Remodel!

If you are anything like my husband and me, then you will know what I mean when I say “Reverse Remodeling.”

We have done this for the past 11 years we’ve been married. We see a little something out-of-order and think it will be a quick fix to change it out. For example, we were dis-enchanted with the old light fixtures in our bathroom when we first moved into the house. We changed them out to find that now the medicine cabinet mirror would not open. We pulled that out of the wall and then needed to re-dry wall, find a new mirror that would fit (not as easy as you might think) and then, of course, we needed to re-paint. A newly remodeled bathroom all for the sake of replacing some ugly out-of-date fixtures.

So when we walked in to find our kitchen sitting in standing water, I’m sure it won’t surprise you that we were eventually led to remodel the entire kitchen. Broken dishwasher, buckling floor to new appliances, new cabinetry, new countertops, backsplash, fixtures, sink and hardware. And we could not be happier with the results! Mary Kathryn has given me three weeks to write, so I better make it last. Tune in next week for Part II of my three-part series.

An Inside Look

For a little over six years, we have worked with a marketing consultant to align our strategies and promote our work. We finally had the pleasure of recently remodeling her family’s kitchen and so I am turning over the next three blogs to her to provide an inside look at what happens with one of our jobs. (Hopefully she’ll have only great things to say, right?)