25-kitchen-designers-own-kitchen-remodel-2There are plenty of warnings on the Consumer’s Voice and other sites about scheduling a remodeling project right before a big event in your home or around the holidays.  Trust me, that’s really good advice!  There’s always going to be a delay of some sort.  I have a lot of experience with kitchen projects, many of which were significantly bigger than my kitchen.  Once the details of my project were finalized, I took a final look at my plan and thought, “It looks pretty good, if I do say so myself!”

But then came the setbacks

  • I decided to upgrade the lighting in the kitchen as part of this remodel.  The recessed can lights were going to look great, but then my electrician had trouble locating obstructions.  Sure enough, he makes the cut out for the first light and then slides over to cut the symmetrical hole and finds a pipe from the upstairs bathroom in his way.  And this happened more than once!  When the lights were finally installed, I was left with five holes that the electrician wouldn’t patch and I got to paint the whole ceiling as a bonus.
  • The same electrician (see a pattern?) didn’t check the screw length when he installed my under-cabinet lights.  They protruded through the cabinet bottom into the cabinet a full ¼”, which is a dangerous length.  Back in my sales and design days, I remember hearing my field managers complain about this when working on custom houses.  And then I forgot to check this in my own kitchen before the electrician left.  OK, so I could have fixed this problem myself, but I didn’t think I should have to.  It took almost a week to get the electrician back to my house to correct his mistake.
  • Since the cabinets were not originally ordered for my kitchen, I had to order some extra moldings to complete the job.  A month before the scheduled cabinet installation, I ordered some unfinished moldings since they had a very short (two week) lead time and we would have time to stain them to match.  Unfortunately, two weeks turned into four because the company from which I bought the moldings hadn’t paid their bills.  I received my molding two days before the cabinet installation was scheduled, and had to scramble to get them stained in time.
  • I couldn’t wait to see my new granite countertops with tile backsplash – I just knew the combination was going to look fantastic.  But my countertop supplier forgot to order the tile and didn’t realize it until the day they were scheduled to deliver and begin installation.  This little oversight set us back four days and forced the tile installer to set and grout in the same day… usually the set tile is left for 24 hours (or at least overnight) before grouting.
  • The granite installer made the opening for my range 1/8” too narrow.  That sounds pretty insignificant, right?  Well, that little variance proved to be a real challenge – my range simply would not fit in the opening.  Fortunately, the granite installer came back the next evening to grind the stone down.  Have you ever stood beside a jet engine at full power?  That night, my family and I sure felt like we had.  But once the grinding and polishing were complete, and the noise finally died, you couldn’t tell that any adjustment was made.  And yes, my hearing returned a couple of days later.

Believe it or not, I think my project went pretty smoothly.  Setbacks like the ones we experienced (and ours were pretty minor) are frustrating and can delay your project.  Although it is pretty hard to plan for the unknown, you can prepare for it.  Remember, even if you are working with one contractor, there may be several trades involved in your kitchen remodel (cabinets, counter tops, flooring, lighting, plumbing, appliances, etc.).   When something goes awry with one, all the others will likely be affected.  Expect your project to take longer than planned, and don’t schedule near holidays or big gatherings.  Understanding that there will be challenges is often enough to survive the chaos.