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Kitchen Renovation Meltdowns

Bond Girl

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I feel your pain. Our kitchen was gutted Dec. 1. We didn't have running water in there again until late March (might've even been early April). And when the sink was finally installed, the faucet had a defect (it leaked) and it took over a week to get it replaced. We'd been piling up the dishes in anticipation of having a proper place to do them - and after nearly four months we had to wait another week. That sucked.

Did I mention we also have a toddler? And that he lost his playroom during the reno as it was behind the kitchen. And that my wife's back blew up. Twice. Partly as a result of doing dishes in the laundry sink - a lot of bending over a low sink. I guess we knew that juggling the reno and the toddler was gonna be a challenge, but didn't anticipate the challenges of looking after the kid and the missus.

Your issues with delays are pretty commonplace, in my experience. The price "inflation" I think is also not uncommon - but there should be a reason for it - some unexpected event that they can explain why it was unexpected and also explain why the new fee is reasonable. For all the major stuff, we had contracts, except the electrical, which was hourly. Our flooring estimate had three different price schedules depending on what they found when they ripped up the existing floor and what was going to need to be done to prepare for the new flooring. We ended up having to pay the middle price, but given what they had to do (remove the five! previous layers of flooring and subflooring, add new two by fours or sixes and level them etc.) I actually think we got a bit of a bargain.

Our biggest delay was the countertop. They moved to a new facility over Christmas, and found out all their electrical (ie cutting) equipment needed to be re-certified. That little blip probably added at least 6 weeks to our reno. (Floors and cabinets were actually in before Christmas - so three weeks give or take. Despite the disruption, dust, noise etc., that stage wasn't that bad because it felt like progress was being made pretty much every day.) Not a lot happened for a few weeks. I ended up doing the painting because we had the time.

What'd we do to survive it? Well, we ate a lot of takeout. Used disposeable plates and cups and ate a lot more stuff out of boxes that could be nuked. I also made a whole bunch of stuff and froze it before the reno started. We didn't eat great, but we ate ok. Barbequed a lot until the weather turned nasty as well. (Was thinking about trying to borrow a George Foreman as well). We have a massive toaster oven that saw a lot of use too.

We also figured there'd be "surprises" along the way - and there were. One of the hard things for me was the fact that I'd thought I'd thought of pretty much everything - but I was constantly asked questions by the contractors that demanded immediate answers. Do you want x centered, what height should I put y, etc.

Our kitchen is still not completely finished - partly budget, partly a little surprise behind a wall that I want to live with for a little while to see what we need or could do with the space, and partly exhaustion with the whole process - we need a break from it for a little while. But the kitchen is pretty much fully functional now, and it's so much better than what was there before. And, the memories of the reno do seem like a distant memory.

I do have an appliance story - but it's getting late.

Good luck with the rest of it. I know it's frustrating when you're in the middle of it, but a few weeks disruption is a short time if you'll get a more functional kitchen that you'll be using for years to come.


Geoff Ruby

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Geoff, You have the patiences of many saints. I would have checked myself into a mental home by now. Every weekend, I walk by the greenmarket and I weep because I cannot cook. Not much longer now....I hope. At least, the cabinets are all up.

Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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