How to Survive Your Kitchen Remodel
In February 2020 I was busy planning for my own kitchen remodel, and so I naturally put together a 5 part (!) series of blog entries on… “Planning Your Kitchen Remodel.” Having just completed my own kitchen remodel, I have new insights and recommendations for remodeling your kitchen.
1. Understand your budget.
Remodeling costs more than you expect, no matter how well you plan. This is especially true since the pandemic, as quality workers are harder to find. My suggestion: Put a 20% buffer in for those unexpected costs that no one could have anticipated. That will cover the plumber having to adapt your plans because of your unique circumstances. That will also cover the electrician having to adapt your plans because of faulty wiring you never realized you had.
2. Ask for specifics on the bids.
If you go with the lowest bid, you’re likely to get what you pay for. If the proposal is far less than the others, there’s a reason. In the end, you will probably pay just as much in change orders and not get a great job. Go with your gut but definitely ask for specifics on your job. We paid more than budgeted, but Ben Brandon and Peter were reliable, hard working, and the quality of their work was excellent.
3. Communicate with your workers
Make certain you know what you want and that you communicate it both verbally and in writing to the contractor. Repeatedly (i.e. weekly.)
4. Structural Considerations
Recognize that the contractor has more than your cabinet selection, countertop option, appliance choices to make. There are a lot of structural considerations and intricacies that need to be considered.
5. Make a Plan for How You’ll Prepare Meals
Not having a plan to live through the remodel could be disastrous, especially during the pandemic. Whether it’s that you’re moving your old fridge into the Family Room, along with a portable microwave and/or crock pot, or your moving into your in-laws, you really need a plan. Where will you wash dishes? Most people opt for a bathtub, which sounds and is pretty gross, but the bathroom sink isn’t always an option. My husband and I opted for paper plates, bowls, and plastic silverware to lessen the load. We were able to rent another smaller condo unit in the same building- it was a huge benefit to be able to fix meals and work during the day in relative peace and quiet, although it did add $3,600 of costs to our budget. We still could barbecue on our own deck, having prepared the meal in the “other” condo.
6. Change Orders
A. There are going to be change orders due to unknown structural issues.
B. When you add “Well, as long as your at it, why don’t you:
- “Paint the living room & dining room”
- “Replace the baseboards”
- etc., etc. etc.
This is called a “Change Order” and it’s going to add time and cost to your project.
There will be a point that you just want the construction team to leave you alone. Even if they are nice. This happens to everyone. An example: Imagine that you’re in Week 9 of a 10 week project. It’s in my nature to be accommodating, yet when my lead construction worker asked about the possibility of working on the weekend, I really wanted to scream “NO!” Fortunately for me, they got enough done that it wasn’t necessary. Thank you, Universe!
There will be dust EVERYWHERE! All.the.time. On the first weekend after the start, I expected it as they had to tear out all the old cabinets. So I carefully cleaned and dusted weekend after, and washed the sheets that covered the upholstered furniture. Ah… clean. Such a nice feeling… until about noon on the following Monday when there was again dust on everything. REPEAT ad.nau.se.am.
9. Prepare Your Furniture!
Having an Open Concept space that includes the entry, kitchen, dining and living rooms is “ideal” for a smaller space condo. Except during a remodel. Then you have a bigger area to get filthy with construction dust. Be certain to cover your upholstered pieces of furniture: sofas, ottomans, dining chair seats, etc. If you don’t, you may need to have them professionally cleaned when you’re done. You can wipe down your wood, glass, or metal pieces with a slightly dampened cloth. Polishing wood with bees wax will bring back the beauty of the wood.
In general all of these things are doable if you keep your eye on the target: a remodeled, functional, beautiful, and comfortable space… in just a couple of months (give or take) of your life. Inconvenient? Yes, definitely. Worth it in the long run? Definitely! Overwhelmed at the thought? We can help you through it with the least amount of stress!
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