Journal of a Remodelee, Part 7 of 11
Originally appeared in Hills Publications, April 21, 2006 and ANG Newspapers, April 22, 2006
After a holiday hiatus, my wife, Sonia, and I continue our remodeling saga.
Not many contractors have a fabricating shop for granite and marble, let alone allow clients to give direct input on how the stone will be cut. Fortunately, ours is one of the few.
This morning, we met Wei, the granite man, at the contractor’s facility. Sonia and I were able to point out the most pleasing patterns in the stone and say where they would go in the kitchen. We had bought three, large slabs just so we would have this flexibility. Wei followed us back to the house to verify his measurements and double check our choice of bull nose edging.
Initially, we decided on a simple, ¾” beveled bull nose. Today, as we looked at it, we realized the supporting plywood would show unless covered by cabinet molding. This will not work on the curved portion of the countertop.
Now, having more information, we changed our selection to a 1½” DuPont bull nose. This entails gluing two granite pieces together to create the edging. It will look wonderful and cover the underlying plywood, but will come at a higher price for labor, a familiar theme during our remodeling project. Again, having that extra granite slab has saved us.
We also discussed if the full-height, granite backsplash would be flush with the end cabinets or with the counter and the style of the granite window sill over the kitchen sink. Happily, Wei seems to understand our preferences and we are grateful that he is part of a crew that solicits our input.
Courtney, the man we hired to install glass in the new shower, did not show up nor return my three voice mail messages. Finally, he called after 8 PM and said he had had a family emergency. We understood his situation, but we are in a time crunch as the crew must finish the master bath in the next few days. He agreed to come on Sunday, January 22nd to put in the glass.
Courtney came and installed the shower glass perfectly. It is even better than we envisioned.
The heating contractor came back to put in the thermostat. The entire house is now heated, not just the room where we have been “camping” these past months.
The replacement kitchen cabinet was delivered and put in place. Our toilet and pedestal sink were reinstalled in the newly expanded master bath. The electrician mounted the light fixture and my shaving mirror. Finally, one room is complete.
I called the floor refinishing people and got on the schedule for March 6th, the earliest they can begin. Sam, the foreman, tried to put in the kitchen sink foot pedal, but one of the internal parts had been damaged during manufacturing. A replacement part is being mailed to us.
After Sam completed the new molding around the existing, in-the-wall, ironing board, we noticed something missing — the electric outlet that used to be to the right had disappeared. We asked Lee, the electrician’s number one man, and he pointed to the plans, where the ironing board was included, but the outlet was not.
Lee, who had previously been very diligent about checking with us, had gone ahead and removed the outlet without asking how we could use an ironing board without electricity.
Needless to say, we had Lee put in another outlet inside the ironing board frame. As before, we were blindsided by architect carelessness, adding to our costs.
Wei made a third house visit to measure again for granite. There is a problem with a section of wall that is out-of-square. The granite will be installed on February 2nd and, although everything else will be pre-cut; Wei will cut that section at the house to assure it fits properly.
A mega-problem – we did not know that the wrong bathtub had been delivered for the hall bath until it was installed. It had been wrapped up in a wooden crate until then. It is too shallow and, as Sonia pointed out, looks exactly like a Victorian coffin.
We are told the correct one will not arrive for three weeks. This stops all construction and will delay completion. To save time, we will have the painter begin while we await bathtub delivery.
Exciting day – granite will be installed today. Good news and bad news: six men struggled mightily to carry the largest slab (nine feet long, over 400 lbs.) up our twelve steps, around a tight corner and into the kitchen.
The good news is it is gorgeous and the bull nose perfect. Bad news is they dropped it, breaking a section of bull nose, including one of the curved corners. Wei swore he could fix it so no one will notice. To our relief, his repairs were seamless.
The Brazilian stone, a million years in the making, has a three dimensional feel of moving water in its creams, blacks, silvers, russets, whites and plums. The new countertops are even more beautiful than we had imagined.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 1 – It begins; we know there will be the inevitable surprises, but optimistically hope previous experiences will help renovations go smoothly.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 2 – Holding our breaths that some irreversible glitch does not take place while we are out earning a living.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 3 – An eliminated window is mistakenly left in the plans while miscalculations in light fixture placement increases costs.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 4 – Even with a great construction crew, once again we learn you can’t count on them to think of everything.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 5 – Mislabeling of tile grout almost results disaster.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 6 – We are reminded how important it is for at least one of us to stay close at hand to answer questions as they arise.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 7 – Back from a holiday break, we experience more surprises and a frustrating accident.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 8 – Surprises and scheduling conflicts can’t detract from enjoying our new kitchen.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 9 – It is all coming together…almost.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 10 – City inspections and the finish line.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 11 – Eight months’ worth of do’s and don’ts.