Archive for November, 2007

Kitchen Cabinet Bids: the Nickel and Dime Game

Friday, November 30th, 2007

In my experience the following is a common scenario:

Katy Kitchen is ready for a remodel. She heads out for a day of planning and decision-making.

Stop #1 is a warehouse home-improvement store. Katy spends an hour with a kitchen designer and comes away with a price estimate for her cabinets and counters.

Stop #2 is a small, locally owned kitchen and bath showroom. Katy spends 1-2 hours with a kitchen designer and comes away with a price that's 10% higher than the warehouse store price.

Seems like Katy will get the best deal by going with the big store's offer, right?

Probably Not! (more…)

Keep on the Sunny Side of Remodeling, Part II

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

It's really, really easy to become negative late in a remodel. Or at least to become hardened.

Somewhere along the way, someone or something is likely to take the wind out of your sails.

  • Starting into your 3rd month of being without a kitchen.
  • The floor guys who took you seriously about “helping themselves to whatever's in the fridge” and ended up eating that expensive ice cream you brought back from Europe.
  • The paint guys who tracked tar(??) across your rug.
  • The GC who swears they did everything they could to flatten the saggy floor, though you're skeptical there was any change at all.

It's easy to become jaded, but you shouldn't. Here's another reason why.

Many of the professionals with whom you'll be interacting (even late in the project — like the cabinet and counter installers) have chosen to do what they do because it makes them happy. This means that they've made an emotional decision about their work. And this means that — though they may still be able to do a competent job — they need your enthusiasm to be at their best. (more…)

Avoid the “Arched Dormer” Faux Pas

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

Thanks to the internet, self-educated homeowner-remodelers are getting more and more sophisticated.Dormer Essentials Video

In fact, thanks to the high velocity of change in the construction industry and the ease with which things can be researched (if you know what you're doing), a homeowner can go into a meeting with a GC (general contractor) knowing more about some narrow topics than the GC does. (more…)

Built-In or Free-Standing Cabinets?

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

“Why Built-Ins?” VideoIt's always a tough call: Should you go with Free-Standing or Built-In Cabinets for that [insert needed item here: bookshelf, office, entertainment center] that you've been needing? Free-Standing will always win on cost, but it's your home and Built Ins would be so nice…

Free Standing Custom CabinetsFor a little extra, a custom cabinetmaker can make a built-in so that it can be moved like a free-standing unit. But this presents some problems:

  1. If a cabinet can be moved somewhere else and look just as good, it wasn't a “truly great” built-in. To understand what makes for a “truly great”, you'll want to take my free built-ins course. A one-sentence summary would be: (more…)