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Friends Having Breakfast

Behind the Before & After | The End. Kind Of. But Not Really…

Sorry for my delay in updating - it’s been a whirlwind. Or, rather, I wish it had been…actually, it’s been hard. Finishing this kitchen has been more of a slow and painful process than a grande finale.

Over the summer, I had mentioned to our kitchen team that we’d be going away at the end of September for a long weekend, and could they have the kitchen floors ready for their final refinish at that time? “We’ll be ready way before then,” they assured me, laughing.

We went away for that long weekend 8 weeks ago, and for good measure, we added on a few days - to make it 7 days away. Let me say that again. EIGHT WEEKS AGO we essentially moved out of the house for a full week. We had a beautiful fall wedding to attend in NH and then we came back and stayed in a hotel near home for 3 more nights.

During that time away we were also having most of the first-floor rooms painted, and the floors refinished. Everything - paint, floors, porch and kitchen - was supposed to be done when we came home.

And when we got back, the kitchen wasn’t finished. And now, eight weeks later, it’s still not. The electrician, plumber and tile folks have come and gone. And come back again. And still to-do are a myriad of punch list items. And I can’t imagine the kitchen team doesn’t want to be done with us, as much as we want to be done with them!

So I am sharing these struggles for two reasons - 1. Details Matter

  • Crooked Tile We had a section of tile installed that was not level. I didn’t notice it at first. And then when I did I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. But low and behold, one of our contractors brought out the level and found that the tile was definitely not straight. So that had to be redone. Honestly, there was a moment of panic when I thought we would have to live with crooked tile, but no. The tile vendor came and replaced it all and for them it was NBD.

  • Sloppy Switches Some of our electrical outlets were not level. And sadly I really had to fight to get these fixed. It was beyond frustrating. I mean, c’mon! This is basic shit that I shouldn’t have to point out.

  • Hardware Hardships Our beautiful cabinet hardware was installed incorrectly. The screws were wrong, and some cabinets literally had more than 10 washers inside them to hold the hardware in place. Nope - not on my watch. And one install was off-centered, so now my GC is buying me a new drawer front, to replace the one the guys messed up.

Photos, clockwise from top left: Ill-fitting glass shelf, gap under the porch door, sloppy switches and an off-center hardware installation.

Lesson learned, someone’s got to have an eye on every little detail and follow through. I wish it didn’t have to be this way - and I wish it didn’t have to be me! But at least the fixes can be made. Which brings me to my second point . . .

2. Don’t Settle for Less than What You Want. Problems should get addressed, and with the right communication, they can be.

  • Adequate Oven Power Our new oven kept tripping the breaker. We were freaking out about this, because in our old kitchen we could never have more than 2 appliances running at the same time. It was such a pain point for us. So we were fearful we’d be stuck back with the same problem as before. Turns out the electricians didn’t put enough amperage to the outlet (insert eyeroll here). But thankfully it’s fixed now.

  • Adequate Stove Power Oddly enough, there was an analogous problem with the gas. The plumber was complaining that he didn’t know we were going with a 36”/6 burner gas stove, and he mumbled something about needing to change our gas pipe to a larger pipe to get the stove working right…but it does work!

  • Doors that Open & Shut The doors on our porch neither opened, nor closed correctly. The back door was missing a piece of flooring and the door was installed too high; when the door was “closed” the resulting gap was so big that rainwater was flowing in!! The front door was just wrong from the start; only after buying 2 different doors, neither of which opened correctly into the space, did the contractors realize they needed to custom order a door.

  • A Place to Set Your Beverage The glass shelf in our bar doesn’t fit. After having the shelf sit on top of the counter for weeks, waiting for its install, I finally asked my husband to do it. I wanted to unpack the bar glasses and whatnot and get that area tidied up. And yep - it doesn’t fit. So a new one is on order and hopefully it will be here in a couple of weeks - maybe for New Year’s?

I had grand visions of writing a final post. Popping champagne. Having beautiful photos to share. And it’s just not happening quite yet. But I do want to share some good things, and not leave this post as a Debbie Downer! Tis the season to be grateful and, in all honesty, we are. There are a few wonderful things we’ve already been enjoying in our almost (almost) finished kitchen -

  • We have a dishwasher, for the first time in my life, in my own home - yay! The dishwasher, which had been mysteriously delayed all summer, came in much sooner than we expected and it works like a dream.

  • The kitchen is mostly unpacked and the overall design & flow are really working out well. We are figuring out where to put all of our favorite things, so it makes the most sense. There’s a lot of moving around and trial and error here, especially with a big old traditional turkey dinner to prepare this month, but it’s been fun and, overall, it’s a wonderful improvement.

  • There is just so much more space. All the drawers and cabinets fit so much more than I expected!!

I promise more photos to come once everything is DONE DONE. Hopefully just a couple more weeks for these last items. In the meantime, have a cocktail for me!

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