Things I learned during our recent kitchen renovation:
1. Have one detail-oriented person be in charge during all design meetings and be present during all installation visits. She or he can then make sure the project stays on track and to make informed decisions as they come up during the installation.
2. Be courteous to and reasonable with your designer and general contractor. They can be your greatest allies.
3. Take samples of your cabinet wood, countertop, tile and paint to your house. They will look different colors under different lighting. At Home Depot, we picked out a wall tile that went well with the backsplash, but when we finally thought to place the samples against the actual wall, the tile looked so blah! We had less than 24-hours to find a new tile. Love the new Floor Décor store less than a mile from our house!
4. Take photos of the floor before installations. Put copy of install contract in photo so you can prove when the photos were taken. This way you can prove the floor was damaged during the installation.
5. Know your final design. Don’t rely on the cabinet builders to know how many shelves or drawers go in each cabinet. One of our contractors thought there were four drawers left over, when three of them were to be installed in a cabinet. I also discovered two shelves were missing.
6. Be patient. There will be hiccups. Something was not ordered, was on back-ordered or not delivered. Some problem will require yet another visit by a contractor. When our new stove was delivered, we discovered that the external electrical outlet was in the way of the stove’s back leg so the stove could not be placed flush against the wall. Fortunately, the contractor was able to move the outlet over a couple inches, solving the problem. When the new dishwasher was delivered, we discovered that the plumber had not put in the appropriate water/waste line connections so the plumber had to come back for another visit.
7. Check to make sure there are no leaks after the sink and faucet has been installed. If there are leaks, take a video of them.
8. Be upfront with your designer. I was willing to spend money for some features, but I saved a lot of money by letting our designer know up front that I wanted to know where I could cut costs. Why spend all that money for the built-in silverware divider when a regular drawer and an organizer from Target will do just fine?
9. Be prepared for challenges caused by unlevel the floors, walls and ceilings. These unlevel surfaces will be more apparent as the perfectly level countertops and cabinets are placed. We have a window ledge above the sink that is crooked and seemed more crooked by the level backsplash and small square tiles around it. The contractor minimized the problem by cutting the bottom piece of window trim, about 3/4-inch thick on one end and 1.4 inches on the other side, so that the bottom of the piece aligned with the tiles.
10. Keep all your receipts together in one organizer. This helped me find receipts when returning extra bits for refunds after the project is over.