Friday 30 Sep 2016

Kitchen Makeover
Matt Seinberg

After our last mouse-capade, my wife says to me, “I want to remodel the kitchen.” I agree since I’m also sick and tired of our outdated and an unworkable kitchen. The first number she throws out to me for a budget I know is low, and tell her so, and I ask her how she intends on paying for this remodel.

I already knew the answer, but wanted to hear her tell it to me. Please remember that my wife is cheap, and for her to part with this amount of money without me prying it out of her hands is quite the feat. She would take 75% of the money from one of her savings accounts and the other 25% percent would come from a mutual fund that is doing okay, and we have never touched.

Then the fun began. That is, getting estimates from different companies. Were we in for a rude awakening?

We think our budget is doable. Three companies come in at over $30,000 and we think they’re crazy. I’m sure they think we’re crazy for not wanting to spend more.

One contractor gives us a price for just labour, which would certainly work within our budget, but only if we buy all the major components ourselves. That includes cabinets, floor and backsplash tiles, countertop, sink, faucet and paint. Have you ever had to shop for all that stuff?

My ideal scenario would have us buy all the materials at one store, have them deliver it all and have the contractor start the demolition and installation. Guess what, I ask you. It hasn’t been that easy so far!

One thing I have to do before our next trip out is to actually measure and do a floor plan for the kitchen. You’d think since I’ve been a retail designer for so many years I would have done this already. Nope, we spit ball it wherever we go.

Marcy and I went to one design center and met a very nice woman who showed us everything, and they had a huge selection. I’m sure we could pick everything from there and be very happy. The only thing we are definite on so far is the countertop, which is quartz composite; durable, strong and beautiful, along with that price that makes you go, huh?

We leave with our heads spinning. I’m acting like the customers that come into my store with no clue as to what they want, and without measurements. That truly annoys me, and now I’m doing it. Is that irony or stupidity?

I had also called a couple of contractors that I had as customers. One was about 18 months ago, and the other maybe 6 months ago. Both were nice fellows that I hoped would give me a good price on labour.

Both fellows come over when Marcy is at work. I know they would have to come back to meet and talk to her. The first one is Guy and he gives me a ballpark figure to play with; it’s doable. He’s $2,000 less than is another contractor for the labour, but that doesn’t include materials.

Dennis comes over a couple of days later, takes measurements and I don’t hear from him again. I left three messages. He doesn’t call me back. Maybe Superstorm Sandy delayed him.

Guy made it a point to keep in touch with me. I had him come over and meet Marcy. He gives us some good ideas and Marcy likes him. He invites her to go to his house to see his work or call him to get names and numbers of people whose homes he has worked on.

He calls me a couple of days later; his labour price dropped $1000 and he tells me how much the materials will be. Even then, he’s still $1500 less than is the first contractor; he will also do the painting. That makes me happy, since I won’t have to do it. I’m good at it, but don’t like doing it.

This past week, we went to a tile store five minutes from the house and, believe it or not, we didn’t find anything we liked. The countertop we chose is black and blue, so we want a floor tile with blue in it, along with a nice backsplash. From there we went to a small family owned design centre. We found cabinets we liked, along with the countertop we previously saw. Still, we didn’t like any of the tiles we saw.

I asked Larry, one of the owners, of this store, if there would be a package price if we did everything with him. He said yes. That makes me wonder if the first place would also do a package.

Next week, we’re going to two more places to look at cabinets. I hope we find something we like. I don’t know if they also carry tiles, but I hope so. I can’t stand shopping for long periods, unless it’s for electronics.

To think it all started with a mouse.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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