This is my kitchen:
There are things that I love about this kitchen, like the bank of windows that face East, the color we painted it (which doesn’t show up so well in these photos), and the equipment rack we installed over the stove.
There things that I don’t love about this kitchen, like the paint that is peeling on one cabinet because the previous owner painted with latex paint over oil-based paint. We painted the walls and some of the cabinets when the paint started coming off in sheets.
It is narrow and has a poor layout. The dishwasher is opposite the refrigerator, and the refrigerator door blocks one of the cabinet doors. The cabinet drawers are not on glides, so every time we get a pot out of the drawer next to the sink, we have to rinse the sawdust out. The previous owner replaced the countertops with dark green tile, probably floor tile, and black grout; it always looks dirty. The sink is a top-mount so water on the countertop goes everywhere except back into the sink, and the faucet barely reaches over the left-side bowl. She bought the wrong faucet. The flooring is peeling up in the toe-kick under the cabinets. Water spilled on it makes it look dirty. We have cleaned and patched walls, put up extra shelving, installed new lights over the sink, repaired and replaced plumbing done badly, installed an air gap so the dishwasher wouldn’t die; tried to make the stained sink, which is stainless steel, look clean… and more.
The cabinets are on order and due to arrive on May 4, the tile about the same time, and we didn’t have a contractor to install the cabinets yet because the wonderful installer from the South Pasadena shop doesn’t want to drive all the way out to Anaheim.
Doesn’t want to drive from South Pasadena to Anaheim? Like 27 miles is a problem to someone who works in Southern California?
Anyway, today we talked to a contractor and are awaiting his bid. He sounded like a sane and considerate man……… but he’s a contractor.
Not only a contractor, but a California contractor: a breed apart.
He says our schedule works well with his, and doesn’t want to tear out the old kitchen until the new cabinets are delivered, so that we won’t be out of the kitchen for too many weeks.
He sounds too good to be true.
After all, this will not be our first kitchen remodel, nor our first experience with a general contractor. There are old memories from when we were very young, old scars ……… from a tear-out that was done 7 weeks before the cabinets were ready, plasterers who didn’t show up for weeks and then only dropped off a patch kit for the hole in our ceiling so we could take care of it ourselves, non-existant tile men, and the general contractor who, on the rare days he did appear, would say, “see you tomorrow” as he left, and then not appear for another two weeks. Days went by without a call from him or his subs, and calls to him went unanswered. We must have worn out his answering machine. The excuses were many, but mostly he blamed the explosive growth in Orange County, said that the tile men and plasterers and carpenters and plumbers and electricians were all working on new housing and had no time to work on our house. Our job was small, and the money in OC must have been much better than in Riverside County, where we lived at the time, but still we waited, day after day, week after week, with a boarded-up back door and windows, no stove, no sink, and the refrigerator sitting in the tiny dining room.
Every job since that one, I have been the contractors and hired and managed all the subs. It was never coordinated as well as I thought it should be but there are always the unexpected issues when you open a wall to rewire or install plumbing, or pull up the seven layers of old linoleum to install new. I had a little address book of trusted plumbers and plasterers, and semi-retired tile guys who worked in Riverside. Mr Cote was a genius with a trowel; he could match any style of plaster you had and you’d never see the patch once you’d painted. The plumber could make antique fixtures continue to function, and function well. The tile guys were artists. Mr Pie did the simpler electrical work, which is all we usually needed, and by the third kitchen we remodeled we realized that all we needed was a minimal job; we refinished the well-built but homely old cabinets, changed the hardware, took out the cherry-red boomerang formica from 1957 and put in pretty tile counters: white field, burgundy V-cap, and a black feature strip that looked like long and short dashes; a new sink and new appliances …… and it was good.
I can’t do any of that this time because these cabinets are not salvageable, and Mr Pie won’t be in any shape to crawl around in the attic or tear out cabinets because he is slated to have surgery a couple of weeks before the cabinets arrive. More about the surgery later.
I did sub out the tile work for this kitchen (need to call that guy on Monday), and I will pull the permits for the remodel, but I can’t coordinate everyone else this time. We really need a contractor who won’t be that typical California contractor. This contractor is making promises to not be the typical contractor. He’s making promises to call when he’ll be late or can’t make it, to let us know if there’s a problem, to not leave us without a kitchen for any longer than necessary.
He must cost a fortune.