September 18, 2014 (this is also posted on my other blog site: http://rockitmomskitchen.worpdress.com
I’ve always been thankful and grateful for what I have in my life. Sure I may complain about this and that: family drama, health problems, and just whatever ‘life-has-thrown-at-me’, at the moment – but hey, who doesn’t? I can say that I truly feel fortunate and blessed for all that I have in my life….the good and the bad.
For those of you that have read my facebook posts and my blog, it’s no secret that one thorn in my side over the past 5 years has been the kitchen in my house. From the day we bought the house five years ago, we both knew the kitchen’s setup was completely WRONG! Poor, POOR design. We had just remodeled our previous home’s kitchen before selling it and buying this house, and I had hoped the day would come when maybe, just maybe , I could get rid of the “TV tray sized island” that sits smack dab in the center of the kitchen. And replace it with a new one -nothing extravagant- just a design where I didn’t feel like I was trying to cook or bake on a ‘tray’; having more than a few inches on all sides to be able to walk by; the ability to open the doors to the oven, refrigerator and dishwasher, without wanting to commit Hari Kari. You can barely work on the current island (a very loose term here) because the dimensions are miniscule at best: it sits 23 inches from the refrigerator door on one side and 28 – 30 inches from the range (and with the oven door open…..you have a whopping 12 inch space to continue the balancing act); and when the dishwasher door is open, you’re lucky to have 12″ to squeak on by. (How the builder got away with this is something I ask myself everyday, as the unlady-like expletives run amok in my brain, while trying to move freely without getting banged up.) As graceful and coordinated as I am- Uh, that would be a big NOT- I’m very lucky I haven’t sustained a serious injury while putting away dishes from the dishwasher.
This past January we decided to do something about it. I was psyched to the core anticipating a functional, modern kitchen, ridding the area of the so called ‘island’ and having a new one installed. A complete remodel of the kitchen is what we were going for. We would be getting rid of our kitchen table also…. we decided that once removing this tiny obstacle that currently has rule over the kitchen, we’d have a counter island/table put in it’s place.
We knew Lowe’s Home Improvement did a nice job on our last house, so we set out to work with them again. After one month of estimates going back and forth, and each time we’d get hit with another through-the-roof-figure, Dennis and I both looked at each other one day and said “Something’s wrong somehwere….. these prices are crazy. It’s just TOO much money!” I was crushed because my hopes had been dashed of having a work area roomy enough to actually ‘work on’, along with nice modern granite countertops once again and updated cabinets. My dream of having the tiny island removed, was now just a memory and the anticipation of having tile flooring, once again, was also a distant illusion. The ‘wood’ laminate flooring that was here when we bought this place never sat well with us.
“Some day”, we told each other, we would reconsider and try again, but NOT through Lowe’s. That would have killed us financially, had we signed that final contract. I yanked out their estimate(s) several days ago to look it over. Wow- is all I can say. I should tell you, their estimate for cabinets was $18,816. Just For The Cabinets! The demolition and labor install for cabinets ONLY was close to $10,000.; adding a coffee glaze to the cabinets was an additonal $2500.00; the granite was $8400. with the backsplash adding another $4972.00 The labor for the granite was something around $3500. Flooring, (tile and carpet) along with labor was $16,558.00. Absolute ridiculous pricing. (The grand total was almost as much as our first home we bought as newlyweds.) Lowe’s told us it would be 4-5 weeks to complete everything. This figure was over double of what the kitchen remodel they did for us in our last house was, six years ago. And our previous kitchen was much larger than what we have now. We questioned them on ALL aspects of this project, all the items, and they kept insisting their ‘prices are comparable to other remodeling businesses’ and ‘this is what materials and labor cost.’ (HA!)
When all my latest health related issues reared up over the summer to pretty severe levels, and we were listed our beloved home, selling to move to a single story home for me, I had forgotten all about my unreasonable dreams of having a kitchen that was functional. I was more focused on freely moving around a house with no stairs. But I admit, I was thrilled with the idea again, of having a modern kitchen…. along with the idea of not dragging myself up our stairs like Quasimodo any longer. When that entire mess fell apart- feasibly it would have been a bad move in the long run, and even though Dennis’ intentions were honorable- I felt more than let down. Reasons being- One: no single story for me and the dread of climbing the stairs made every nerve root ending in my spinal column SCREAM! Two: My dream kitchen went down the drain faster than the soapy water in my shower.
A couple of weeks ago, my neighbor and good friend Mary asked me if she could have a coupon from my newspaper for a favorite breakfast place. She said it had been in the paper earlier in the week, so I told her that I would check for it in the recycling bin and get it to her. I took out the papers, almost two weeks worth and flipped through them all. I searched page by page, section by section and never found her coupon. But (and this is a BIG but), front and center in the middle of one page, in a section that I never had seen before, was an advertisement for granite, cabinets and tile flooring. It looked unbelievable to me, a fraction of what Lowe’s was going to stick-it-to-us with. After taking our home off the market and realizing we will be staying put several weeks ago, I started compiling a list of ‘future’ home renovation project sites that we more than likely would be doing around here: carpets, tile, granite, cabinets, etc….. I figured that eventually it would happen for us. It will be done in phases, but it would happen. My hope being of course, that this would happen before I drew in my last breath on this earth and not being just another dream/promise of being shot down. I’ve been telling myself once again to “Be patient Lori” (a mantra I know only all too well).
Dennis called the company of the ad I found, on a Wednesday, and the owner came out the following day to measure and give us an estimate. The samples were beautiful that she brought along. The granite was gorgeous in a wide variety of colors to choose from, the cabinets and door styles and colors offered were amazing. I was holding my breath because I have become so accustomed of having things get pulled out from under me and I was afraid to hear the verdict. I did not want to hear another outrageous Cha-Ching moment! With all new cabinets, easy glide drawers, lazy susan corner cabinets, granite throughout and a very large island (60″ wide, compared to my 30″ I have now) with lots of cabinets underneath, deep undermount sink, demolition, install and new 18×18 inch floor tiles, and done in a few days, the quote was- drum roll please- $9400.00! As my daughter Nicole would say, “HOLY CRAPBALLS!” If not for the crippling pain from my Achilles tendonitis, and if my nerve root endings and crushed disks weren’t hanging by a thread, I would have been dancing on the table! On the table, I kid you not! I looked up reviews and checked the business out the best I could and everything looks very good. I didn’t see any red flags anywhere.
We applied for our loan as soon as the owner left our house, the loan was approved the following morning and we signed the loan documents a day after approval. We went in Saturday September 6 to sign the contract at the builder supply office, pick out our floor tile and actually SEE the cupboards, granite slab and the sink in person. The cupboards are exactly what Lowe’s was going to install, and the sink is a really deep 9″ stainless steel. They are out here now, September 18th to the 19th to do the work. They wanted to begin last week but I had to say no because of the procedure I was having. So today is the day! Once this phase – the kitchen- is complete, we’ll plan for phase two: tile extended from the kitchen on out to the front door. The kitchen work will take TWO days! WOW!
With undergoing my epidural spinal steroidal injection treatments yesterday, and knowing I couldn’t lift or carry anything for a couple of weeks afterwards, I spent the last few days unloading my cupboards, drawers and shoving everything in boxes around the house. I am getting excited now. I am allowing myself to get excited.
This has been so unexpected and such a surprise. I still can’t believe it – but I will……. once they start ripping out the ‘island’ of no return and all the other cabinets and countertops. And when they remove my arch nemesis—- the TV tray sized headache…. there will be no loss of tears there. Had I not been looking for Mary’s breakfast coupon (that I never did find), I never would have spotted this business. All good things do come to those who wait.