Help with contractor screw up
greengirl
December 8, 2012 in Design Dilemma
To make a miserable tale short, here's a problem and possible solution.

We need to come up with a way to fill in a 2"-3" gap of quartz countertop next to a wall. We can put in a filler strip on the base and upper cabinet so the only problem is the counter.
Short of replacing the whole piece of quartz which may also result in messing up the base cabinets.

How does this sound?
We have not yet picked a backsplash.
I'm thinking that somehow we can use a backer board and the thickness of the backsplash, with maybe a chair rail tile top to disguise the gap.

No suggestion is a bad suggestion. Especially if it gets others thinking too.
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PRO
A Kitchen That Works LLC
Is it possible to replace the closest base cabinet (remove the countertop over that cabinet) with a taller unit then top it with another piece of identical counter? Alternatively, could you remove the closest base cabinet ad wall cabinet and replace them with a tall cabinet (again cutting back the counter over the original base cabinet). If you have photos it would be helpful.
December 8, 2012 at 9:07PM   
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greengirl
Thanks. Ok, I took the pix w/comments to each one. Hope I can do this right.

Well here's pix, comments to follow.
December 8, 2012 at 9:21PM   
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olldcan
I think it sounds awful!!! Curious as to why your accepting this and now trying to figure out a solution instead of the contractor fixing his mistake. What kind of contractor is this anyway !!!! ask them point blank if this would be something they would accept in there home. Filler strips, really, how about a tape measure and a contractor that can read one instead. I suggest the quartz comes out now so if the bases need to be replaced they can be done while you await your new top. Remember, everything you think you're hiding/ disguising will not fool an experienced homeowner/buyer should you decide to sell one day.
greengirl, I'm sure this project is not cheap or free. I'm sure you have envisioned a perfect kitchen. You deserve to have things done properly.... that should go without saying. Trust me, every mistake you accept now, will forever not sit right with you.
December 8, 2012 at 9:26PM     
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greengirl
Pic 1 comment
This is problem wall. It may be moved 2-3" into DR. Cabinets can have fillers. Problem is countertop.

Pic 2
This is pic from DR. This whole wall is to moved into DR to accommodate refrigerator. Se next pix

Pic 3
This is opposite wall. Fridge doesn't fit. They forgot the filler strip on the right hand upper cabinet. So everything, a 14 ft run of counters with sink and other cutouts, is off.

Pic4
This is pic from DR. This whole wall is to moved into DR to accommodate refrigerator.
December 8, 2012 at 9:27PM   
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greengirl
Olldcan,you're right. But we're trying to see if another solution is viable. It's eating me up inside. We haven't paid final money, thankfully. There are so many things done wrong. Everyone should read the "contractor tips" series on Houzz. All the threads and comments are really good.

The worker had no supervision. We didn't catch the mistake until they turned around the fridge to fit the space. They actually tried to blame my husband. And I also don't think his tape measure had lines or numbers on it.

I am getting bids now from other contractors to remedy this.
1 suggestion is to cut the wall in the DR on the refrigerator side to accommodate opening the door. But I don't want the open plan any more. What a headache {:-(
December 8, 2012 at 9:37PM   
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PRO
A Kitchen That Works LLC
Now that I have seen the photos, I agree with Olldcan. How much, if any, compensation have you held back from the contractor? This a real botch job and the contractor should make good on it but if you have paid them a substantial portion of the contract, you may have a very tough time getting the contractor to make good. I am so sorry you had to experience this.
December 8, 2012 at 9:47PM   
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olldcan
That's a relief that you haven't paid the final amount owing yet and DON"T until it's rectified.
Did you already have this fridge? Was it on site or at least the measurements of it available for the company manufacturing the cabinets, counter?
Is this a General Contractor, Kitchen Remodelling Co. What type of company are you dealing with?
I'd love to see what Steve Price from Beautiful Remodel would suggest. I haven't seen him commenting today but his advice is spot on!!!
December 8, 2012 at 9:54PM   
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olldcan
Can we see a picture of the entire run of cabinets on the fridge wall including the fridge
December 8, 2012 at 9:59PM   
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houssaon
So the mistake is that the refrigerator doesn't fit and everything has to be moved?
December 8, 2012 at 10:08PM   
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greengirl
Yes, and we went looking for new fridge. All are too tight. Doors will not open.

Here's the funny/sad part.
The fridge was on opposite wall. I didn't want to look at it from family room. Had tHat for 28 yrs and it irked me. This was only contractor to come up with good idea to move fridge to other side. And all it would have taken is the damn 2" spacer that is on drawing. The whole design is based on it. So here's the pic. On other side of window I want to put 2 floating white shelves.
Cabinet above stove is too tall to take OTR microwave. And yes, we had all appliances first. Which is why we picked dark base cabinets.
December 8, 2012 at 10:38PM   
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olldcan
A false box type of frame can be added to the underside of the cabinet so the OTR can be installed. Essentially it's like a box that drops the height down. The 2 white floating shelves will be real nice. I don't know that it was the best idea to move the fridge from it's old location, I know you hated looking at it but it probably fit much better and didn't interfere with the door to the dining room. One thing to note is a panel ready fridge as with any panel ready appliance fits seamlessly into a kitchen since a cabinetry panel is made to match your cabinets.
I see a couple of passage doors to the left of the stove, Is there a space there that the fridge could move to and turn the existing fridge space into a pantry.
December 8, 2012 at 10:57PM   
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greengirl
Fridge didn't work on other side either. It fit, but you couldn't open the right side door because of wall. Handles hit. Then you couldn't open the drawer inside. My husband was going nuts.
No, the passageway goes to living room/entry.

If I posted a pic of bathtub tile job, you would all cringe.
They left and didn't contact us for 2 weeks. There is recourse though so I'm going to get this done.
December 9, 2012 at 1:03AM   
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greengirl
Olldcan, we will also be replacing cabinet above stove to be shorter height for microwave.
December 9, 2012 at 1:04AM   
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PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
Couple of questions. Did the contractor do the kitchen layout and was the cabinetry purchased through the contractor or from someone else? Did someone else do the design and provide the cabinetry for the contractor to install?

I applaud you for trying to come up with options other than tearing it all out. It shows an effort to try to get a fair resolution. I don't see how anything else will work other than to start over on that wall. The issue I would have, however, is that the refrigerator is still going to be right beside a wall (even with a 2" filler strip) and is still not going to open properly to resolve the issues that your husband has. Most frig doors have to open far more than 90 degrees in order to open the drawers properly and remove them for cleaning.

I think your contractor owes you an effort to make this right as long as the plan clearly showed the cabinetry placement and that a filler strip was needed beside the refrigerator.
December 9, 2012 at 2:20PM   
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S. Thomas Kutch
Deborah is right on concerning the door opening clearance..... even with a 2" filler, I doubt it will allow the door to open enough to access drawer removal.

This appears to be a combination of errors.....or to be more honest, a designer, who at best is a novice and a contractor who put some inexperienced installers on the job site without proper supervision. The designer should have caught these issues in the design process.....specifically being the space required for the appliances to function properly (i.e refrigerator door being able to swing fully open) and the contractor should have installed the cabinets as drawn at the least. An experienced cabinet install would have or should have caught these issues and brought them to your attention.

You may be able to come up with a "fix it" solution, but I doubt you will ever be 100% satisfied with it and, as someone else has already pointed out, it will be evident to most future buyers as a mistake that was remedied with a less than perfect solution.

I suspect there is more to this story than is being put forth........including that the designer is most likely greengirl herself or her husband and that the owners supplied cabinets.
December 9, 2012 at 3:24PM   
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greengirl
Sadly, if I had done it my husband it would have been bang on. He is OCD and together we have cleared the land, designed a house and GC'd it. Guess we were spoiled by good people. Times have changed.

The owner designed it, supplied the cabinets, and did the constructionq. THey have an A+ from BBB, members of NKDA, etc. With the 2" filler, the door opens ~135 degrees and because the wall is not as long as the other, door handles don't hit. The drawer inside opens fine then.

Really, there's nothing not being said except for my cursing. Well, 1 more thing. Please don't shake your heads.

You know how excited you get when getting a shiny new penny? So, I kept calling the cabinets quarter sawn. I now know that this refers to oak. We wanted maple all along, never said anything else. Well, contract had oak. Husband signed. Because of his OCD, he also deleted all emails relating to order because in his mind anything previous was now superfluous.

I discovered problem next day. Mfr would not change order. So we ordered new base cabinets. Cost us extra $$, but I knew if I had to look at them for a long time it would really bother me. So you can imagine how I'm hurting now. But this is a kitchen I keep reminding myself.

Anyone need espresso quarter sawn oak cabs? I know where you can get a good deal.
December 9, 2012 at 4:49PM   
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greengirl
Also, they've been in business 17 years, licensed and workman has been with them 4 years.
December 9, 2012 at 7:33PM   
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Aggie Purvinska
How wide is this fridge, how high? Any chance of returning it? Instead look into a Left Handed Fisher Paykel

Model #: Fisher Paykel E522BLX2

31.13"w, 66.75"h, 28.88" deep...
December 9, 2012 at 7:45PM   
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Aggie Purvinska
Also if you widen the opening to the dining, and push the wall back, further behind the Fridge Hinge that would work, too, but it would show a lot of the fridge from Dining.
December 9, 2012 at 7:51PM   
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PRO
Art Palette
I do not know about remedying the kitchen design but about the back splash I can say that you should go on to this website www.artpalette.net before you make a final decision.
December 9, 2012 at 9:11PM   
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S. Thomas Kutch
Greengirl....all is not lost. Take a step back and breath deeply. Here's what I would do. 1. Fix a good steaming cup of coffee, sit down at the dining room table and start makes phone calls. It's time for a pow wow of all the players involved and come up with a solution.

The solution for the refrigerator side seems to be very simple. Take all the cabinets down, install the 2" beginning filler strip at the wall and reinstall the cabinets in the proper position. Essentially, you are just moving everything down 2".........this shouldn't be a big deal, if the installation contract has any skills whatsoever this is a day's job at most. Problem solved. If the installation contractor refuses to correct his mistake, terminate him, Keep any monies you are holding in retainage and put these towards a new contractor. Give him the opportunity to correct his error.

Secondly, if the same filler strip was supposed to be on the non-refrigerator cabinet bank to keep things balanced, do the same thing. This will leave you with a 2" gap on the counter top. Since it's quartz, I'm thinking a good craftsman should be able to splice a 2" filler infill to match with a fairly invisible epoxy seam. If this isn't possible, what about a counter top storage piece to match the base cabinets with a top piece to match the counter top quartz......... there are ways to cover the infill in a means that seems to fit in with the over all design........it just takes some thinking out of the box.

Thirdly, as to the OTR microwave space..........personally I like the idea of open shelves above the microwave solution, add some accent light to the space and you have a winner.

I would look at finding solutions with in the kitchen space long before I would consider moving a wall into the dining room............

Good luck.
December 10, 2012 at 5:31AM     
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greengirl
S. Thomas Kutch,
Thanx. Deep breathing has saved me many times. We are doing all that you said. Original contractor contacted us after 2 weeks. We showed designer all the mistakes and problems. Made a list. They are making a proposal and giving it to us tomorrow. In the meantime, we have met with others. 1 lowballed, 1 laughed and wouldn't touch it and so far, 1 highly recommended is also going to submit bids for remedy. The good thing is that I am a gardener, which makes me extremely patient. Not tolerant, just patient ;)
We are just trying to come up with real solutions that would work without having to tear out what is already there. We are worried that either cabinets will be damaged and/or quartz broken. We did not know they were walking out on us when they did. At that time we were trying to figure out a win/win. Still. This week 2 more contractors are coming. We also have a 'virgin' master bath to get done. I breathe deeply and eat ice cream. Also coffee and tea.

Artpallete, Thanx too. That fridge and most others we looked at is too small. Also we want/need the water and ice feature on the outside of fridge. It's about 2 years old.

Thank goodness we held a large sum for the end of the job. I learned a lot from this.
December 10, 2012 at 9:49PM   
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minemine
Have you looked at the counter-depth fridges? Perhaps it would not jut out into the doorway as much. Also French doors that open in the center.
December 10, 2012 at 10:16PM   
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greengirl
Thanks, but It's not the depth, it's the width. And yes, we did.
December 11, 2012 at 2:19PM   
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Aggie Purvinska
Have you looked into widening the opening to the other room? If you push it back so that the hinge can open over 90 degrees? That would be so much cheaper to remove a few 2x4.
December 11, 2012 at 2:23PM   
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greengirl
Yes, see above. Problem is counter on opposite wall.

But, lololol. Someone tells us our streak of luck will end with a great happy new year. Hired a great electrician to hang the 2 new, repeat, brand new ceiling fans with light. Not cheap, brand name, not from big box store. Well, as Paul Harvey would say, you know the rest of the story. The one I really wanted, for the bedroom is busted. Ok, mfr is making good, but we'll have to pay electrician for another call. OMG. This is a country song in the making for sure. I think I'm gonna call it - If I Ever Stop Laughing I'm Gonna Cry.
December 11, 2012 at 7:20PM   
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Aggie Purvinska
I don't think you understand what I am saying. I am sorry for your troubles.
December 12, 2012 at 5:33AM   
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PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
It's a shame that you have had to go through this. It is amazing that you have any sense of humor left at all. Hopefully it will all be corrected and the pain will dim with time. It is a learning experience. All contractors are not like this - trust me, there are some out there that want to have a customer for life so they work extra hard to do all the right things. Hopefully that's who you'll find next. Good luck and post updates.
December 12, 2012 at 7:38AM   
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greengirl
Aggiedesgns, the wall next to the refrigerator is the doorway wall to the DR. so it continues up and around to the opposite side of the galley kitchen . so I'm not sure if thats what you are saying or if it's not shown in the pix.
December 12, 2012 at 9:44AM   
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Aggie Purvinska
I understand, I am proposing to widen the opening (door way to dining) , not move the wall. I understand that the Fridge Fits in it's spot, when the fridge door is shut, correct? You can't open the door on the left, when it's pushed in. SO I am proposing to widen the opening to the Dining. The labor there is framing, sheetrock and paint which may be less cumbersome and requires less skill and time than stone work, cutting down cabinets and moving cabinets.
December 12, 2012 at 10:17AM   
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greengirl
Oh yes, I get it now. That too was recommended. But I really don't want to look at fridge. Did that for 28 years and it irked me almost every day.

But the saga continues. The upper cabinets are only 16" from the counter.

And for everyone wanting to know how contractor is responding - not well. There is now a hole in the wall where I keep banging my head. VERY frustrating at this point.
December 12, 2012 at 11:13PM   
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greengirl
A contractor said the best description of what we're going through. He said it's just a remodel of a newer kitchen now.
December 12, 2012 at 11:15PM   
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