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You won’t believe what happened

Christine R
last year

As suggested, I contacted a kitchen designer/contractor team to renovate my 1965 kitchen. She drew up a plan which we liked. She brought over samples but did not indicate costs. I asked how much things would be and she said when she gets all the estimates together, we will sit down and discuss costs. A flooring person came with a few options and no prices. She also brought in electrician and plumber. Finally after 2 months, we got an appointment to discuss costs. She gave a total for each allowance but no itemization. I questioned the cost of counter since it seems quite higher than the kitchen I did a year ago with same material. She said she would check on that and left. After she left, I added up allowances it came to about $55,000. The total was 79,0000 plus. I asked for itemization of that difference in an email. She responded politely but basically quit the job because we had sticker shock. I could cry. My kitchen is small and the house is worth about $325.000 at this point. The kitchen is small so $80,000 seems a lot. That didn’t even include appliances. Don’t I have a right to question it? Where did I go wrong and what do I do now? I am so upset.

Comments (155)

  • beesneeds
    last year

    Indeed Debbi.... I'm curious about what the new cabinet options are going to be too.

  • loobab
    last year

    In case some of you newer Houzzers are not familiar with her, there used to be a Houzzer named Sophie Wheeler who was a retired very experienced Certified Kitchen Designer.

    Sophie Wheeler is marvelous, so sharp in every sense of the word, and to me, a laugh riot.

    On at least one thread she gave a wonderfully detailed script on how to interview/audition a CKD.

    And similarly, how we hoi polloi should behave.

    I wish I had saved it and put it in a safe place to reproduce it here.

    If someone else can find it, please do so.

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  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last year

    Juneknow - The good news is the electrician said he didn't have to make an changes to the electrical panel. It will support the kitchen. Great advice to check though. This kitchen was remodeled at some point in the past so I think that is why. I definitely agree that the average person should not attempt electrical. My husband is an engineer and has done a lot of electrical work. The costs for the electrician were based on moving a lot of the appliances and adding a lot of small LED ceiling lighting. We are not moving as many appliances with the new design. The electrical work with new design is minimal. We would never endanger anyone. Remember, we have remodeled kitchens ourselves before and we do get the work we do evaluated.
    I think I understand now what you are saying about the older products. Rest assured we are removing items that were probably done in I assume the 1980s. The people I live near keep up with homes. Some have stopped by to thank us for fixing up the outside which was all overgrown. Ours looked the worst on the street. The older gentlemen who lived here couldn't keep up with it. I like to think he would be happy that we are taking great care of it. Don't give up, you do have some valid points. I do think that regardless of income, there are people who take care of their homes and people who don't.
    You have got me to think about what is under my tile that I have removed and I am checking into restoring the terrazzo. Would love to hear your thoughts. I have called a few companies and am getting estimates. It will not be a DIY project as we have no experience with this. It has yellowed with time but I am being told that it can be restored to white with gray chips.
    I don't have the new plans with me but will post a pic when I do. I am getting the cabinets from a cabinet store that we used previously in our last kitchen. They have a location near our new home. I loved them then and decided not to reinvent the wheel.

  • Peke
    last year

    JuneKnow, I see both sides of the issues you mentioned. Many people are spending a ton of money on remodeling things that don't need remodeling. Maybe they just want to be trendy and have that all white kitchen or two colors of painted cabinets. Got to keep up with the Jones'. I never understand why people take perfectly good, stained oak cabinets, yank them out, and buy painted particle board cabinets. Sometimes, the cabinets may be falling apart, sometimes, not. I see what you are saying...updating is different than remodeling where you are gutting it. Sometimes, we should just update. Sometimes, we should just leave it alone. I know many people who always need to have the newest car, newest technology, newest fashions, etc. It's their life.


    By the way, JuneKnow, I know many public school teachers with Master's and PhDs, and in my state, with a Master's degree, add $1000.00 to the regular teacher yearly salary. With a PhD, add $2000.00. The people that are in it for the money quickly move to administration, while others stay in the classroom helping students. I CHOSE to stay in the classroom. The teaching profession has barely a middle class salary. Maybe the low salaried KD at a lumber store likes the slower pace where they are. Then, others may thrive in a job where there is high stress and a push to bring in more business. That push is not a bad thing, it is just different.


    By the way, I have seven years of college. I think that was real world enough. It was a struggle to pay off loans. Some friends chose popular, party colleges that were more expensive, then complained when they had to pay off loans. Sort of like updating and remodeling...do you really need it or just want it?


    Sophie Wheeler? I have read some of her posts. Some could have been called helpful and some sarcastic, and some were just mean. It is so difficult to get "tone" out of a post. She did have some good insight though.


    Cristine, that is wonderful to hear about your new designer and your floor tiles. I am with you...there are some things we just won't touch. Plumbing and electrical work is not something we would ever do. We had to send in samples of our old 1966 popcorn ceiling and paint to get it tested. We lucked out.


    Your neighbors sound wonderful and sound very happy to see the house get reborn! Post those pictures as you go. Some advice??? Take pictures of everything...like where electrical wires run, or pictures of the tear out process, pictures before things are installed, etc. We missed some pictures, and I wish I had taken more pictures.

  • Anna (6B/7A in MD)
    last year

    We renovated our kitchen (all sweat equity) in 30 days. New floor, cabinets, paint, appliances, lighting, counters. Good luck! It's crazy!

  • loobab
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Seven years of college?

    Seven years of full time school is not the real world, come on!

    And was that that 7 years full time to get a bachelors?

    How easy to trash someone who is no longer on Houzz and so not here to defend herself.

    Mean?

    Oh that's right, delicate snowflakes are so easily wounded by (imagined) slights,

    the too, too tough world of the web is just too much for their fragile egos, they simply cannot abide being typed at by a total stranger from thousands of miles away!

    Oh the horror of it all!


  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last year

    I have always liked white cabinets before they were trendy. I guess because I love the way white shows off other colors in the room. I wish we all would just choose what we like instead of choosing what we are supposed to like. I spoke with an expert on the terrazzo floors under the tile. I sent him some pictures and he advised me that he would not want to take the job because there would be a problem with "ghosting" where the grout was. He spent a lot of time educating me and truly loves his craft. Disappointing. The wood floor in the living room has been discontinued so we have to decide what to do.

  • ceilsan32
    last year

    loobab-and your educational background is? You sound jealous of Peke... and for your edification, there are a significant number of college educated individuals who chose professions that did not pay well, simply for altruistic reasons. Try to stay focused on the post...

  • Peke
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Loobab, please read it again. I did say she was insightful and helpful. I also said tone doesn't show in words. That means to me that maybe she was misunderstood in her meanings. A dry sense of humor, maybe? Who knows? I try not to be sarcastic on these posts, but you never know how people will take things. That is why I said to read it again. I never knew what happened to Sophie, but I always read her posts because she knew her stuff! I am sorry you "were so easily wounded" by my words that you thought were meant to "trash Sophie" so maybe that is why you said what YOU said. Regardless, best wishes. Sorry for disturbing your thread, Christine.

    Seven years of college for multiple master's degrees. Teachers need continuing education credits to keep licenses or to teach a subject that is not on their license. Sometimes the state just changes their requirements and teachers must comply. I love learning, but I certainly never got my money back in earnings. 😉. That is okay by me since I got to do what I love.

    Christine, does ghosting mean the grout lines from other tiles would show up after installing them? I wonder if the "ghosting" could be fixed. It may be too labor intensive. That is too bad about the tiles and the wood floor. Do you have a place in your town that takes used flooring? (I know some places sell those old claw foot tubs.) Habitat for Humanity takes stuff like that. Maybe someone removed the same wood floor out of their home and gave it to them. Wouldn't that be great...I know, I am probably dreaming. I don't have Habitat for Humanity or other places where I live.

    I grew up in the days of white painted cabinets...badly painted white cabinets, I should say. Today's white cabinets are so far above what we had in the 50s and 60s. I have been craving smoky blue cabinets for several years, but I never buy them. Boy, do I want them. Those white cabinets are so beautiful, but I know how messy I am when I cook! I always seem to have flour on my hand when I open a drawer. I am trying to do better.


    Thanks, Celisan32.

  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last year

    Go for it Peke! Lol. You are correct about the ghosting. He said that no amount of polishing would make it go away. I appreciated his honesty.

  • Peke
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I know, I should. Maybe in my next and LAST home.... I am getting too old to deal with the nuisance and clutter of remodeling. I have spent the last 13 months with tools, saws, tubs, mattresses, sinks, etc in my living room. I am beginning to think that is my version of interior decorating.

  • Peke
    last year

    Christine, check out these links about restoring Terrazzo floors.


    https://www.safedry.com/terrazzo-restoration/

    And

    https://www.safedry.com/can-terrazzo-that-has-been-covered-with-tile-be-restored/


    This next link said it only cost $700, but I don't know when or where. Those floors turned out beautiful.

    https://www.turningithome.com/2018/06/terrazzo-refinishing-before-and-after.html




  • loobab
    last year
    last modified: last year

    @Peke-

    Me wounded by you?

    As if.

    Clearly English was not your major.


  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last year

    Thanks Peke. One of them is a company I called. There were some bad reviews which scared me a little

  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last year

    The tile is gone. Soffits are in process of being removed. Here are some pics of the cabinet plan. I will have to put them in two posts.

  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last year

    Part 2 of cabinet plan

  • ottoandlillysmom
    last year

    It is not an $80K kitchen. She said it didn't include appliances so add another $15-20K!


  • Peke
    last year

    Christine, too bad about the reviews. You never know who to believe when reading a review. The pictures are looking like a good plan. Refresh my memory.... Did you have a different post where we talked about putting up a wall to enclose your pantry? I may be confusing you with someone else.

  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last year

    It is all same post. You have been very helpful and supportive Peke. We are saying a lot of money with this plan by not moving appliances except for microwave. I am trying to figure out lighting for over sink etc now. We have completely removed flooring, soffits and pantry. The one soffit contained a water line for the fridge. I will have a plumber in to move that. We really thought about enclosing the pantry area but it seemed like it visually closed things up.

  • Peke
    last year

    We put two can lights over our kitchen sink, but one might have been sufficient.


    I am trying to figure out lighting for my hall bathroom and master bathroom, and can't decide. I think lighting is one of the hardest things on which to decide. For me....

  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last year

    I agree

  • Silverlined
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I've been doing a lot of research on indirect lighting which is sometimes called reflex or wall wash lighting to reduce glare. Juno and also Belfer have some wonderful products in this category that are ideal for kitchen areas to add to layers of light you might want, and both those companies use quality materials and top-notch construction methods.

    @Christine R That layout looks somewhere between 20 and 30 cabinets including your dining area wall which I would consider a relatively large cabinetry order. I have an average sized 10' x 10' kitchen and will be putting in 9 cabinets total. My range of estimates for brands like Kennebec, Bentwood, Harmoni, Plato Woodworking, and Jay Rambo ran between $19,000 to $29,000 USD for various versions of my cabinetry layout, but so many different factors affect the quote range for each individual's project that the number of cabinets is far from the only factor.

    This has been an interesting thread to see different people's perspectives on expected cost for a kitchen renovation. Some current renovators might be young enough to not have remembered back to the 1980s when options were more curated in terms of products you might put in a mid-range kitchen in an average suburban USA locale. For instance, laminate countertops would have been a prime choice for many renovators even with a generous budget, large workstation sinks hardly existed, and appliances were more limited in color, size, and material choices. I'm not a historian, but my understanding from reading articles in preparation for my own renovation is that it wasn't until the 1990s that natural stone as a countertop material started to achieve more widespread quarrying and thus commodity pricing, though it still outranks laminate in cost in many cases depending on the type. Then it seems we started to see more stainless steel and panel-ready refrigerators in the 2000s and beyond. The cost for renovation would naturally creep higher the more of those premium features that are included, thus leading to an overall relative rise in renovation costs over the last few decades as those items have become more widely available.

    It is probably also true, as a previous poster mentioned, that perhaps more people these days are choosing to stay in their homes and fix them up rather than relocate to upgrade, leading to a disproportionate investment into remodeling relative to the home's value in some cases, and that is certainly true with my own renovation.

    One area that might have seen a broadening in range of costs from lower to higher over the years is stock and semi-custom cabinetry. In previous decades, framed cabinetry with solid wood fronts and clear finishes took the majority of the market share at least in the USA, but now frameless cabinetry with engineered coatings is a strong contender if not the leader in the North American marketplace. Depending on how either frameless or framed cabinetry is constructed and marketed, costs can be anywhere along the scale, but companies like IKEA and Belmont have capitalized on the potential to get a frameless cabinet made with economy materials and mass production techniques and thus reduce the overall cost of cabinetry as a percentage of the renovation budget, yet still offer high style. A renovator could also go large with the budget and look at brands like Christopher Peacock, St. Charles, or most any of the European brands that export to North America and spend multiples of $1,000 per linear foot for a specific look. The internet and expansion of international trade beginning in the 1990s when so much of North American manufacturing began to be outsourced has made some of the international brands of cabinetry more accessible to the average renovator, at least by my observation, thus expanding the range for a budget that renovators might choose. As with most things in life, I think you can hit whatever renovation budget you want to hit if you make purchasing decisions accordingly.

  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last month

    Update:

  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last month

    Update: More pics. We are very happy with it and with the savings we were able to resurface our pool. The only glitch we ran into was the original stainless hood could not be centered over oven. We decided to make our own hood so we could center it I actually like it better. I’m sure there will be some who don’t like it but It is home to us. We did decide to hire an electrician due to volume of work. Due to covid, we waited forever for some appliances and I still have to tackle the microwave and area behind gray cabinets. Will post that next.

  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last month

    Last pic. Trying to decide what I want to do here

  • dmac1108
    last month

    WOW! It took a long time - but it looks beautiful! I’m being lazy - and not re-reading the entire thread above (I read thru all of it 10 months ago) -so, the answers to my questions may have already been provided many months ago. I’d love to have some details - where did you get that beautiful backsplash? What is your countertop material? What color white paint did you use on your cabinets?


    I know this was a difficult project for you - I am so happy that it turned out so completely GORGEOUS! Gives me hope that all the difficulties I’ve been having re: my master bathroom reno will be worth it in the end. My kitchen is next - hope it turns out as well as yours has - enjoy it!


    One last thing - I like your hood - personally, I like it better than stainless hoods.

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
    last month

    Fabulous job! enjoy your new kitchen!

  • kfsgd
    last month

    All’s well that ends well. Great result!

  • Becky H
    last month

    Great kitchen! I like your hood!

  • cheri127
    last month

    What a saga! Just read this whole thread! @Christine R I love, love, love your kitchen...and that view from the breakfast bar window is stunning. You and your spouse did an amazing job. I'm so glad it all worked out for you!!! Enjoy and thank you for coming back and sharing your finished project.

  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last month

    Dmac1108 - The counters are quartz. The white is BM white dove. I got the tile in Ormond Beach at a local tile shop. I can look it up for you if you want. Just let me know and when I get home, I will do so. I have way too much left! We originally bought it for another house and then had to move so we brought it with us. Funny thing is the decorator tried to talk me out of it and it is my family’s favorite thing. Any chance you live in Florida? Haha. Thank you for your kind words everyone.

  • missenigma
    last month

    @Christine R What a delightful and pleasant kitchen. Thanks for providing the update.


  • dmac1108
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Christine - I LOVE your tile. I’m now wondering if I should use it in one of my upcoming bathroom renovations - I’d really appreciate if you would post the details later when you get home.


    I don’t live in Florida - how much extra do you have???!! Wondering if it would make sense to ship it if I decide to use it. Maybe we can make a deal!


    How does the area with the wine glasses relate to the rest of your kitchen? What color are the cabinets stained?

  • jaja06
    last month

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing! An inspiration :) Your last pic looks like a coffee/beverage center to me. But I’m obsessed with coffee, so…

  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last month

    I wish I liked coffee! My husband does though

  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last month

    Dmac1108 - Here is the label. I have 13-14 boxes.

  • dmac1108
    last month

    Let me see if i can find it locally to see a sample - or order one. 13-14 boxes x 5 sheets/box is quite a few leftovers! Is each sheet = 1 sq ft?


    Also, would you mind posting a couple more photos - just of the sheets in natural light maybe? I would really like to be able to help you recoup some $ if I like it as much in person as I do installed on your backsplash!


    I thought I was the only adult who doesn’t drink coffee! My favorite ice cream at Baskin Robbins is Jamoca Almond Fudge (my first job was at BR when I was 15) - but not a coffee drinker. Everyone said I would start drinking it when I was in law school - wrong. Then i was told I definitely would once I started working at a law firm after graduation - nope. I seriously don’t personally know a single adult who doesn’t drink it.


    I still have a coffee bar in my kitchen for my SO. To be completely honest, I don’t know what else to do with the space. You have a really nice/large area - do you like wine?

  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last month

    dmac1108 - LOL, When I finished nursing school, I was told I would drink coffee to to get through night shift. Never happened! I’m not much of a wine drinker either. I’m an iced tea person in the Florida heat.
    Yes, Each sheet is a foot. We had a much bigger area that we would have covered in the other house. I will take some pics in the morning in natural light.

  • Holly- Kay
    last month

    What a beautiful kitchen! Enjoy it!


    I love that you will be living close to your grandaughter. That is a great motivating factor for a move. My husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and we are moving a few blocks away from our daughter, son in law, and grandsons. It will be our last home also so I am redoing my kitchen as it has the original cabinets in it, and it’s dark and gloomy.

  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last month

    Holly-Kay - So sorry about your husband’s diagnosis. It sounds like you have a great plan. I love living near our daughter and her family. I hope you post pics of your renovation

  • weedyacres
    last month

    Do you mind sharing what you ended up spending, as a comparison against the original $80K the designer tossed out?

  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last month

    Dmac1108 -

  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last month

    Weedyacres - It came to about $55,000 but that included the appliances. Her 80,000 did not include those

  • Barrheadlass
    last month

    Beautiful kitchen! I got a kick out of the Stangl pottery over the stove ( I have close to two hundred pieces of Stangl).

  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn
    last month

    The kitchen looks wonderful!

    Thanks for not doing a white subway tile backsplash - this one is so much better!

    Enjoy

  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last month

    Barrheadlass - Wow! That is a lot. I love that no two pieces are the same. Each is a work of art

  • Barrheadlass
    last month

    They look very pretty over your stove! I just wish Stangl could go in the dishwasher.

  • Christine R
    Original Author
    last month

    I agree

  • Mrs Pete
    last month

    She drew up a plan which we liked. She brought over samples but did not indicate costs. I asked how much things would be and she said when she gets all the estimates together, we will sit down and discuss costs.

    So you asked about costs, and she downplayed your question.

    Finally after 2 months, we got an appointment to discuss costs.

    She should've provided you with an idea of costs in less than 2 months.

    Don’t I have a right to question it?

    Of course you do. Things are expensive, but she should not have put you off so long, and she should have been transparent in her pricing. She put a lot of effort into your project without knowing how much you could put into it -- not a good idea.



  • dmac1108
    last month

    Christine - I think that I found a place to order a sample! It looks pretty in your photos