Day Three: The expensive hole.

Day Three: The expensive hole.

Return to Day 2

Video: Drillin’.

Yesterday was supposed to be simple. I’d put a lot of thought and preparation into the planning for the kitchen, including nearly $1000 invested in drafting plans that were checked and cross-checked. But so far the experience has proven a well-known but little acknowledged truth about renovation: You can never consider or anticipate everything.

First it was the hole in the wall for a built-in china cabinet. Our designer Lori suggested we buy a couple of old storm windows to refit as cabinet doors. Sounded like a good idea. But just try to find something like that! Suzy and I spent an hour in a junkyard, sifting through old windows, and just gave up. So I went to Home Depot and asked Senterre, our perky and friendly kitchen design associate for a solution. A cabinet with two glass doors, a drawer, and two wood doors will cost $1800. YIKES!

So for now, the hole in the wall stays, unfilled — taunting me and my so-called preparedness.

The kitchen concept design, by Christopher Simmonds, architect.

The detailed plan, by Kevin Beckley Drafting.


Unanticipated hole.

No dinner parties for a while.

Where to start, where to start.

Arch goes up.

Meet Steven and Daniel.

Some tips from days 2-3:

  • There are many kinds of pot lights, none created equal. All very expensive. Get the contractor to explain to the light shop exactly the kind they need, or be prepared to make many trips back and forth.

  • Likewise, plugs and switches are now a diverse species on their own. You can’t fit a dial dimmer switch into sliding switch spot, and don’t forget to consider your final colour scheme when selecting plug faces. The ones you have may work fine, too, but “do you really want people to notice old plug faces in your new kitchen?” Imagine the horror.

  • Order stuff early. It’s difficult to understand why, in this world of overnight air travel and immediate communcations, it still takes 6-8 weeks for simple glass light shades to arrive from Montreal. There must be a slow boat from China involved in there somewhere.

  • When visiting a light store showroom, ignore all the fixtures in the front. You can’t afford them. My personal favourite fixture for over the dining room table was $3500.

  • Plan on the demolition/construction to touch every room in the house. We had just painted the hallway, outside the kitchen, thinking it would not be affected by the reno. But now there are big holes where the new sliding switch dimmers have to go.
  • Drop cloths. Drop cloths. Eager contractors often forget to take off their boots, and plaster dust is a bitch to get out of stairway carpet.

  • Try working somewhere else. That is, unless you relish the opportunity to learn how to identify different saws by their sounds. The mitre saw has a whiny, urgent tone. The table saw robust.

  • Assume that all dangling wires are live. They are the frost fences of the renovation world. As much as you’d like to, don’t touch!

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