Saturday, July 06, 2013

Remodeling Update.

So, I was pretty much set on my cabinets and flooring, but the countertop - the very popular Silestone in Bamboo just didn't feel right.  I wasn't feeling the love, and considering that this shit costs $50 a foot (installed) you really, really need to love it very much.

So today I went to Home Depot for the final decisions, suck it up and write a check, big dramatic moment of commitment.  I got there 40 minutes before my designer would be on duty, so I could wander and examine and contemplate.  And still, I felt restless and dissatisfied with my countertop selection.  (I do totally realize what a ridiculous First World Problem that is.) 

I also had had an earlier moment of clarity, when talking to the nice young installer who did the plan check earlier in the week.  I was being absolutely insane, thinking I could rip out both bathroom vanities, mirrors, lighting, AT THE SAME TIME.  I have to live here. I have to shower, dry hair, put on makeup and go to work while this is going on! I have to make coffee, dammit! So the hall bath is now in Phase Three of the condo update.  Phase One:  Kitchen, top to bottom - cabinets, counter, lighting, flooring, appliances. Plus the Useless 80s Wet Bar, ripped out and made into curio display above, storage cabinet below. And also, Master Bath Vanity, New Sink and Faucet, and Lighting.  Phase 2 is flooring throughout.  That's going to be a truly delightful experience that will follow closely on the heels of Phase One. 

I have a measure scheduled for this week for the flooring. I am still not sure whether I will be able to go with that cool wood-look porcelain tile; it will ultimately come down to price. I may have to fall back on nice fresh new carpet, with new tile in the kitchen, foyer, and master bath dressing area.

Installation costs are a bitch.  This is a 25 year old building, and this unit needs to be brought up to 21st century electrical code while this work is done. That means adding outlets, but it also means moving the electrical connection for that crazy-ass swagged smoked-glass-and-brass dining room fixture, and taking down the giant airplane propeller ceiling fan that looks absurd in the small eating area. 

Between electrical and plumbing changes and tear-out and installation, it's the price of the materials all over again.  So yeah, we might cut back on the massive tile job.

And as I already mentioned, I wasn't loving the countertop selection. So while my ever-so-patient kitchen designer reworked the order to back out the hall bathroom vanity and assorted parts and countertop, I contemplated my countertop options. And I saw something I somehow hadn't noticed before. Silestone had marked down a countertop selection that I had totally overlooked, and when I finally stopped overlooking it, I realized that it was the Silestone version of the Formica I wanted to use on the non-kitchen surfaces. Giallo Quarry.

I'd already decided that my favorite laminate by far was the Formica Giallo Granite. They are not identical, but they harmonize beautifully. The Silestone I loved was marked down from $67/ft. to $50/ft., thus putting it (barely) within my price range.

I also picked out faucets for kitchen and master bath, and a basic bone drop-in round sink for the master bath. My kitchen sink was a Home Depot special/semi-freebie; I paid extra for a single bowl sink (so tired of trying to wash large pans in a double sink) and the undermount installation I just had to have. Kitchen faucet. Bathroom. (For the record, I paid less than half of Moen's wildly inflated MSRP.) (Also for the record, the reviews on that kitchen faucet are troubling, and I think I'll be returning it and buying another before the Silestone template is a gleam in anyone's eye.)

So many decisions ahead - flooring, light fixtures, etc. - but the big ticket "six week lead time" order is in. I have an idea of my installation costs (about what I'd expected/dreaded) for the kitchen, bath, former wet bar, and related electrical and plumbing. Flooring is the next big sticker shock.

Otherwise, I know how much I'm spending, and it's about what I thought it would take. A lot of the installation cost is the necessary upgrade to code; 25 years is a long time. I was braced for it so I'm only slightly woozy.

The next several weeks will be preparation. I have a loose idea of a game plan: move into the guest room/hall bath while the rest of the place is torn up. Reality is, I have a hell of a lot of rearranging and sorting and probably disposing of still more stuff I've moved twice and never needed to move once ahead.

 Remodeling is the next best thing to relocating, taking-stock-of-your-shit-wise. Eventually, I will be pared down to only the things I love and actually use. I'm getting closer all the time.


Anonymous said...

I like the "Quarry" countertop---it is warmer and has more color in it, yet still looks like a natural material. I think it will allow you more options when coordinating flooring, etc. (I wonder if it would be fun, or a huge PIA to work as a kitchen designer in a store like Lowe's or Home Depot?)

Catherine said...

I think kitchen designers have to have enormous patience, as well as great tech skills. My designer whipped the shapes into place very quickly (I wasn't changing the footprint) but if you were dealing with someone doing a kitchen 3x this size, with all the options, and an indecisive client, or a couple who argues over everything - OMG.

zippiknits said...

The more people pay for a kitchen, sometimes the more they gripe and complain. $40,000+ kitchens must give contractors fits! Did you ever see "Sleepless in Seattle"? That woman was sort of batshit crazy.

So glad to hear that Murphy, and also Sophie, are doing well again. Thank you for the update. :-)