Name: Aaron and Emily Choi
Type of Project: Full remodel, including the kitchen and two bathrooms
Location: La Jolla, California
Type of building: Condo; 1300 square feet
The Renovation Diaries are a collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.
The main thing this week is the floor. Originally, we had laminate flooring in the contract — it's inexpensive, durable, easy, done. But then once we started to shop, our eyes wandered and we realized we really didn't like laminate all that much. We were presented with a lot of higher end laminates as well but as hard as we tried to like it, we just didn't.
Once we realized we really wanted a solid wood floor (and the look of the bullnose stair pieces) we knew we were in trouble... it will just cost us more in both material and labor. Most laminate floors have tongue and groove connections, which means contractors can snap them together as they install. Whereas solid wood flooring means that they'd have to nail each piece down individually. Luckily, we were able to find this dark solid wood flooring on sale for $3 a square foot, which was comparable to some of the laminates we were looking at.
As for labor, our contractor graciously let us out of our contract with him so that we could hire our own subcontractor through the place we bought the floors. It's not an ideal situation for the GC and most probably wouldn't put up with it, but by getting our own subcontractor through the flooring place, we were able to get the solid wood floor we wanted for the same price as a laminate floor installed by our general contractor.
It gets more complicated, because we now have our general contractor's crew working on the walls, our own subcontractor working on the flooring and the stairs, and our gc's subcontractor for the handrail. That's a lot of cooks in the (stairwell next to the) kitchen — and I, who am doing none of the actual work, was in the middle of it!
There were a lot of discussions as to the sequence of construction: framing, drywall, flooring, handrail post, flooring again, then handrail pickets. Finally, I was able to round up everyone for a morning meeting and come up with a plan that everyone can agree on. Whew. It takes a village to build a staircase!
Estimated time for project: 8 weeks
Time remaining: 2 weeks
Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us next week for installment #10 of Emily and Aaron's condo renovation.
(Images and diary text: Emily and Aaron Choi)