James Breaks Down His Kitchen Reno & Tells Us What He Learned

James Breaks Down His Kitchen Reno & Tells Us What He Learned

Renovation Diary
Jan 13, 2017
(Image credit: Submitted by James)

Name: James
Type of Project: Kitchen Remodel
Location: Prospect Heights — Brooklyn, New York
Type of building: One Bedroom Co-op

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It was a long, take out fueled journey, but James now has the kitchen of his dreams. Looking back on the project, he has a lot of kitchen reno survivor wisdom to impart, so let's get to it!

(Image credit: Submitted by James)

Now that the project is over and you're looking back on it, what are the most important lessons you learned through the remodeling process?

Do your homework before starting any work, especially if you're not working with a designer. I interviewed six contractors in person and designed the kitchen myself, so it was important that we clicked. Present the same information to each and ask for a breakdown of expenses. Most of the guys I interviewed provided estimates within a few thousands dollars of one another, which made me feel comfortable in choosing a contractor based on other criteria.

Renovation is a personal experience, and you should look for a professional not only with the experience, but someone who understands your vision for your space. I found that in Claud Fatu. He's patient, thorough, and a bit of a perfectionist (trust me, you want this quality in a contractor). He made sure that I got what I wanted while offering fantastic advice from start to finish.

Be wary of living in your apartment during a renovation. It can be a health hazard, so get out of you can. I vacated less than a week into the project, checking in every few days, but often relying on photo updates from the contractor.

→ Want More? Read James' complete Renovation Diary series right now.

(Image credit: Submitted by James)

If you were to do this again, what would you choose to do differently?

I should have checked the appliances — and all materials, for that matter — upon delivery. I didn't realize they were damaged until weeks after they had arrived and the retailer could have made it very difficult to get them replaced. I got lucky and they even offered a discount. Which reminds me: ask for discounts, especially when buying multiple items from the same retailer. The worst you'll hear is "no." What have you got to lose?

(Image credit: Submitted by James)

Did your schedule go as planned? What took more time than you thought it would? What took less time?

It won't be as extensive, but I'm ready to tackle the bathroom as the next project. It was recently updated, but I'd like to remove the tub and create a large shower area. Going to let my finances recover a bit first!

→ Keep on Reading: James' complete Renovation Diary series

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