Christine and Pierre's Kitchen: Hitting the Wall

Christine and Pierre's Kitchen: Hitting the Wall

Sep 25, 2013

Name: Christine & Pierre
Type of Project: Kitchen remodel
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Type of building: Ground floor apartment of a triplex, 1,100 square feet

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Ugh. This was a frustrating week. We definitely "hit the wall".
The week started with me trying to deal with issue number one - trying to get countertops ordered and installed in a relatively timely manner. Thanks to the construction holidays I mentioned in my last entry, every single counter supplier in the city was preparing to close for two weeks. I started out the week madly contacting every single supplier I could find, to see if there was any chance of a faster turnaround time from any of them.

I'll skip all the boring (and frustrating) details and give you the summary. We couldn't find a single local supplier that could install the counters without a *minimum* four to five week turnaround time. This would have effectively put the entire renovation on hold, as we couldn't install the backsplash, range hood, or sink before the countertops. Oh, and it would have meant getting countertops installed right around my due date. So, I started contacting companies in Ottawa (a two-hour drive from Montreal).

Unlike Montreal, which seems to have a few major counter suppliers that control the market, Ottawa has a few smaller companies that were priced more competitively. We got a very reasonable quote from an Ottawa company, even including the extra delivery cost to Montreal, and they could have the entire thing measured and installed within two weeks. Yes!!

However, going with a smaller company had design implications. A larger supplier is able to charge for Caesarstone by the square foot, but a smaller company needs to factor in the cost of the slabs, which they must buy from the manufacturer. The extra depth behind the sink meant that we would either need to have a seam somewhere, or pay for the cost of an extra slab (which would have meant a huge price jump for a small supplier).

Last minute design changes - adding a ledge behind the sink.

The guys from the countertop company broke all this down for us and let us know that if we could reduce the depth behind the sink to 29", the price would be much better, as they could fit everything onto one slab without seams. So we decided to make a small raised ledge behind the sink, and use a different material for the surface of the ledge. Pierre spent the weekend quickly building a structure for this little ledge in preparation for the counter guys to take measurements the following week - no easy feat in a house with walls as curved as ours! I'm actually pretty happy with this little change, and I think it will be a nice design feature and spot to put plants and such.

A million tiny details - putting sheet metal behind the radiators to improve efficiency.

A few tiny other details inched forward this week. We got the radiators back from the sandblasters, so they're ready to be installed. We installed doors on the pantry, and discovered one was defective - back to IKEA we go.

I didn't even know it was possible, but we got a defective door from IKEA with the hinge holes drilled on the wrong side.

But truth be told, we're in a frustrating bit of the renovation where everything has to happen in a particular order, and so things aren't happening that quickly. So we spent the week doing a few other important things that were better for our sanity than for actually advancing the kitchen. We cleaned the house and put the adjoining dining room back in order. Oh, and we also assembled a crib for this OTHER little project we're working on.

We're trying to be patient and not frustrated at the slow progress, and so spending time getting the house in order helps a lot. Dealing with a renovation has as much to do with managing stress and making sure you don't kill your renovation partner as actual work!

Estimated time for project: 18 weeks
Time remaining: 4 weeks

Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us next week for #18 of Christine and Pierre's Diary.

(Images and diary text: Christine Zoltok)

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