Ever since I wrote a column a few months ago about our in-progress home renovation, I’m often asked if the redo is finished.
Yes. I’m thrilled to report that we have a remodeled kitchen, a snazzy, screened-in porch, new flooring, smooth ceilings and freshly painted walls.
Oh yeah, we also replaced the tile in the bathrooms and purchased “comfort height” toilets. Pardon me, if this is too much personal information, but when I asked for recommendations on social media, I received tons of toilet suggestions. I even consulted my plumber.
In the first article I confessed that our fixer upper project was nothing like the ones on television’s Home & Garden Television channel. The project took longer than expected with plenty of unexpected problems. I discovered that some workers—who came with glowing recommendations—could be late or not show up at all. They may need you to drive them to Home Depot or the paint store, and they might have the gift of gab.
Other workers may not communicate at all, except in a foreign language among themselves—two different languages, that is. Some may take cigarette breaks in your front yard and leave their butts behind. During several heated moments, others insisted that my contractor should have explained things to me even though I told them that I was the contractor.
But those are a few of the negatives, which number far less than the positives.
After experiencing a redo, I thought it might be helpful for me to share a bit of advice and lessons learned, some of which are common sense, so that others considering a redo may benefit:
Do your homework. If you see something you like in a magazine or online, clip the article or take a picture so your workers will have a clear idea of what you want. Also, if you have an appliance repair person, ask him what brands he recommends.
When workers give you estimates, tell them to put the numbers down in writing. This may sound obvious, but I would go with it anyway.
If you’re redoing a kitchen and purchasing new appliances, tell the dealer exactly when your kitchen work cabinets and countertop) will be installed. When my appliances arrived, the countertops weren’t installed and I ended up having a refrigerator in my living room, a stove in my dining room and a dishwasher in my den.
Understand that if you have popcorn or textured ceilings, scraping them means that you must pack up everything in the house (knickknacks, books, clothing, etc.) and move the boxes to the garage and slide the furniture into the middle of the room. The workers should cover the furniture in plastic, but a layer of white dust, nonetheless, will cover everything. This process is akin to a move and it isn’t much fun. But, boy or boy, do our ceilings look good. This dust-protection process also applies to new floors. I made the mistake of trying to clean the dust every day. Trust me, cleaning is useless until everything is finished.
If you decide to add a screened-in porch, ask the person who is building it to install several electrical outlets on the walls and on the mantel, if you have one. Use easy-to-clean vinyl products and floors that can be scooted off with the hose. Think about Savannah during pollen season. Additionally, have a ceiling fan or two installed as well as weatherproof curtains.
Finally, back to the toilets. When I polled my social media friends about toilets several recommended a brand called Toto. It was a bit pricey but I like it, despite the extra cost. What makes a Toto so special? The flush, according to my plumber. You can even sit on one in the showroom at Sandpiper Supply.
Bottom line, if you’re considering a redo, take my suggestions to heart and hold your breath. It takes patience, a positive attitude and the knowledge that there is light at the end of that long, dark tunnel.
Contact Polly at 912-657-3877 or firstname.lastname@example.org.