Saturday, November 15, 2008

Kitchen Project is a "Go!!!"

"I'm getting a New Kitchen!!!!" Yippy Kai-Yo Kai-Yay!!!!

We had our appt w/Kitchen Tune-Up ( this morning. This time, I dragged Roger into it b/c I was pretty sure that this was the company I wanted to contract with. They gave me a preliminary (sight-unseen) bid of $4,200 for a "Bare Bones" Reface project. "Just put new veneers up, and replace all the doors with plain, maple shakers" - for 21 linear feet of cabinetry. No pull-outs, No Lazy-Susans, No new drawers. No Nuthin'!

I was even willing to supply my own cabinet knobs ($30/dozen @ Home Depot)!

(I'd also asked for the "Lowest possible cost alternative" via email - and he gave me a quick, and honest response! "You paint the cabinet-faces yourself, and we install white RTF doors: Here's the price: $2,800")

...And I did my "Background Check" on KTU. Checked BBB: 0 complaints in 36 months. Checked the State Licensing Board: Current and up-to-date. They carry a bond and Workers Comp Insurance (all are current). Also checked a third-party site ( where people can "rate" contractors - I found nothing but Rave Reviews. I honestly couldn't find a damn thing wrong with 'em!

And it turns out he's an "Independent" kinda guy. Owns the business (it's a franchise of a larger company) and has minimal ppl working for him. Doesn't advertise - but the customers keep coming to him! And he's been around for awhile (at least they've been a BBB member since '05). I'm feeling verrrrry comfortable about my decision to go with them.........

Especially since he wasn't into High-Pressure Sales B.S. Didn't subject us to a half-hour 'presentation' about "How we're better than everyone else!" Didn't try to up-sell ANYTHING (Actually, he let his Idea-Lab "speak for itself"). He responded to emails and questions quickly and HONESTLY and didn't inflate the prices on anything. Yeah, I'm sure he's got his mark-ups - but they seem quite reasonable (based on the final price)...

* * * * *
I was really hoping I could keep the total under $4K, but after my "Gathering Bids" exercise (I talked to at least half-a-dozen Kitchen-Refacers) - I figured $5K was a more reasonable cut-off (Remember, we're talking "California Dollars" here!). The bids ranged anywhere from $4200 to $7900 (for Bare-Bones). All were OVER $5K - for sure (except for Kitchen Tune-Up - but, again, that was sight-unseen).

And what was particularly annoying - after gathering all the bids - I realized I did not receive ONE SINGLE DETAILED QUOTE IN WRITING from ANY of the Idiots - excuse me, Salesdroids - excuse me, "Kitchen Design Consultants" I'd dealt with! They all SAID they'd send me something - but never did. Hmph!

Oh - Another interesting thing I learned today (which really shouldn't have been a surprise). While we were discussing the type of cabinets I wanted/color of stain/yada yada, I pulled out one of the catalogs I'd gotten from one of the other Sales Reps. "Sorry for pulling out a catalog from your competitor..." as I was looking for a specific picture. Well, come to find out, THEY ALL USE THE SAME SUPPLIERS. Yeah, I shouldn't have been surprised (at least I hid it well!)... But why the HUGE price difference then?!! ("Don't go there!")


Now I knew, once we got in there, that Rog was gonna want to start "Adding" stuff (We've been together for almost 8 yrs now - I know how he operates!). Thankfully, the guy (the owner, actually) at KTU was not big into "High Pressure Sales Tactics" - which I greatly appreciated! (Roger's actually a sucker for a smooth-talking salesman!).

There were a couple-three things *I* thought we needed, but I wasn't gonna say a word. Much better for it to be "Roger's Idea!" So yes, we're getting new drawers (the old ones are warped and you have to wrestle with them) - 3 of 'em (Cha-Ching! $330.00). And yes, they'll replace the "bottom" of the sink cabinet (past-water damage and warped/lumpy particle-board under there) (Cha-Ching! $135.00!) . And yes, they'll paint the cabinet interiors white (Cha-Ching! $345.00) - but those items really are necessary.

We do have a couple of lower cabinets - in the corner - that are pure-hell to deal with (You probably know what I'm talking about. You need to get down on your hands and knees with a flashlight to probe the depths....). They did have a really nifty pull-out chrome-basket thingy that pivots so you can actually ACCESS the crap stuck in the far back corner (Cha-ching $521.00 - I had a hard time with that one, but the Lazy Susan really wouldn't give us enough storage), and a narrow-cabinet conversion with shelves so you can just pull it out to store smaller things like plastic baggie boxes, aluminum foil, etc... (I think that was about $200.00).

Wellllllll... We'd managed to drive the bid up to $6,000 and Rog started to scowl. I wasn't too happy either and was willing to forgo the nifty pull-out baskets and pull-out shelf conversion. But then Isaac (the owner) suggested we switch to a less-expensive, but equally nice-looking wood for the re-face: European Beechwood. We looked at it. Agreed that it *was* quite nice (grain is similar to maple - definitely not as "pronounced" as oak) - so we made the switch. And that slashed almost $1,000.00 off the price.

End Result: We signed a contract for $5,136.00, today. Isaac is coming out Monday afternoon to finalize the measurements and order the materials... Rog put it on his Mileage Plus Visa (so he'll get miles toward his coveted Elite [board-the-plane-first] Status), and we pulled the money out of our HELOC to pay it off.

While I'm not wild about increasing our debt right now - *I* think it's worth it. As it stands right now, our kitchen is definitely a "Fixer-Upper" in the Real-Estate World - so a $5k investment *ought* to pay for itself - in terms of the home's value (in the long run, I do think it's a good investment, honestly! 35 yr old houses should NOT have their "original" kitchens!!!!). And considering how much time I spend in here (30+ hrs/wk - when I'm working from home) - just "feeling better" about being in here has GOT to be a good thing!

With any luck, since we really don't have THAT many cabinets, there's a good possibility that the job will be completed by Christmas! Yayyyyyy!!!!

And if it happens, hell, I might even be willing to "Host" Christmas for the Famn Damily @ our place (though it'll undoubtedly be a "Boston Market" sort of affair. I'm not "up" for cooking excessively for the HollyDaze!)

If not - No Biggie. We usually spend Christmas up at mom's (and eat out) anyway................

Nevertheless, I'm a Happy Camper!

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