Saturday, September 17, 2011

Renovation Ramblings - Chapter IV: Maybe a little ranting...

Okay, Thursday and Friday ended up being a bit of a scramble. Yes, we finalized tile, grout and fixture selections, but there's still a buttload of stuff to get done!

I'd stopped at OSH in Redwood City, on my way home from my Dermatology Appt. - only to learn that OSH doesn't carry shower doors anymore!!! (Aaack! Then why do you have a display up that says "This item is IN STOCK"?!!!). Turns out it *can* be Special-Ordered, but I didn't have time for that - I had to get home for a conference call - so I figured I'd check with the OSH's down my way.

Well, we're down to one OSH (the Big One closed - GASP!), and they don't carry shower doors, either. So I figured I'd surf the 'net. No luck there, either (and Contractor's Wardrobe is a wholesaler - won't take orders from regular peeps!). Turns out that Home Depot *does* carry CW. Not that specific model/configuration, but I figured I could ask about Special Orders...

I have something of a love-hate relationship with Home Depot. Most of the time I lean more towards "hate" to be honest. And yesterday was one of those days. I looked at what they did have in-stock, and nothing thrilled me. So I hiked back up to the front of the store to hit-up the Customer Service Desk. There were 4 orange-aproned associates milling about, behind the counter, and one customer ahead of me (being helped by a 5th orange apron). It was definitely a case of "Invisible Customer Syndrome." In fact, when the one gal was done with the one customer, she got up and walked away!!! So now I have to do the laser-beam look and try to burn holes in one of the HD Associates with my evil glare. I finally get someone to (grudgingly) acknowledge my existence and she ends up sending me back to Kitchen and Baths - "They do Special Orders over there." (That's odd, it says in Great Big Letters on the Ginormous sign behind you that "Customer Service" handles Special Orders - but What-EVAH).

So, I hoofed-it back to Kitchens and Baths (in the back, opposite corner of the store). Nobody there! I wander around, trying to find *anyone* who can, maybe, CALL someone to come and help me (???). Nada. Every time I spotted someone in an orange apron, and started walking toward them, they would dart into the closest aisle and make a break for it.

Again, I didn't have a lot of time for dilly-dallying because, again, I had to get home for another conference call...

As I headed toward the exit, I encountered a Sales-Register Associate who saw my look of consternation and actually asked if she could help me with anything. I explained that I was wanting to find out about Special Ordering a shower-door. She directed me to "Customer Service." I told her I'd already been there, and they referred me to K&B, but nobody was working the K&B Dept. Well, bless her heart, she actually picked up her phone/walkie/talkie/communication device and tracked down someone to help me. (Yay!)

Hoof-it back to K&B. Met up with JJ, or whatever her name was. I told her exactly what I wanted, and she pulled out a catalog for Contractor's Wardrobe. She'd never heard of the "Radiance" glass style (and it wasn't listed in her catalog). "Well, it's on their website - and it's an option for both the model 2000 and 2400 shower doors." Amazingly, she picked up the phone and CALLED CW directly. (See? If you can *corner* them, they *will* eventually help you!!!)

Anyway... Long Story Short: Contractor's Wardrobe doesn't do the "Radiance" glass anymore.


So, the shower-door pictured in my last post is a No-Go. I am trés bummed!

So then I called Joe, the remodeler, and asked about what was included with my original bid. Clear glass "standard" door (allowance $240.00). Asked about the Euro-Style. It's more than double the price, dammit!

I'm not thrilled with the "standard door" so I ended up going to Lowes and buying a frameless, clear-glass, Euro-Style door with towel bars on the outside *and* inside (I really like having the bar on the inside, as well). It was $250.00, but I expect that he'll subtract *something* from his Contract since he's no longer supplying the door (but he'll "up-charge" something for labor, I'm sure).

Side Note: Kudos to Lowes. Once I'd located the shower-door I wanted, I started searching for a cart. As I was wandering back to the front of the store, a Lowes-Dude magically appeared with a flatbed cart and ASKED IF HE COULD HELP ME!!! Once he picked me up off the floor (heh!) I told him "Yes! And how fortuitous that you have a flatbed cart! I want to buy a shower door."

Well, damned if he didn't drag the cart right over, load-up the door on the cart, ENTER IT INTO THE COMPUTER so they could easily ring it up at the register, AND he accompanied me to the check-out counter AND loaded it into my truck! Un-freaking-believable!!! I was in-and-out in no time!!!

HOME DEPOT: ARE YOU LISTENING???? (To be fair, this *does* happen at Home Depot every once in awhile - usually around 4:00pm on a weekday afternoon. But it really is the Exception rather than the Rule)

I've already gone over-budget on fixtures. I'm under budget on tiles (because I bought the tub-tiles myself). They, apparently, didn't give me an allowance for towel bars, toilet paper holders, etc (but they did allocate 2-1/2 hours labor for installation - are you f**king kidding me?!). Guess what? I'm installing the towel bars and toilet paper holders ($50 TOTAL) myself. I'll expect *that* labor cost to be taken-off the final bill.

Right now, I feel like I'm getting nickel and dimed to death, unfortunately. Here is where the "rant" comes in. See, when I got the original bid, I figured we'd stick with a tile countertop. Bigger, "fresher" tiles - but something that would complement the tub. Well, Joe doesn't like all the "labor" that goes with laying tiles, so he assured me that he could get me a solid-surface countertop for the same price. Okay, shift gears.

Searched high-and-low, and found a suitable countertop. Well, it turns out he could have gotten me a "better deal" if he could have found a "remnant." But I don't see how he could expect to find a "remnant" that would work since our countertop is HUGE and oddly shaped.

Anyway, Long Story Short (again!), "because of the color you selected (it's a standard Silestone Color I found at Home Depot!), and the odd shape of your countertop..." The price is now double what was originally estimated. (Well then why did you say that solid-surface would be the same price???)

If I weren't completely out of time, I'd probably say "Screw You" and go back to tile (let him eat the "labor cost!"). But now I've pretty-much fallen in love with the quartz and, quite frankly, I'd rather eat ground glass than set foot in another Tile Store at this point!

Anyway: The Long and the Short of it is: I am trying to keep the costs as close to $10K, as humanly possible. DH is paying for "half" of the original bid ($9800.00) and not a penny more.

Anything above that is "On Me" (hence my purchase of tiles, shower door, towel bars, etc.). And this doesn't even take into account the possibility that we may find something unsavory behind the shower - once the tile and walls are all ripped out. If that happens, all bets are off! (and there might be some "new" negotiations with the spousal unit if that occurs - but we'll burn that bridge when we get there, right?!)

Anyhooooo... As it stands right now, I think we're at $10,100.00 (according to my re-calculations - which I have provided to Joe, the remodeler-dude). I'm waiting for final confirmation on Monday *before* I sign the final contract and authorize work to begin.

I am under a fair amount of pressure, however. DH is overseas right now, for a week, at some Electro-Geek Trade Show in Switzerland. I want the "worst" of the work to be completed while he is gone (he doesn't deal well with "disruptions!"). I really don't want to postpone the job. But, at the same time, I don't want my time-constraints to force me into making bad financial decisions. I.e. if the revised estimate is >$500 over the original estimate - I may have to put the brakes on this project!

Now, don't get me wrong, I can totally "own" the fact that I made a few "more expensive" decisions. I'm okay with paying the add'l $ for those items that came in over-budget. But I do expect to see some "credit where credit is due" (literally!) where I have made choices that result in less labor...

Right now, I'm feeling a little annoyed with the contractor I've selected. But let's see what the revised estimate looks like, on Monday, and I may revise my position!

In the meantime, I have to decide on a paint scheme (AAAAACCCCCKKKKK!!!!)

Next up: Color Conundrum!

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