Our old kitchen was a very small square where we could have 2 people max and had no room to cook at all. Besides the fact that there was no prep space to just chop stuff up, we have a big stainless steel fridge and when that was open, no one could even get in and out of the room. The kitchen was original stucco board -- our house is 1983 -- so the wood was kind of falling apart and the drawers weren’t sliding. It looked okay, but it wasn't really. We needed a new kitchen ... badly.
At the time I was injured. I couldn't walk very well; I was on crutches. I tore my calf muscles and I was off work. That was kind of a blessing in disguise, though, because I was home to pick out stuff, research what I wanted, look online, and get ideas.
To find a contractor, I went to this remodeling website. A million contractors started contacting me to set up quotes and I talked to a few of them. I did 3 quotes and I think it was the 3rd or the 4th -- I just really liked him. He was very honest. He didn't try to upsell us, he was just listening to what we wanted, giving us ideas, keeping us grounded into not going crazily over what our budget would be. Within 2 days after I talked to him, he came with his crew to do the demo.
We decided on a full remodel. One wall was actually torn down to expand the kitchen. Even the ceiling was raised. They knocked down all the soffits and took the popcorn off and now we have a pretty high ceiling.
Our contractor had samples for us of the wood. My husband and I went to go pick out the cabinets and then the granite and all that. We were pretty on top of it too, in getting all the stuff that we wanted, like the stove hood. That was pretty much on us; he was just there to guide us.
I didn't get the contractor's vision about having such a big island. We were like, "Really? That big?" but once we actually saw it, we were like, "Oh, okay, now I see." We just live at this island. We have a big family that comes over and we don't need a table anymore because the kitchen is so open now. We have so much countertop space. It came out really nice. It's beautiful.
And he was right on the money with our budget -- he did not go over, he stayed well within our budget, which was perfect. His crew was here on time every day. They got it done very quickly. He said it was going to be 5-6 weeks and it was 5-6 weeks. So they got it done right on time. His crew was great. I would even leave the crew here when I wasn't home.
We're still waiting to do our backsplash. We haven't decided what ceramic backsplash we want to do yet. That's our last thing that we'll have them come do.
One surprise -- there was a little bit of mold behind the sink, which they had warned me there could be. But they took care of it. They had to re-drywall and everything.
The inspectors came a couple of times but our contractor was very knowledgeable about all that. No changes needed to be made so the inspections went smoothly. The inspectors came in, looked, and signed it off. We didn't have to worry about that.
The only thing that kind of annoyed me was the trash in our yard. I wish they had had a bin or something to put all the junk that they would use on a daily basis. We have a side entrance with a locked gate. When we walk on that side, it's just junk everywhere. So that part was my only little negative. At least it wasn't in the house; they covered everything with plastic appropriately and cleaned up their mess inside the house very time they were here.
After the crew finished, we had trouble with one of the new cabinets (the screw was loose) so we called them and they came right over and fixed it. I can trust that when I call them they will come and fix it. Not just like the job is done and move on. I have confidence in the company. I would use them again.
The crew and how they are treated is a big thing. It says a lot if they're happy and being treated well because that shows in their work. They take pride in their work.
If you are planning a kitchen remodel, go look at what you want first. Make sure you agree on the main things -- the floor plan and so on. Sometimes husbands and wives disagree on colors or whatever; "I want this and I want that." It's important to know what you want before you even have a contractor come in.