Kitchens & Bathrooms
The kitchen and bathroom are the most expensive rooms to complete. Any mistakes here can be disheartening and we had our share on this project.
When those kind of mistakes happen, you'll probably want to scream a few profanities. Once that's out of the way, start thinking of solutions.
Often, a slight alteration will take care of everything. Remember to keep cool and think things through, because flying off-the-handle won't help. Moreover, most mistakes can be prevented through planning and keeping everyone informed.
Be sure to measure appliances before you buy them -- especially the refrigerator, stove and dishwasher -- so they'll not only fit in their respective openings, but also fit through the door.
Cabinets & Countertops
In the kitchen, we masked off the wood flooring and had all the cabinets installed and painted. The floor went in first to avoid shimming the cabinets to the right height. Also, it's easier to change the cabinet layout in the future.
We had our master bath and bedroom cabinets installed at the same time as our kitchen cabinets, but we had a different cabinetmaker build those since the combined order would have been too much for just one sub.
As soon as the cabinets were in, the sub made a template of the island's solid surface custom countertop. To keep events in sequence, that was scheduled early because the sub told us beforehand it would take about a week to make the countertop.
Kitchen islands are great for letting two people work at once. We figuring the layout, be sure to allow enough room for two people to walk back and forth.
We purposely designed the pantry cabinets to be built lower (30"), which is a perfect height for kneading break dough and rolling out pie crust. And we budgeted for a granite top because dough won't stick to it.
After the cabinets/countertops and tile work are done, the plumbers come back to install fixtures like the sinks, faucets, garbage disposer, tub handles and shower head.
We went through lots of work to calculate our kitchen layout but didn't even think about the sink faucet width. It ended up too close to the wall, so we had to settle for a different style.
The bathtub in the master suite caused an even bigger problem because a piece of the tub stuck out too far to get it in the opening. This time, we chiseled out a channel to slide the tub in but also had to have the opening patched.
About the same time the plumbers started, our electrician mounted the smoke alarms and the majority of the light fixtures. He didn't quite get done in one day, but we finished up the last few lights to avoid having him make another trip.
We ordered a big side-by-side refrigerator for our gourmet-style kitchen. It took four strong guys just to get the unit in. Then we found out the refrigerator didn't fit under the cabinet!
That was frustrating, but we did manage to find an easy solution. We had the bottom trim piece of the overhead cabinet trimmed down to get the right height. Once the frig was in, we had wood panels put on for a built-in look.
The rest of the appliances fit just right. We got two double convection ovens with built-in fans for more even baking and an extra element for nice browning.
Two ovens are nice when you're doing a lot of bread or cookies at once. We also added a warming oven so food won't get cold while cooking other dishes.
We installed a gas cooktop on the island with a downdraft vent so we didn't need a big hood overhead. That required more ductwork and piping so remind the heating/plumbing sub about those hook-ups.
The washer/dryer bring along a few mechanical and inspection items. The dryer will need an exhaust vent. An electric dryer also needs a 220 amp circuit and a gas dryer needs a hookup.
NOTE: Be sure to keep all the receipts, instructions, and warranty information. We kept a designated folder on-site for all the paperwork so it wouldn't get thrown away.