Most people have heard a horror story about a kitchen renovation where everything went wrong! The contractor disappeared, the cabinets came defective or damaged, the job took a year to complete, the renovation was way over budget, or even the home was damaged during construction.
There is a saying in our industry “It’s all the same people”. By this, we mean that the people who have one thing go wrong with their kitchen renovation often have many, and the same problems over and over again. When one contractor quits, the next one may not be far behind. Why does lightning keep striking the same people? The answer is obvious: The homeowners are creating the problems by how they are going about their renovation.
When there are problems, everyone involved in a kitchen renovation has responsibility. The contractor supervising the project, the kitchen designer who created the design and sold the cabinetry, and the homeowner who hired them. When problems repeat themselves, the cause is usually due to a lack of proper planning. Setting limits and making customers follow sensible procedures is the responsibility of the professionals involved. Contractors and designers are, too often, willing to take a customer’s money and their direction when they know the project is heading off the rails. Predictably the most problems arise when the least knowledgeable person involved in the project (the homeowner) is allowed to direct the construction process without taking guidance from experienced professionals.
Often, the team of professionals who allow these poorly planned catastrophes to proceed were handpicked by the homeowner BECAUSE they wouldn’t say no to bad ideas and poor planning. These professionals are “enablers” – and everyone involved in the renovation will suffer because of this. When the pandemonium begins can a rational person really sympathize?
I have to shake my head when I hear these renovation horror stories. We learn about the start of these kitchen nightmares each week on calls from homeowners who have demolished their kitchen without a kitchen plan. Without a finalized detailed kitchen design, they can’t get reliable construction bids. They usually also have no idea what everything will cost, how long they will wait for materials, or who will complete the project.
These HGTV inspired do-it-yourselfers firmly defend their decision to begin work without a plan or a budget. THEY know that they have to gut their kitchen, so THEY firmly believe that it is sensible to start ripping a home apart before completing a plan and budget. I can’t get off the phone with these callers fast enough.
I also occasionally get calls from TV kitchen remodeling shows like the DIY Network’s Philly Revival. The producer is looking to get free cabinets from us in exchange for being featured in their renovation. I always tell these producers that Main Line Kitchen Design would be happy to give them free cabinetry in exchange for the exposure, but only if the kitchen is well designed. A poorly designed kitchen and poorly planned project isn’t something we want to be associated with.
These TV renovations also always begin without a kitchen design, and usually, without anyone knowing how long it takes to get cabinets, countertops or appliances. The “talent” on these shows is little more than DIYers. So, it’s no wonder that the shows are jam packed with bad ideas and misinformation. See this link to our ratings of remodeling shows.
Happy Fourth of July – We hope there are no fireworks on your kitchen remodeling project.