Thursday, December 20, 2012

Art Versus Reality

(or Realizing You've Made Mistakes During a Remodel)

This post is partially about trying to reconcile the beautiful ideas of your designer (whether it be yourself, a hired professional, or a product consultant) with what your contractor can or is willing to do.

Last night we met with our contractor. He came recommended and we'd never worked with him before. Initially, we thought we'd go with a trusted friend, but he now works underneath someone else who increased the cost of labor substantially. It's a shame, too, because not only do we like, nay, love this friend, he had brilliant attention to detail and I felt comfortable with his work. This new guy is great, too, but I can tell he doesn't always share my vision. Frankly, I'm pretty sure some of our requests are downright frightening to him.

Here's the deal. I've calculated that we've spent about 5 hours in person with our tile consultant. Right there, you just know things are going to get a little cray-cray (as they say on the street). There are two factors at play here. One is that our consultant is a visual genius. The woman went to art school, studied color theory, and has been working with tile for years. I seriously feel the way Franck feels about Hank: "[S]he's a genius and we need [her] mind, okay?"

Secondly, if there's one thing I don't want to mess up in this house it's tile. Once you put that sucker on the walls, that's it, you're married. Not only would it be a terrible hassle to remove and replace it, but that's a lot of expense. This really is about cost saving down the line.

So last night was a doozy for everyone involved. It kinda went like this, "We were hoping we could. . ." "Oh, oh really? Uh, wow. Who gave you that idea?" To be fair to everyone, tearing out everything revealed some surprises that will affect our budget and logistical matters, like how much our floor can support and where pipes need to be stay.

The big game changer is that we are having to return the large tub we purchased on super sale. It is ENORMOUS. It has jets, and allows for a deep fill. The problem is, due to its enormity, the fact that it also needs a deck and extra electrical work (for the jets) is taking up a lot of space. We're convinced we could make it work, but not without cramping up the space and intruding on the closet.

Hauling that sucker back to the store is going to be a pain, but this is a watershed moment. Following this decision, we will be returning other items that aren't quite right for the home. It's like a chain reaction and, while annoying, is an important part of the renovation process:

Fixing Mistakes BEFORE Installment

  • The first step is acknowledgement. How many of us try to convince ourselves that such and such "isn't so bad." Is that what you want to be saying about your home? The whole point of a renovation is to turn things into what makes you happy.
  • Next, when you don't 100% love what you selected, take it back! A little back and forth now will save you from kicking yourself in the butt later.
  • Even if you have to pay for return shipping and/or gas, I still think this is cheaper than buying an eyesore or something that doesn't function well and purchasing everything else in the room based on or 'around' it.
  • Keep those receipts!
  • Weigh it out. You'll have to accept that not everything will go as planned. Something almost always has to give. So ask yourself what your real must-haves are and work from there. 
  • If all of this really knocks you around, then perhaps in your case you should think about hiring a licensed interior designer. They exist for a reason!

In our case, when I'm being honest with myself, I don't think I'd take the time to fill a huge tub and run the jets as often as would merit me losing my much desired closet space. Plus, I think after simplifying things in our master bath, our contractor will be much more willing to whistle while he works on doing some fancy tile tricks in the kid's bath. (Oh yes, I'm not backing down on everything!)

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