Welcome back to Part 23 of The Accidental Remodel!
Thanks for dropping by to share the next installment of our ridiculously drama fraught kitchen remodel. I have to stare in disbelief at all the trouble we've had with the granite counter people first, then the electricians, the ATT phone service people and the cabinet man. It is truly ridiculous! Thank God I've done all the work myself that I remotely could.
So, for any new comers here, this all started when we had to have our cabinets cut to fit a standard stove. That's what started the Accidental Remodel. We paid the same cabinet man FIVE MONTHS AGO when he did the stove work. We don't normally pay up front, but he insisted he was fantastic and so in demand that he wouldn't even put us on his list without the money. He didn't give us a date, but a month the work would be done by.
Once I was painting and tiling the backsplash, I saw that he had done the stove opening wrong, but it was too late. We had already paid. The tiling made one of his errors very noticeable and permanent. He is a very abrasive person and spoiling for a fight. Very combative and unpleasant.
After all these months of not returning our calls and not keeping dates, I had tried to reconcile myself to the probability that he would never do the work he contracted to do. The contents of much of the kitchen had urped out into the rest of the house for the remodel and made life very challenging all these months, and made DH really grouchy.
Well, surprise. He turned up at my door today. I was so grateful. First know that I was exceedingly detailed and specific as to all aspects of this job. The workmen today had it on their clip board. I left no room for misunderstanding and we went over every detail with him several times in person months ago. I even provided him with drawings and photos.
The basic "boxes" of the cabinets looked ok and sturdy as they brought them in. I was sooooo happy! But they weren't the sizes they were supposed to be. The shelves looked "ok" but were too short so they all really have big gaps at both sides and move a lot. Then it got worse. Everything other than the basic "boxes" were horribly wrong.
He committed to match my existing cabinets. He even had one of my doors and a hinge to match, which also didn't match. Not only do the hinges not match, but they didn't even install them even with the existing ones. Doors and drawer fronts aren't even with the existing ones. The door and drawer fronts were very thin junk wood and not the 1/4" thick they were supposed to be like mine. That gets more important when you know that my pantry is fllor to ceiling with doors that run the entire height. Inside the doors, on the hinge side, it looks like a beaver has been chewing on both doors all the way up and across the tops. Huge gnarly damage and then chunks of some kind of white plaster or something all inside the door panels. The doors don't even close. They are sticking out away from the case at the top and the bottom! Super light weight. The door and drawer fronts were to have lines routed in the front to match mine. The lines of the drawers above cabinet doors are over 1" off from matching. I am going to have to patch the grooves, sand and paint the drawer fronts smooth like there aren't any grooves. Even the edges of the cabinets and drawers don't stop and start at the same places or levels on the case. The three drawers they installed are very flimsy and none of them roll in and out properly. Even after me pointing out that one won't pull out till the 4th try each time, it's still the same. The style of the doors and their sizes are all wrong. They do not match the existing cabinets at all. They were to have styles that showed between doors. There are none. He was to make all the lower cabinets to have a half shelf in back and removable shelves to make them into full shelves coming to the door, independently removable so that one door could have a full shelf and the other a half shelf if desired. Their answer for every issues was, that's all they had.
The new upper cabinets were to be the same depth as the pantry, but it isn't...by a couple of inches. The opening between upper and base cabinets is so uneven that for me to continue the tiled backsplash would make the unevenness even more noticeable. :( At one point they accidentally pull a big piece of my newly painted wall off. They Elmer's glued it back down! They pulled all the newly painted trim off the top of my old cabinets to put up my much anticipated crown molding. I'd been dreaming of my first crown molding for months. Couldn't wait to paint it. Well, not only did he not do all the above things he contracted and was paid to do, and more, but he left me with the torn up tops to all my cabinets and no crown molding. They were to remove the panels above the existing cabinets and make shelves there so I could put baskets in those openings. When they did the one over my sink they found the electrical cords a problem and he promised to add length to the wires so they could be put at the back wall to allow the baskets. Nope, left that too which prevents me from being able to put my baskets there. I had them rout grooves in the shelves that are open, to stand plates in for display. Oh how I was looking forward to that! I even gave them precise measurements of the depths of the plates. Wanna guess? Yep, the grooves are so far apart that it's a complete fail there too. And to make it worse, the section where he drilled holes for adjustable shelves in the cabinet that is open for display, one of the back rows of holes is off, so when I set anything on a shelf, the front opposite corner kicks up making a visibly crooked shelf...for every shelf!
I hadn't said one thing about any of the things that were being done wrong. I spent the day praying and telling myself I could live with it and that I was just grateful to get it done finally. I kept reminding myself it's just a kitchen, just money (though very big sacrifice for us that we had a right to expect to receive the quality product we contracted for). Tons of things not done to our agreement. Literally everything outside the cases done horrifically and obviously wrong. Cheap and flimsy. It's heartbreaking. Especially after FIVE MONTHS of waiting. He had left the house with the others doing the work. They started putting up tiny 1 1/2" molding at the ceiling. I said it was supposed to be crown molding. They said that's all they had. They called him about it. They gave me the phone and he screamed at me for a long time and hung up on me. I feared that he'd just tell them to stop and leave.
The men felt terrible. One was his son and the other had worked for him for 20 yrs. He said he always does this. He tried to make the wrong doors and such work, but the stuff just wasn't there and he said they would not be allowed to return, so refusing it and demanding it be done right was out of the question. It's horrid and I can't even use my drawers and they are so flimsy. In the end, technically they did most of the work that that could, even using some of my own wood. But they did leave me with this horrid job and undone work I have shared with you. And the shelf they ended up putting over my sink they put in extremely slanting toward the opening as well as with the wires in the way. To top it off, he had taken one of the doors I had refinished, supposedly to make the new ones match it, and he brought it back which chips missing, scuffs and other damage.
It's all so sad. So wrong. Such a mess. This should have been a night of joy for us, just like the night the granite was installed should have been. But all was sad in Mudville...and tomorrow I have to call a new granite company to estimate the new little counter since the original granite guy screwed us so badly and is out of the picture. LOL after everything that's been done to us with this remodel, I feel like ducking when I make the call. Even the electrician did something wrong and promised to come back and fix it over a month ago and that's the last I saw of him. And he was a nice guy. :(
This has not been a good experience. I feel so beaten up. You know, the web is full of beautiful before and after stories of make overs. I have never seen one that went like ours. I'm sure many people have had the stray screw over, but really, by every single company they deal with?
I'm resolved to be grateful and not get bitter. I truly praise God that He's helped me to not get angry through all this and to stay calm and forgiving, but wow! And this cabinet guy loudly touts himself as a faithful Christian. So sad when people do that. If you are going to do horrible work and abuse people, please don't shame our Lord by claiming to be His. Seriously.
And no, they didn't do anything to fix what they did wrong with the stove opening.
Is there a lesson here? I spelled out every detail complete with measurements, diagrams, you name it, to be sure there was no misunderstanding. I went over it with him several times in person and using the kitchen as a physical example. He said he understood. I gave him printed copies of everything. He agreed to the work. What else could a person do? So, sadly I don't know how one could have better protected themself. I'm open to suggestions. Since this has happened to us EVERY time we have ever had to hire another to work in our home, I'd certainly like to know how to stop this in the future. And yes, I do look for Better Business reviews first. Neither of these men were members so there was no info, but the site emphasizes that just because they aren't members doesn't mean they don't do good work.
Another issue on my heart is reviews. I will not do anything to hurt another or to be vindictive or any such thing. Even if they harm me. But, if someone had told the truth about either the granite guy or this cabinet guy, we would never have used them. Remember, the one man has worked for cabinet guy for 20 YEARS and said he's always done this. If anyone had reported him, the rest of us might have been spared. So, though I don't want to do ill to another, other Lynettes are on my heart, that I could help them avoid the hell I've been through with these two men by telling the truth and naming names. But, while I have pondered this for months in prayer, my husband tonight says no. He is concerned that they might do us legal damage if we tell our story publicly using their names. I will submit to him as he is the head of the house, but my heart is heavy for other Lynettes who will surely fall victim in the future. If no one takes a stand, the carnage continues. I consider it a community service to others. What is your take on this?
So, I'm going to pick myself up by my boot straps and make the best of a very bad situation. Just wish it was sturdy and functioning as a minimum, but we all know that's not changing. I'm too depressed to post pictures this time. Anyway, it looks better in pics than in person. I hope you'll drop back by as I share this very real life remodeling experience with you! Full of the nitty-gritty! You are a bright spot in all this! Thanks for joining me and all hugs are welcome!
Ok, one pic showing you the quality of the work...can you believe this?
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