December 1, 2006

Waiting for the scary number

Filed under: House Blog — marcstober @ 1:01 pm

Update on our kitchen renovation: we’ve chosen a general contractor, paid him a small retainer, and come up with a design. Now we’re waiting for the estimate with the scary number on the bottom line.

One of the reasons we chose SteveWorks as our builder is that he would only give us an off-the-cuff price range to start with. Then, he charged us a small retainer to design and quote the project in detail. That way, we’ll know exactly what we’re getting when we sign the contract, rather than having to make compromises to fit with arbitrarily determined allowances. Anyhow, at this point we do have a hole in the ceiling that Steve made to look some structural issues, and are waiting with our home equity loan checks in hand.

What we’ve discovered, in general, is that there is no shortcut or cheap or easy way out of this process. We could have just picked a budget in advance, but it costs a certain minimum amount (more than we really wanted to spend altogether) for the general construction, and above a certain amount you really have to be trying to pick out extraordinary furnishings. So, you can’t just pick a number out of the blue. Also, we felt that, as an investment, we needed to involve a professional and renovate the kitchen up to the standards of what having a new kitchen means in our area. Keeping appliances and fixtures up to date is great but having a totally brand-new kitchen (at least if we’re eventually able to add bathrooms, too) will really put the house in a higher class of homes (although we don’t want to sell it).