The Kitchen Remodel–Day 4

Today was an exhausting day, and I did even less than usual. Husband had the kids all day while I went to the house to babysit more install. Today’s install was sort of off the record; Head Builder, the guy with the idea about installing the unused third cabinet in the alcove instead of trying to get IKEA to take it back, came over on his own time to install that cabinet, hang my corner shelves, and replace that dishwasher hose. He finished installing the cabinet doors more because I think it was bugging him to have gotten so close to finishing that job yesterday and not because it made any real difference. He also helped me and BFF (she’d come by with burritos) muscle the stove into the stove spot. He didn’t do this for free, of course, and I didn’t really expect him to, but the money I paid him turned out to be the same amount that the company was discounting the installation job because of the business where they built a cabinet so I couldn’t return it and then didn’t hang a cabinet they said they would hang.

Meanwhile, it turns out that one giant side panel and one squarish side panel are not needed, and went back to IKEA for a handy refund of nearly $200. I also had to buy two more strips of decorative trim while I was there, but those only added up to $60. There’s been quite a bit of back and forth to IKEA for parts, which would detract mightily from using IKEA as a kitchen supplier if I didn’t live so close. But I do live close, and if the parts I bought don’t quite fit the space or turn out to be superfluous after an on-the-fly design change, so be it. At the end of everything I’m going to total up all the returns and extra purchases and see how the final price changes. I am also idly wondering if my kitchen salesperson is having his commission adjusted as my price goes up and down. That’s a nice piece of crazy-making if it is.

All this time, my purse was upstairs buried somewhere, and I didn’t get my usual spate of photos. I took a picture of the alcove cabinet only at the end of the day as we were leaving to finally pick out tile. It looks pretty darn good, I think. Except for the cardboard boxes. And I know the bird is too small, but the arty fish tile that I’ll probably put up there is packed up.

I missed getting a picture of the corner tiles and the stove in place, as well as the cat on top of the refrigerator. I’ll update this page with pictures when I can. The cat has never been able to get on top of the refrigerator before because of the toaster oven blocking her access point on the counter and the crap on top of the refrigerator denying her a place to rest, both problems that the design has solved. She looked very pretty up there.

We all went to the tile store, but Fella zonked out in the car and had to be left in his seat. Picking out tile, then, was a tag-team enterprise. We’d go into the store with Filly, look at a few things, leave them on the desk with the salesman, send the other out, make adjustments, trade places, et cetera, until we finally settled on a combination that we liked. There was this very dramatic dark green tile with black and copper in it that we both really liked, but we went with a stonier color that had grays and some terra cotta and a little bit of gold. There was some non-communication about the size of the tile, but I had my heart set on a big one (20″ x 20″) and not some puny 13″ square. We’re going with the brick style of pattern and the tiniest grout line possible; the backsplash is very heavy on the reds and oranges (in stone colors, not crayon colors) and will blend right into the cabinets. (I realized just now that I didn’t get a picture of the sample bamboo, two tiles, cabinet piece, counter sample, and paint color card and I am sad to have missed such an essential part of the process. Oh well. It could be recreated as well.)

It wasn’t until the very end of this transaction–the very end!–that he asked about who was doing our countertops (we ordered those through IKEA) and then said that we should have gone with him because they only charge $45 installed. I almost burst into tears. We paid like $67 or $68 installed for the same material. Why is this the first time he’s said this to me? We’ve visited his showroom and talked to him about tile once before and he came to my house to do the measuring. I even called them to get a price, but couldn’t get past the receptionist, who said she couldn’t give me an answer and had to ask somebody, and never called me back. But all the places I did call came in at around the same price as IKEA, so I figured it was fine.

I was depressed all the way to IKEA to return those two panels. At the end of the transaction, I just asked how much the penalty would be if we canceled our countertop order. The guy only came to my house yesterday (a Friday) and left with that balsa wood template, and was telling me that the price was grossly underquoted and that IKEA people would be getting back to me before they started. I figured yesterday we’d pay what we had to pay, but now there’s a $45 installed fantasy going in my head (this could be almost $1500 cheaper). I was stunned when they said that there’d be no penalty if the company hadn’t started manufacturing the product yet. I couldn’t believe it. She called up to Kitchens and they’d received my measurements from the installation company, and they said they’d call me on Monday. It being the weekend, plus that need to reestimate the price, I don’t think any progress has been made, but I can’t be sure. Tomorrow is Sunday, but I think the tile place is open so I ought to be able to get actual information about their version of the product before I call anything off. And I’m not going to be the person who waits around for IKEA to call me; I’ll be on that phone at 10:00 AM Monday morning telling them to pause the process, and I’ll be calling the countertop installers direct, too–just in case. I’ll look like a crazy freak and I’ll probably have my name cursed to the sky and my reputation tarnished, but I’ll be $1500 richer. That’s almost two invoices I can spend on something else, like Disneyland.

God, I hope this $45 installed price is for real, that the product isn’t some kind of crazy veneer, and that the manufacturing hasn’t started on my countertop. I’ll gladly pay for whatever plywood they’ve started cutting into a rough top. Gladly. For the first time in my life, I can’t wait for Monday morning to come.

Disneyland, bitches.

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