Kitchen makeover | Finishing touches

The home stretch

The last week was all about the finishing touches and managing expectations. We had quite a punch list of details that we wanted fixed or touched up before we signed off on the renovation. We also needed final inspection from the city. I was crossing fingers and toes that everything could be done this week so we could finally vacuum up all the dust and call in the cleaning lady to help get our house back.


One snag we hit was the finish on the floor. After letting the floors sit for a week, we noticed that the sheen and texture on the new floors didn’t quite match what we had before. The color was spot on, but there seemed to be a level of gloss that was missing. This was confirmed when Mr. D Swiffer-ed the floor for the first time. We spoke to Juan the next day and he agreed to call his flooring guy back in. The additional layer of finish took about a day to apply and dry, but now—with the exception of a few spots where old meets new—the floors are practically seamless.


Waaaay back in the planning stage, we had zoned the kitchen and made a tentative plan for where things would go. Since then, a few things have changed, which meant taking a second look at the layout. This way we could start thinking about drawer organizers and other kitchen accessories we might need. Everyday dishes and utensils would still be placed near the dishwasher and sink, but we’d have to move the kid’s stuff to a closed cabinet (Mr. D wants the glass-front cabinets to display all-white ware). Prep bowls, spices, and oils, as well as pots and pans, would remain where they were.


A big thing we learned this week was about expectations. I went through the punch list with the contractors, and Mr. D would look over it when he got home. There were times we had to go back and ask them to retouch paint, make sure edges and corners were properly finished, and that seams inside the glass-front cabinets were caulked to be nearly invisible. While most of these got done, a few sticky points just didn’t seem up to snuff. At one point, I asked Mr. D if what we were asking them to do was something that we came to expect from working with contractors on commercial projects, where architects and project managers look through things with a fine-toothed comb. The contractors we had engaged previously to help with painting the house and removing the popcorn ceiling were through Rikki’s work contacts, so they immediately got what we were asking for. Were residential projects different? We asked one of our good friends who works for a construction company. He, too, is renovating his home. He confirmed that when it came down to the finishing touches, there is a bit of a difference.

Realizing this helped us adjust our lenses a bit and be able to reach a place where we and the contractors were happy with the final results. We also passed final inspection with minimal hassle. Moving a smoke/CO2 detector (thank you, Nest Protect!) and replacing the kitchen outlets were all we needed—whew.

Next week: Finally! The Big Reveal!


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