Monday, January 19, 2015

Slow and Steady

Just a few of the boxes for our kitchen renovation.
Project managers love to trot out the "time-cost-quality" saying: You may choose to optimize only two in any project. If you want to improve the quality, you're going to have to increase time or cost or both. And if you want to reduce time, you're going to have to increase the cost.

The beauty of doing this renovation ourselves, and doing it slowly, working about four hours a day*, means that we keep our costs to a minimum and can make adjustments or customizations that improve the quality of the end product.

The downside is that the disruption is going to last a little longer. So we will live with things like this . . .
Our breadmaker in the front hall.
And this . . .
An improvised barrier to keep our dog out of the construction zone.
I am greatly amused by the fact that this flimsy thing is enough to contain him.
It would not have stopped our children.
And this . . .

Temporary shortage in counter space. Before the day was over, I moved most of these things to our hall pantry.
And this . . .

Cabinets emptied onto all available surfaces.
And this . . .

A dining room that looks like a really messy eat-in kitchen. (All those cabinets will eventually come back into the kitchen.)
For much longer than we would if we'd hired the job out.

It also means that we encounter surprises that a more seasoned carpenter might anticipate.

Until we installed the fridge cabinet, we didn't even notice that the pantry, which had been attached snugly to the wall beside it, was atilt. Not a huge amount, but enough that it needed to be completely emptied and realigned. Because we have the time (and free labour*), it was not a big crisis.

* We are "hiring" our son Brian, who recently graduated from high school but has not yet landed a job, to work alongside Steve as a way for him to "work off" his rent. 

Doing it ourselves also meant Steve could modify the large pantry into a supremely useful space.

Kane is sniffing at the pet food drawer.
My short friends will understand the joy of having a stepladder in the kitchen. Before, the stepladder lived on a hook beside the basement stairs -- very inconvenient, so I frequently called Steve or one of my sons to fetch me something from a high shelf. (It will have a hook in this cabinet as well, before the dust settles.

Likewise the handheld vacuum: it had never had a good, convenient hiding place near an electrical outlet before. (Our house was built circa 1965, so did not anticipate the exponential need for power outlets. There was not even a socket in our front hall.)

Another thing that makes kitchen renovations appear incredibly slow is that a lot of the work (as with any project, really) is behind the scenes. So, for this tiny section of the kitchen, we had to move:

  • Our thermostat
  • A light switch 
  • An electrical socket (the one inside the pantry)
And install:
  • Three electrical sockets (one for the fridge; one more for countertop appliances, and one for under-cabinet lighting)
  • A water line (also for the fridge)
We will also have to patch the floor where we demolished the wall, but that will happen later, after we salvage some whole tiles under the cabinets and swap them with the cut ones.

In summary, here is the progress we've made since my last post.

Click to enlarge

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