Monday, March 3, 2014
Working with your remodeling contractor: A case study (Part 1)
When Joe Foutz and Susan Violette visited the Lighthouse Remodeling exhibit at theSouthern Home Show in February 2010, I figured they were probably casual browsers gathering ideas. That’s because many people visit home shows for inspiration and ideas that they can take home to research and plan throughout the year. But whether the people who visit our booth are ready to start or are still thinking about a distant future project, we find that home shows provide wonderful opportunities to meet with people in our community and to introduce ourselves. What I didn’t know about Susan and Joe was that this family was ready to hire a designer and a remodeling contractor to tear out their kitchen and start over from scratch. They were eager to start right away.
I showed them our book of ideas with photos of past projects we have completed.They were sufficiently impressed to arrange an appointment but were amazed that I wanted to meet at their house to see the space in person. “David wasn’t satisfied with discussing our project without seeing it firsthand,” noted Susan. “This surprised us because others we had spoken to didn’t want to take the time to meet with us in our home without a commitment.”
The kitchen before remodeling
Susan and Joe have a lovely home in The Harbour that gave me a good impression as I drove up. They greeted me warmly and welcomed me into their immaculate kitchen. They wanted to open it up and were wondering what was behind one wall that came in at an angle. We knew it was a chase (an enclosure, typically for ductwork) but were unsure of what was in it or whether we could relocate what was inside to gain this extra space for the kitchen. After talking about it further, we decided there was only one way to find out. I went out and grabbed my saw, and with their permission cut a discrete hole to check what was on the other side. The only thing in the chase was an AC line to the upstairs air handler. We decided it could be moved inside the wall and the chase eliminated to free up space in the kitchen. I then temporary-patched the wall.
“David really cared about us,” said Susan. “He showed a wealth of knowledge and concern for us and the way we live. I liked his hands-on approach with the wall, not only because he was able to immediately answer the question of what was behind it, but also the fact that he was very careful to put it back into acceptable condition. Others would have just left it alone since we were going to be tearing up the kitchen anyway.”
After receiving quotes from another remodeling company and from Lighthouse, we were pleased to be selected to work with Susan and Joe. They retained a separate designer as well. It was the beginning of a contractor/homeowner friendship that continues to this day.
Next we will share about getting the project started and how we worked with the homeowners to bring their ideas to fruition.