Renovation Reality Check

In the past, Tony and I have always completed the bulk of our renovation projects without help from the pros. This time, we decided to call on some trades for help, in an effort to speed the timeline and limit our stress levels. Unfortunately, I think it’s safe to say we missed the mark on both points.

Let’s back up a bit. When I checked in last, we had finally kissed our “open concept” kitchen walls goodbye. The next step was tiling the backsplash, which we relied on a professional to knock out. The quality of work is just OK – there are definitely some sloppily executed details, which makes me slightly crazy. Pardon the iPhone photo.


Cabinet painting was next up. This is where things really started to go awry. The contractor we chose had excellent reviews online, and really impressed me during our first meeting. Our project was a bit more complicated than the average paint job, since we elected to peel the thermofoil coating off of our cabinet doors and re-paint them, instead of opting for new wood doors. The contractor assured me he had just completed a similar job with great results, showed me some samples, and worked with us on staying in our budget. After day one, things were looking good. The cabinets were peeled and the doors were ready for hardware. P.S. Notice anything different about the cabinets? We also added feet – a small detail that makes a huge difference, in my highly partial opinion.


After day three, when the first coat of paint went up, I started to get nervous. Brush strokes, blobs and chunks in the paint, and dings and dents that weren’t patched. I expressed concern, and the contractor assured me that these issues would be fixed. After day 4, I called in the big guns – Tony met with the contractor the following morning to let him know exactly what wasn’t up to snuff in the kitchen. Unfortunately, even after raising so many red flags, the end result simply isn’t good. I’m super bummed to have spent a pretty penny on a paint job that looks worse than what I could have done myself. Now, before you check out the pictures and chalk my concerns up to insanity, know that it’s practically impossible to capture the details of a crappy paint job on film – especially when you’re snapping pics at night.




In spite of being less than thrilled with the work that was done by the pros, it’s time to call this project done – for now. Ideally, I’d like to order replacement doors for the cabinets and tackle the job of repainting the whole affair myself (after about a week of sanding off the current blobby mess). I’m also on the fence about a backsplash redo. But neither of these can be tackled when we’re in the middle of holiday season at work, so we’ll revisit in January.

Tony and I also tackled some more projects on our own. Hello, fancy new convection oven and pretty new microwave!


I slapped a fresh coat of paint on the pantry door and the windowsills – nothing like a shiny, new coat of paint to brighten things up. I also ordered two black Tabouret stools for the bar, which I am loving. Please excuse the green tape – I’m working out the dimensions for a corbel. Definitely a visual thinker!


Still on the agenda (hopefully before January):

  • Hem and hang our white Lenda curtains in the eating area
  • Sand and refinish my Craig’s List pedestal table
  • Replace the light fixture in the eating area
  • Add some architectural interest to the bar area with a pretty corbel
  • Sew a valance for the window over the kitchen sink
  • Find some chairs to go with our new-to-us pedestal table
  • Track down some less heinous alternatives to our current toaster and coffee maker
  • Taking some pictures of our handiwork with the benefit of daytime lighting

1 Comment

Filed under The Lottery House

One response to “Renovation Reality Check

  1. brian

    just call sarah!! (though from here… looks great!!)

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