One of the biggest ticket items for our kitchen was our new cabinets and countertops. When we first began the design phase, we asked our architect what we should do: go all out for custom cabinets or stick with the very acceptable Ikea base cabinets with the option of doing custom fronts. Of course she suggested custom design and so the rest is history.
Custom cabinets are considerably more expensive – possibly double or triple than the cost of Ikea. We got a few quotes that all came in around the same. Our architect wanted us to go with her contact, but we ended up choosing our own based on a few quotes and our gut feel from communicating with a few of them.
Once our architect had the design concept complete, our millwork started on the shop drawings. The exciting part about getting the first shop drawings was that we could start to see our architect’s design come to life.
The hardest thing I found about cabinet work – custom or not – was choosing specific layouts based on your needs. Our architect obviously designed the layout (based on our input), but we then had to confirm that the design really worked for us. But having never had a kitchen built for us, how were we to know how we’d use it? We’ve always just had to adapt to whatever existed.
I did a lot of research (big surprise) on all of the different cabinet interiors available.
The biggest milestone for the project was getting the millworker to come and take final measurements to then start production, which required all of the drywall to be hung. With our contractor planning a 3 week vacation at the end of the summer, it was essential that we get everything done to not have another delay. We pushed through and, with the help of me nagging him every day, we got it done.
Our millworker came to measure on August 1 and we then had several shop drawings versions before our architect finally signed off on the drawings on August 30.
Once we had the final shop drawings, that then started a 4 to 6 week production timeline for the cabinets. And there wasn’t really much that could be done inside the house except finish the drywall and floors (which, to be honest, took us several weekends anyways).
The cabinets were finally ready on November 1 – 9 weeks after the final shop drawings were signed off and almost twice as long as what we expected. Given how long we had been living in the basement and that I was due with our twins, the delay was a great source of stress in our lives.
Within a couple of days, the installers made considerable progress.
Unfortunately, after doing most of the work, the installers then went to another job and left the kitchen unfinished. Because we were so delayed at this point, I strongly requested that they at least finish enough so that our appliances and countertops could be installed.
We scheduled the appliances to arrive just before the millwork was ready so we didn’t have a bunch of appliances in the way. Everything came except the fridge, which required some extra hands given the weight. To move things along, I made sure our contractor was available to install whatever appliances we could.
The countertop installation required a bit more time since they had to come and measure once the base cabinets were in. After about a week and a half, the installers showed up with the cut countertop ready to be put in place. The countertop installation was a major turning point in the project and really made everything come together. We could finally see the end!
Unfortunately it took some time for our fridge to arrive. After the first delivery attempt with the rest of our appliances, the delivery men told us they didn’t have enough people and would need to reschedule. I rescheduled for the following weekend and once again they didn’t have enough people to take it off the truck. I then rescheduled a third time, stressing that the delivery truck needed 3 people instead of 2 and to not bother coming unless they could actually deliver the fridge. The following weekend, 3 rather small men showed up and attempted to deliver the fridge. They didn’t make it on to our property before dropping the massive fridge on one of the men. Thankfully no one was seriously injured, but I still didn’t have a fridge. Then, because the fridge was broken, I had to fight with the appliance company to fully replace the fridge (they wanted to “fix” it).
While we waited for our fridge drama to get sorted, we finished the tile backsplash.
Finally, 4 men showed up with a brand new fridge and successfully brought it inside. It was then up to us to move it into place and install it – 2 whole days before our twins were born.
The cabinets weren’t completely finished before our newborn twins arrived, but it was done enough that the kitchen was functional.
Pretty nice, huh?