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Diary of a Mad Renovator: No Detail too Small

Written by Jaqui Lividini

This week’s blog is a bit of a cautionary tale, but as usual there is always something to learn. We’d finally gotten to the kitchen in our beach cottage renovation project, and with that came many choices—not the least of which was finalizing the cabinetry. Our original plans for the kitchen included a simple cabinet design—nothing too fancy. But when it came time to sign off on the work, our contractor presented us with two different styles of cabinets. The first was a basic cabinet (overlay) that would be no extra charge and the second was a more elaborate cabinet (face frame) that would be a $4000 extra charge.  

Perhaps to no one’s surprise, I elected to go with the simple but completely sufficient overlay cabinet. We’d already exceeded our budget by three times our initial estimate, so a $4000 increase for cabinets this late in the game? I don’t think so.  

Face Frame Style Cabinet

Overlay Style Cabinet

Imagine MY surprise when I received a bill for the more expensive cabinets! I thought I was clear in communicating that I wanted to go with the overlay option, but my contractor ordered the more expensive cabinet! There was obviously some confusion in our communication and it resulted in a very expensive mistake. I agreed to split the difference and have each of us pay half—not because I felt I was partly to blame, but because at this late in the game the last thing we needed, in addition to an extra expense, is a delay in the project. 

The takeaway:

            1. Make absolutely sure you know the correct name of the products you are ordering. The two names of the cabinets, which were not really descriptive, confused me. 

            2. Get everything in writing. Email is fine for communicating ideas, but confirming things when in an email dialogue, can blur the facts. If money is being exchanged, get it in writing!

            3. Focus, focus, focus. No detail is too small. Never allow yourself to get too comfortable!

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