It's crazy to think that it's been almost 2 years since we began our first home renovation project, because so much has changed during that time. With the rise of the Seattle housing market, it's never been more clear that buying a fixer was the most strategic way to create the life our family wanted in Seattle. We're truly thankful for this happy life we've created here in Wedgwood, Seattle and we hope our journey can help inspire you to take on your own home projects.
Our most recent renovation endeavor was definitely our biggest to date. Jenn and I decided to do a full kitchen renovation, but this time around we brought in professional contractors. While leaving this work to someone else tested our desire to control the situation, we knew that it was the best decision for our often "too busy" family.
Why did we decided to contract the work out? Below are 10 reasons we hired Professional Contractors over DIY this time around.
- We’re busy: Unlike last time, Jenn doesn’t have a year off work for maternity. Our time as working professionals and as a family is extremely limited. According to the Huffington Post, you should average 2-6 months for a major renovation. You heard me right... TWO to SIX MONTHS! While the demo is fun and done quickly, the last thing we wanted to do was come home from work to more work for the unforeseeable future.
- Managing sub-contractors is tough: One thing I've learned in my career as a real estate agent, is that managing sub-contractors takes a lot of time, effort and stress. What if your plumber doesn't show up to the job? Or your hardwood guy leaves the doors unlocked and wide open? (both actually happened to us) Do you have the management chops to call them up and chew them out? Working with a General Manager gives you freedom from that kind of drama!
- I'm falling a part. Between breaking my arm this year, getting LASIK on my eyes, bad knees and some strange new gluten allergy, it's safe to say my body could use a break.
- We don’t know what Schluter is! Back when we remodeled our bathroom, we tiled the shower ourselves. Not realizing there was this magical product out there called Shluter. Our contractor informed us that Schluter protects the tile edges, eliminates the need for caulking, and provides an easy transition between wall coverings! Now our tile looks way less amateur.
- Layout functionality. Designers and seasoned contractors are worth every penny if you want a functional and efficient kitchen. Especially if your kitchen is "cozy" like ours. That's real estate speak for small. When we originally drew up the cad drawings with our awesome interior designer Kimberlee Marie, we didn't realize that the dishwasher placement was going to leave less than a foot of space to stand in while rinsing off dishes in the sink and loading them in the dishwasher. Before ordering, our contractor Steve and Kim went over the final drawings and noticed this potential dysfunctional nightmare! His email read, "Looks incredibly tight to me... maybe you're training your kids to do it? ;)" Without their guidance and forethought, we would've ordered the cabinets with inefficient measurements and Addie would be forever stuck with dish duty at the Jones house.
- Design help! Another perk of having Kimberlee Marie on the team was her ability to push us outside our design box. Jenn and I are a lot of things, but design eccentric is not one of them. She encouraged us to use polished brass cabinet hardware and put a herringbone pattern of subway tile for the backsplash. The result turned out beautifully! See photos below.
- Our neighbors love us! We’ve always wanted a honey bucket and dumpster in our front yard. Okay, not really. But one good thing that came from having a dumpster in our driveway for 16 weeks was our neighbors became our best friends. Dumpsters are about $300 per load and we paid for 4 loads. Towards the end of the our project we had one load left and the dumpster was not even half full. Jenn and I quickly got to work texting our neighbors letting them know that the dumpster was open first-come-first-serve if they had anything they needed to toss out. Within a day the dumpster was filled, we didn't waste $300 and our neighbors were living less cluttered lives. Win, win, win!
- Jenn and I don’t have the most technical skills. Don't get me wrong, I know what hardy backer board is, I can hang drywall and I've installed a few toilets in my life, but when it comes to moving HVAC, adding electrical, rerouting plumbing or hanging and building cabinets... I'll leave it to the professionals. Not only is this a relief on the ole back but when the order goes in everything is to spec. And if it they make a mistake on the order, the reorder isn't on my dime.
- We're not responsible for miscalculations. I know the timeless adage of measure twice cut once, but I've always rolled with the less conventional eyeball once cut three times method. Great for telling good stories, terrible for not accurate measuring. We experienced this freedom of responsibility when our very kind and skilled electrician accidentally our broke our beautiful new light pendent that was only available on backorder. While it was a bummer this happened, our electrician was very apologetic and kind and new pendents our contractor found and paid for we liked even better. If we were DIYing and had broken one of the pendants, there would have been some confrontation in the Jones house. It's nice to not have to be frustrated with your spouse.
- Final Walkthrough. From our past projects we've learned that the last 5% is always the hardest to complete. I still haven't fixed that pesky shower head! It was so great to have the Vertical Team there to take care of all the small final items that are easily forgotten or ignored. Just yesterday they came and installed a new dining room pendant that had been on backorder for 3 months and it looks lovely!
So was it worth it? We think so! While it was substantially more expensive than we would have liked to spend, we now have the peace of mind that all of the work was done right and a kitchen that's worthy of HGTV! We love this house and neighborhood and this renovation ensures that our family will be hear for years to come.
Are you looking to do to a home renovation like ours? Through my work as a real estate agent and all of our home renovation projects I've gathered a large list of contractors that I trust. Drop me a line and I'd be happy to introduce you to them.