Sean here. The kitchen remodel I’ve been helping my parents with is done. Well, sort of. The backsplash tile is not installed, and it will be some time before we do that. Ironically, while I have been pushing my parents toward more-dynamic, less-bland design choices, they have selected a rather busy backsplash tile I think might “fight’ with the green granite counters.
So we seemed to have switched roles here, with me pushing for a more sedate choice. I’m showing you the granite in this post, as well as the backsplash tile my parents like, which is Walker Zanger Sea Spray. While the tile is on hold, I will post photos of the otherwise finished kitchen in a few days.
Meanwhile, a reader to this blog submitted a very good question, which I will answer here:
Question from reader Joan: Sean, what strategies would you suggest, in hindsight, to minimize or prevent the dislocation of your parents? Could the contractors have worked on a longer workday? Could your parents have stayed at a hotel or with you? Could better coordination of ordering cabinets and installation pacing have significantly reduced the time involved? Were your parents aware before the remodel was started that they would be severely inconvenienced and dislocated? Would you have put your parents through that ordeal if you knew they would be out of most of the living areas of their home for three months? Why does construction work have to be so painful, intrusive and dirty for the owners? Owners seem to become victims.
My Answer: Dear Joan: Thank you for your interest in my parents’ project. I’m not sure if there are any strategies that could have been applied to minimize the dislocation time for my parents. We actually scheduled everything in order and things should have not taken this long. Some of the blame can be put on the contractor and installers or fabricators, but the main reason for stretching the schedule is due to my parents’ indecisiveness. Selecting materials, design or styles was something very foreign for my folks, especially when those are selections you can’t undo. Between their lack of experience, uncertainty and difficulty in imagining the outcome, I had to do a lot of convincing, some “guaranteeing” and once in a while some arm twisting to keep the project moving.
The other issue in delay was the fact that the contractor or installers had committed themselves to other projects and they scheduled according to the time frame needed from one project to another. So when my folks postponed a certain task due to one of the reasons mentioned above, that installer may not have been available when my parents made up their mind, which means my parents had to wait for a week or 10 days till the installer finished their other commitment to come back and resume. Between one installer not available at a certain time and another installer relying on the first to finish before the latter proceeds . . . well, you can imagine the domino effect.
Of course, contractors could have worked longer hours but they also have families to go home to. My mom often mentioned she would like to go away on a trip and come back to a completed project. But I know she had to be involved in all the decision-making steps. My parents had a general idea of the inconvenience they were about to face, but didn’t expect this level.
I never wanted to see my parents go though such a lengthy ordeal, but at the start of the remodel things should have progressed smoothly as scheduled. I had not anticipated my parents being the obstacle for delaying the project after every progress step was achieved.
Construction is a dirty journey, but we must focus on the end result. We can cut corners to speed things up, but a remodel is something you’ll be living with and looking at for a long time . . . unless you’re flipping houses. LOL. Thanks for the great question!
See the whole series:
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