Kitchen renovation, Uncategorized

IKEA kitchen from start to not quite finished yet.

We seem to be at a standstill right now as far as the kitchen goes, it was all go, go, go for one week, now we are on a go extremely slow. We are at the end of August which means I have not had a kitchen now for 3 months, I think we have managed quite well with grilling outside on the deck, the thing I have missed the most is the sink, it has surprised me how much we rely on our kitchen sink, even in this world of automation and dishwashers, the sink is a mainstay of our kitchen and can never be fully replaced.

Installing IKEA kitchens and using there installation services is a little complicated just as there flat packed cabinets have a lot of components so does this service… It’s taken me almost three months to understand the way things work, I think, so let me try to explain… IKEA itself sells you the kitchen, the kitchen is made up of many, many, many components, on a $14,000 kitchen expect to have at least 250 boxes be delivered, there are screws, hinges, drawer fronts, side panels, handles, countertop, appliances, the list goes on, and within 48 hours you are expected to check a receipt that has a list of foreign names and complicated numbers that is at least 3 ft long over and match it with a garage full of boxes that have been delivered to you, sometimes in two or three deliveries and as it turns out one box can contain several items, if you don’t check this and report any missed items or damaged items within 48 hours they can refuse to refund these items to you at a later date, even if you are using there recommended contracting service.

Once you have purchased your kitchen and you decided to use their installation service you move onto their company called Traemand, now it has taken me a while to realize they only deal with cabinet making, installation, countertops and dry fitting of appliances, be warned to check the invoice thoroughly before you sign it, little things like fitting toe kick boards on a 47 linear foot kitchen cost $980 to fit, making your less expensive IKEA cabinets more expensive in the long run.  Be warned the invoice only says it’s an estimate and can change at any time without you even realizing it, ours increased by $300 and they didn’t even tell us why and I’m still trying to work out why exactly.  The cost of fitting our cabinets, butcher countertop and dry installation of appliances was $4400 and is now $4700 plus now we have added different toe kick boards and different end panels adding a total of $1200… In total installation is $5900.

Now we move onto almost everything else… I decided to use IKEA design service for our kitchen, the cost of this is $199, I am not a kitchen designer, I had an idea in mind how I wanted my kitchen to look but I didn’t want the responsibility of the final design and cabinets that did not fit in because I did not know what I was doing.  Traemand sub contract out to different contracting companies depending on the area you live, our IKEA use a company called Best Carpenters, their project manager was our kitchen designer… Enter Oleg, he wears many hats from design to project management.  Best Carpenters basically do anything else you need or want done, so we signed into a contract for them to complete our electrics, plumbing, Sheetrock and tiling.  This is where it gets complicated, Best Carpenters also fit the cabinets and install them too, it gets complicated because at this point you are not sure who you are dealing with for different things, should you speak to Traemand because of the cabinets or Best Carpenters because they are managing the whole project… Who, tell me!!!


The Friday before last after a busy week of cabinet installation we were asked to complete a completion form, I was skeptical of signing it, but it was 8pm, the light in the kitchen was fading, still no lights fitted, my younger children were hungry and tired as we were waiting for the kitchen guys to leave, it seemed weird to be signing a completion form when our kitchen looked like the above photos but I did it and instantly regretted it, I emailed over the weekend to Best Carpenters and Traemand to retract my signature but it made no difference, two days later Traemand tried to take the full amount plus more of the final payment on installation, luckily the money was in a different account and it did not go out, they didn’t send me an invoice to check, they didn’t ask how I wanted to pay they just tried to take the money as according to the Best Carpenter guys my cabinets were installed and my dry fit of appliances were in place… Well as you can see the cabinets were definitely not completed, there are still many boxes of components hidden in cabinets, appliances are nowhere to be seen, but they still wanted the final payment in full plus more with no invoice sent to explain the extra charges

There is a fourth part to the component of a Kitchen installation, the Quartz countertop people, you purchase the Quartz countertop in store then you call a different department for the template to be made, be warned the store told me that they would be out the next day if I needed it, but in reality they work on appointments a week to a week and a half in advance.  The cabinets need to be fully in place, appliances need to be fitted and after you have taken full responsibility for the template they draw up, it takes about 10 to 15 days to get your new countertop. 

After taking our old kitchen out three months ago I now have cabinets, not finished yet, some countertops but no stove top cut into them, I have a fully installed and working microwave, the dishwasher and oven are in place but not working yet, our refrigerator is in place and we had it before the whole new kitchen thing so that is still working, we have our template being drawn up for the Quartz on our island this Wednesday coming and I am making my third trip to IKEA this week to change and return parts… It’s been quite an experience, I’m hoping it will all be worth it in the end, by the time it is finished snow will be on the ground And I will have to relearn how to cook it’s been so long 😃

Photographic diary, Uncategorized

Just an idea…

I have fallen in love with photography… I have always loved to take photos, but mainly of my family and in the main when I processed my little roll of film some would be good and a lot would be bad.  In 2007 we moved over to the US and that was the year I got a DSLR, I think it was at that point my love of photography changed, the Internet was sitting there, there were websites like KODAK to share albums of photos to family and friends around the world, I think that was the change for me and little did I know back then how much I would grow to love this new world.


My family feel I post way too many photos on a daily basis and I will admit to being a little addicted.  So I was talking to Jordan the other day and he had the idea that I could set up a website gallery just for photography, he was saying he thought it would be good to just showcase a few of my very best photos, or the ones I thought were my best, I loved this idea instantly and have since been mulling it over in my mind… Ok I know I’m not the best photographer in the world, but some of my photos are decent, or at least I think they are.

Photography to me is like a link to my past, with 8 children I’m always so busy and I easily forget things, to me my photos link me to things I may forget, this sunflower for instance reminds me of two hot children wandering around a maze and a drip of sweat dripping down my back as the realization came to me that the day had turned out much hotter than I had expected it to be… Life 🌻

Uncategorized

Cowboy contractor

Well it’s officially been two months since we demo’d our kitchen, I have to tell you I really thought I would have my new one by now, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

There was a miscommunication between myself and our contractor that led to a delay in obtaining our permits, then we went on vacation and here we are today, still no kitchen but it’s getting there slowly.

Flooring is so incredibly expensive, I had not realized just how expensive until we started this process, we have swung from replacing our whole 600 square feet room flooring, to tiling just the kitchen area and then just sanding our original pine flooring and restainining, well the cost for replacing the wood floor alone was $6000 and that was with a reasonably priced wood floor, to tile just the kitchen area was another $6000, and as much as I would love to do this I think a tile accent at a later date will be the way we will proceed.  We have settled for the bargain priced sanding and restainining of our original floor boards, it’s half the price of the other options but still in my opinion an expensive option at $3000.  We hired a flooring contractor recommended by our project manager, not thinking about how it all works in the US, we took this guy at his word, I’m not a stupid person but in this case I feel very idiotic, he wrote a number on a scrap piece of paper as a quote, we wrote him a check for $500 and then another one for $750 a few days later even though he hadn’t started any work.  One month later he started work on our floor, he was late every single day, not just 30 minutes either, he was 5 hours late some days, when he did eventually arrive he would unload his limited equipment and kind of work for about an hour, then there was always an excuse why he had to leave… A 2 day job was taking 6 days and counting.  After a couple of days and a couple of hours of work he asked for another check this time for $1250, of course he didn’t give us a receipt again, he also wanted another check at the end of this week for another $1250, he explained the wood he placed into our floor had escalated from $400 to over $1000, even though he only bought approx 30ft of wood at $2.65 a foot,  I was totally against paying him more money, but Paul wrote him the check and I, a couple of days later stopped that check, thankfully. His time keeping was terrible, his work ethic was horrible, he diluted the stain with mineral oil and emulsifier, it was so diluted the floor looked like it hadn’t had any stain on it the following morning to him applying it, even the second coat is a totally different color from the one he showed us.  It took him 20 minutes to stain our 600 square foot room, in out and gone, I looked at him mopping the watery stain on the floor one day and thought, I could do that myself.   I approached him about the mineral oil added to the stain and he assured me he wasn’t duping me, he had been doing this for 32 years, he knew what he was doing.


The worst thing he did in my opinion was lie to us about the stain he was using, he assured us he was using a water based stain, because the smell of oil was overpowering and not good for us to be living in the house, Paul and I had gone backwards and forwards over an oil based stain over a water based one, I had somewhere to stay whilst it was being done with our children if we used the oil based stain, in the end we decided on the water based stain, as he recommended it would be best, unfortunately he was a liar, he used a cheap oil based stain diluted with mineral oil paint cleaner, the smell was intoxicating, he did not warn us to ventilate the house properly, he did not open a window or door in our kitchen, he just left letting us think he had used a low odor water based stain, of course we ventilated the house as best we could, but we slept in the house with these horrible fumes, I allowed my 2 and 5 year old to breathe in these toxic fumes, we suffered from headaches, irritability, and breathing difficulties.  He had to apply this stain twice as he had diluted it so much the first time, and on both occasions he did not inform us or ventilate in any way, in my opinion causing damage to our health.

I have since fired him and I am in the process of retreiving our money, thankfully I stopped the second check, when he found out he was not happy.  After some research I have found out that in the State of New Jersey you need to be registered with the state to be able to do any kind of construction work here, you need to fully disclose your State registration number, your business name and address and proof of liability insurance, you also need to provide a written quote for anything over $500, he did not fulfill any of these requirements, I have since asked for this information and he hasn’t supplied it, so I’m guessing he is not registered and if so I am fully within my rights to report him to the New Jersey Department for Law and Safety, they will then prosecute him for my loss of money and the first fine he will receive is $10,000.  I have one thing to thank him for, I now know my rights and that I need to make sure anyone we use in the future has all the States requirements before we hire them.


This is my finished kitchen floor and it doesn’t match the color of the other end of the room at all.