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Posted at 11:46 AM ET, 01/20/2012

My renovation saga: Kitchen makeover, part 2

Special to The Washington Post


(Linda Roth)

In our previous installment, Burleith homeowner Linda Roth was contending with mounds of dust and delays as her kitchen was being remodeled. This time, Roth shares some of the lessons she took away from the experience.

It seems everyone has a story of the workers suddenly not showing up one day — or two or three days — and never learning this in advance. Often they are moved to another job while awaiting something that has not yet been delivered that is important for the job to proceed. Couldn’t you tell me that?

After complaining to anyone who would listen, I got the same response — this happens to many people who renovate. Now that my kitchen renovation is complete, here’s what I wish I had thought of in advance and suggest you do:


Linda Roth recommends that homeowners find out the daily schedule of contractors working on their home renovations. (Linda Roth)

■ Ask for an outline of what you need to make decisions on — cabinets, tile floor, granite countertops — so that you can coordinate the colors. I had chosen the cabinets when they were in the midst of construction. I was asked to rush home from work and choose a tile from the samples. The cabinets were in the boxes, so I could not coordinate the color. Two weeks earlier, I chose the granite, but my memory was all I had to rely on — plus my iPhone camera. No color coordination there either.


(Linda Roth)

■ Ask what is on their schedule for the next day, so you know if they plan to come in the next day.

■ Remove your pets from the house when they are doing demolition, as they will be terrified of any loud noise for the next week and will never want you to leave the house. And a cloud of dust will emerge from her with each step your dog or cat takes.

■ Before they will tear down the old cabinets and a wall, make sure they put plastic over your remaining furniture or in the doorway that divides the construction area from the rest of the house. I did not. And was living in and breathing in construction soot.

■ Ask what the protocol is for cleaning the construction dirt from your house. Did no one ever teach construction guys to put their leftover lunch, half-eaten Tasty Cakes and beverages into a trash bag? I’m grateful they did not smoke in my house. But let me tell you about the Coke bottles and planters filled with cigarette butts soaking in water, on the patio table. I wanted to let it sit that way until the general contractor showed up to see it. But he didn’t come. I could not stand it anymore and dumped their trash into my trash bags. And I had to seal it so that the mice (or my dog) wouldn’t feast on the Tasty Cakes.

Linda Roth is a homeowner in Burleith and owner of Linda Roth Associates, a public relations firm whose clients include a home remodeling show.

Do you have a renovation saga to share? Breathing new life into an aging kitchen, bathroom or living room can increase the value of your house. But with the rewards of home remodeling come risks — cost overruns, design mistakes, scheduling mishaps, you name it.

This series of renovation sagas invites readers to share their harrowing tales for a little catharsis and to help reno-rookies avoid wandering down a similar path.

If you would like to share your own remodeling tale, e-mail douglasd@washpost.com.

By Linda Roth  |  11:46 AM ET, 01/20/2012

 
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