Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I made it back home by Christmas Day. A lot of decompressing and trying to cope with having no medication for three weeks (thanks to the FDA who stopped them from going through, I am starting almost all over again... c'est la vie.)

Holidays are a good time to think things over. And there are more thoughts to be thought than I have room in my brain to comprehend concerning this kitchen renovation (one of many things on the list of to-dos). But before I can reflect, I need to catch you up on all the plans that have been considered.

I consulted with Cornerstone Kitchen Designs prior to moving into the house. They provide an free in-house consultation. So I set up a meeting the first week that we moved in. A designer came with an assistant who took measurements of the space. Then a few days later, I met with them for a presentation of the design that they recommended.

What I have discovered is that these kitchen designers really only provide cabinetry (typically custom made for your space) and countertops. The rest of the kitchen is up to the client to take care of. So like Vancouver Cabinets told me, I need to arrange to get a contractor to prepare the space, and choose and buy the appliances myself.

Since I have not yet agreed to acquire their services, the official design stays with them and belongs to them. So let me show you approximately what Cornerstone suggested for me. Excuse my very rough hand-drawn rendition. It's just for you to get the gist of the idea.

They know my budget is very tight. In fact, the more I speak with them and others, the more I realize how tight my budget really is. I'm going to have to get really creative to make it work. This was part of the reasoning behind their suggestions.

These are their main suggestions:

1. Leave the sink and stove where they currently are. 
Installing new piping to move the sink where the stove is now, is apparently quite costly. On the other side of the wall where the kitchen sink currently is, is the bathroom. So it's been efficiently placed there for obvious reasons.

2. Create a pass-through instead of tearing down the wall.
Since the stove cannot be freestanding in a space without a wall, they suggest not to tear down the wall, but instead create a pass-through, which is kind of like a square hole through the wall. It's a very wide, but not-so-high pass-through that will allow for a view into the rec room from the stove. The reason for this is there has to be a splash wall behind the oven so the cooking mess won't "splash" over to the carpet on the other side. A pass-through also saves a lot of money repairing the ceiling and flooring if the wall were removed.

3. Make a dining area in the kitchen.
The designer suggested putting an eating area in the middle of the kitchen. Apparently there is a lot of dead space that could be made useful for more cabinetry. And since I have a very awkward set up with the formal dining room upstairs and the kitchen downstairs, I needed a solution for everyday eating near the kitchen.

Some nice ideas. In fact, they were the only ideas going through my head.

The cost for all this? Their quote to me is $12,900 for cabinetry and installation ($14,448 incl HST).

What it doesn't include are things like the sink and fixtures, the countertops ($4765 incl HST), the tiles and installation (they projected about $650, or $728 incl HST), and of course, the cost of construction (and supplies) from the contractor. A deposit of $1220 will release the designs to me (I assume this is the cost of my buying the intellectual property to the design) and will get the ball rolling.

OK lets do some calculations.

Cabinetry, tiling and quartz countertop together would cost me $19,941.

That leaves me only $5059 to cover the cost of the contractor, the sink and fixtures, and no room for adjustments. Yikes.

I asked them to refer me to a contractor. I had a very interesting conversation with Owen, who contacted me right away. More about that in the next post.

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