My Convertible Life

Monday, March 14, 2011

Remodeling 5: Hire People You Trust

Last August, I warned you what happens when you give a girl some crown molding. When I wrote that post, we'd actually completed the story through the shower remodel.

The rest started in November.

And by "the rest," I mean tearing out walls, installing a 600 lb steel beam in the ceiling, adding lighting, replacing ceilings, replacing floors, gutting the kitchen, removing the fireplace facade, adding lots of bookcases and cabinets, installing new trim, and painting everything. Plus relocating all the furniture and accessories a million times to accommodate all the work.

Damn. No wonder I'm exhausted. And we didn't even do any of the construction work ourselves.

But as of March 11, 2011, I have a fully functioning, totally remodeled kitchen. Let the people say Hallelujah! Can I get an Amen?!

It's been a long road -- and even though we're not 100 percent completely finished, I thought I'd designate this week as Five Lists About Home Renovations Week.

Today's theme is The House that Lakemont Built. One of the cool things about this big fat messy project is that we got to work with people in our neighborhood.

Here are five of our neighbors who helped make this new house possible -- plus a bonus neighbor from the first round of projects:
  1. Architect: Jennifer Heron Brock, JHB Architect. Jennifer spent many hours designing a plan that would be both structurally sound (important when you don't want your upstairs bedroom to land in your family room) and also incorporate all the changes to make the house live the way we want to live. Having architectural plans in place before anyone started swinging a sledge hammer gave me peace of mind that everyone working on the project would literally be on the same page.
  2. Contractor: Joe Fiore, Residential Remedies. Joe practically became part of our family over the past 4+ months. From hoisting a steel beam into the ceiling (with a little help) to sweeping up at the end of the day -- and everything in between -- he made the whole project come together. Plus, he let the kids feel like they were part of the project, too, even when it would have been easier to send them out of the way.
  3. Drywall: Juan Martinez, freelance. Juan made our ceilings so smooth they look like a freshly-Zambonied ice rink. You'd never know there's a layer of crappy popcorn hidden under there. He also spent a lot of time repairing all the walls after the electricians and plumbers were finished so that the paint would look perfect.
  4. Carpentry: Matt Kesterson, Kesterson Finish Carpentry. Matt turned a pile of wood into the most beautiful cabinetry, shelves, trim and mantel you can imagine. The level of detail -- from the way the baseboard traces behind the toilet plumbing to the special touches along the crown molding -- is absolutely gorgeous.
  5. Flooring: Jeff Armstrong, Brentwood Flooring (Cary). Jeff helped us select the perfect flooring for our house -- then made sure that the installers got everything just right. We had a not-so-great experience with hardwood installation at our last house, so it was a relief to know we were in good hands this time. And considering that the new floors cover the entire downstairs, we really had to get it right.
  6. Shower: Wally Ackerson, Acclaim Builders. Wally took care of our shower problem last year after we discovered the leak. Even though it meant cutting into the kitchen ceiling (leading us into the rest of this project), he left us with a beautiful shower that makes starting the day much brighter -- which is particularly important when the whole downstairs was such a disaster.
Stay tuned this week for tips about remodeling, how to survive without a kitchen, surprising things our contractor left behind and some much-anticipated before/after photos.


  1. Another reason we should have moved to NC: remodelers already lined up. It's impossible to find people you trust, so it's awesome you posted this.

    Now for those of us renting places across the country: SHOW US THE PICS! SHOW US THE PIC! I am stomping my feet AND pounding my fists right now.

  2. Yes it always necessary to hire a contractor that you can easily trust. Kitchen remodeling is never be so easy. If you dont have trust on your contractor at first meeting dont need to hire that one.
    Kitchen Remodeling Beverly Hills

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