Kitchen Renovation Part 1: The Selection Process

About a year ago we started seriously discussing making improvements to our house. Do we spend money on the current house or look for a new house? I considered moving, but couldn’t imagine leaving our neighborhood. Was our house falling apart? No, but it was built in 1987 and the upgrades made by the previous owners were starting to need attention. We have been in our house for almost 10 years. Tile was chipped away in front of our new dishwasher. The cabinets had all been refaced, but the laminate was peeling off all over. Space was wasted and disorganized. Having people over inside of our house was cramped. Everyone crowded around the kitchen island…no one would step into the empty dining room. Many bottoms were busted by the refrigerator door. Entertaining was frustrating. It was time for an overhaul.


But where to begin? I needed design help. Definitely not my God given talent. I have many, many friends who have an eye for that sort of thing. Not me. And I would drive them and Andy insane if we relied on those friends to help us through the process. I question every color, look, decision, etc. We needed the whole package as far as help was concerned.

So last fall we talked to different companies about designing our kitchen and bathrooms. Just going through that process was exhausting. We narrowed it down to two options. Jim Carver and Sons won for Best Photos and no obligation. We spent about 5 hours of our time and zero dollars working with them to put a plan together. The cost was definitely an estimate. Nothing was based upon our actual choices. Rough, rough estimate. We would pick items out as we went through the construction process. Andy and I were given a stack of color 8x10s showing us our kitchen possibilities (example in lower right photo). But when we discussed colors, etc. the answer always was “Well, you just tell us what you want and we’ll do it.” That was the problem. We didn’t know what we wanted. I didn’t have a true vision of look and feel and colors.


Leaving that meeting convinced us we needed an actual designer. And that’s one of the main reasons why we chose Bauscher. They were also recommended by someone in the neighborhood and their interaction and customer service early-on was unbeatable. But the interior designer? The lady who would hold my hand and discuss tile backsplashes and colors and floors and paint? Who would guide me through the entire process? She was worth every penny.

Bauscher won’t show you ideas or designs until you are under contract with them for the design process. You pay a down payment to work with the designer for 60-90 days to completely put together your choices – the cabinets YOU want, the counters YOU want, the tile YOU want. And then they create a construction contract with a real price. No +- $20,000 that every other place told us to expect depending on our choices. These WERE our choices in the contract. Decide to go forward? Your deposit goes toward the project. Decide to wait or have someone else do the work? Your deposit pays for the designer’s time.

For us it was a great experience. The lady I worked with was amazing. I’m excited about the choices we made together. I am still in awe of how she took “overwhelming” out of the equation. Many neighbors have been updating their bathrooms and I’ve heard horror stories about traveling around to multiple tile stores to find matches, figure out what looks best, etc. In less than 2 hours we picked floor, backsplash and decorative tile for 2 bathrooms and backsplash and decorative tile for the kitchen and dining room within my budget. Her expertise was priceless.

And I still giggle about the choices we tried to convince Andy were real ideas. “But Andy, the nest chandelier is perfect for the kitchen since we back up to the woods. It will help connect the outdoors to our home. It will make us one with nature.”  He may not forgive me for that one for a long time.


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