Kitchen Remodel Goes Bad

Kitchen Remodel Goes Bad — REAL Bad!  Yesterday I showed you our new countertops delivered and installed.  I asked you if you could figure out the big OOPS!!?  Kimberly, Kathleen and Nancy totally figured it out.  The marble was suppose to be delivered Honed, not Polished.  And credit goes to those who mentioned the missing sink — that is also very true.  I added the sink’s location for those wondering where it belongs.  The sink couldn’t be cut for the island yet because first it needed to be honed.  Bummer that it wasn’t done before being delivered, but watching this beast get delivered, I couldn’t imagine  honing the island anywhere other than onsite at this point.  The stone fabricators took home the pieces on either side of the range so they could sand off the polished surface, then returned the next morning to work on the island.

Honed Carrara Marble @ItsOverflowing

Up to this point our head contractor had quit twice — the first time, after my entire kitchen was gutted — the second time, right before the marble was ordered because he needed the money for the counters or he was quitting.  He sent some very mean and disgruntle text messages to Stud.  Everything in us wanted to kick him to the curb, but we knew doing that would delay the process more and we were already worn out!  We continued obliging and even the day before these pictures were taken gave him another thousand dollars for the backsplash to get done.   We kept trying to hand out checks because we really wanted to get this done and had the thought that Money makes people work.  We learned it does just the opposite.  Money makes people walk!  

Carrara Marble in Kitchen @ItsOverflowing

When the stone fabricators returned to hone the island, a different crew of guys came to tile the backsplash.  I wanted a White Subway Tile Herringbone backsplash with white grout.  I emailed and texted an example picture to the contractor.  I liked the white quarter rounds as a border, but because I only needed a backsplash on one wall, I chose a trim that would allow as many changes in the herringbone pattern as possible.

Tile Trim for Backsplash @ItsOverflowing

I love the thin border that these tile trims offer and it cuts easily with a hacksaw.

Simple Kitchen Backsplash Trim @ItsOverflowing

 Let the backsplash begin!

Backsplash Tile Trim @ItsOverflowing

Another picture of some progress!

Thin Backsplash Trim @ItsOverflowing

And a few minutes after this picture was taken — someone lost their temper.

Herringbone Backsplash @ItsOverflowing

It wasn’t any of these guys!

Kitchen Remodel Disaster @ItsOverflowing

The contractor came into the house with angry eyes.  I headed to my office to avoid him and at the same time, looked over at Big B and told him I was going to need him to be my shadow for the next little bit.  Mrs. Lane, Mrs. Lane — I could hear from my office.  I stepped out into the kitchen and Big B followed closely behind.  How do you like the backsplash?  It looks great…except…um…I think the tiles were suppose to flow horizontal not vertical!?!  I followed up with, But it looks VERY Nice — in effort to keep the peace.  And then he turned to me and said, Would you follow me?  I had seen him extend this invitation countless times to Stud where he obliged and dished out more money.  At this moment I knew the end was drawing near, but I didn’t know how abruptly!  I followed him to the front porch with Big B at my heels.  And then as he motioned for me to continue further.  I said, This is as far as I’m going.  His eyes grew more upset.

Herringbone Subway Tile Backsplash @ItsOverflowing

He then began, Mrs. Lane, the countertops aren’t honed because Mr. Lane never told me.  And the backsplash wasn’t right because Mr. Lane messed up.  To which I responded, Let’s not blame Mr. Lane.  He doesn’t know the difference between honed and polished and he’s not the contractor, he has been out of town, and the information I requested has been on every sheet of information I have given to you.  LLLOONNNGGG Silence.  He continued, It was the guys, they messed up, I’m really sorry they aren’t doing a good job.  (I had listened to a month of blaming and lying from this man and at this point I did a bad job holding my tongue).  These guys have been working very hard and done an amazing job.  The kitchen looks very nice.  I have been so impressed with their quality and work ethic.  I understand you have a lot going on.  You accidentally messing up on a detail is okay, I understand.  I make mistakes, too.  We all do!  I appreciate your guys working to fix these mess ups.  

Picture a red faced man about to BLOW UP!  

Herringbone Subway Tile Backsplash @ItsOverflowing

At this, he yelled a bunch of stuff — a messy mix of English and Spanish.  He walked away.  Then he turned back around looked me in the eye and said, That’s it, we’re done!  He opened the front door and screamed another messy mix of English and Spanish and ended in clear English so I’d understand.  Get your stuff and get out or here, we’re through!

Herringbone Subway Tiles @ItsOverflowing

The tile guys looked at me and told me how sorry they were to leave the job incomplete.  They wrote down their phone number for me so they could complete the job later.  They told me to make sure I didn’t tell the contractor I had their number because you never know and he left it at that.  The stone fabricators weren’t sure what to do because they were an independent company hired by the contractor rather than one of his day laborers.  I felt pretty shaky and scared so I asked them if they’d come back the next day.  They were super sweet and said they would.  The head stone guy also said, The contractor yelled at me in a mean way earlier.  He was wigging out or something.  Pretty scary!  He double checked that I was okay and at that point my neighbor was already over to check on me — don’t you love the convenience of texting!  I left the house to meet my sister for lunch and Stud started receiving apology texts from the contractor — over and over again.  I think I upset your wife.  I’m sorry.  I still want to finish the job.  Stud and I talked it over and decided that it was no longer safe to continue with this guy.  Yes, we finally came to our senses!

Kitchen Remodel @ItsOverflowing

At this point we had paid 77% of the job and still lacked the cabinets being alligned, completion of honing the stone, a kitchen sink, the range being installed, the hood being installed, the hood being trimmed, the backsplash being tiled correctly, a final coat of paint…I know I’m missing something!?!  We felt like we would be out some extra money getting this job complete, but knew it wouldn’t be wise to ask for any money to be returned.  We responded back to the contractor.  We appreciate your help up to this point, the kitchen looks very nice.  You have asked to be done and we honor that request.

He never responded.  A part of me felt relieved.

And another part totally frustrated … it’s hard living in a mess!

Creating Our Dream Kitchen.


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  1. Sandra says:

    Hi! Came across your blog searching for herringbone pattern subway tile. Did you finish your kitchen? Hope you don’t mind my questions….what color are your cabinets and what color grout did you end up using? Also, is your subway tile matte or glossy? Thank you so much! Although it is not finished in these pictures, it looks amazing!!!

  2. Marie Celeste says:

    this is nuts. That’s why I actually go with a reputable company. I did my kitchen with Sears Home Services and if I have any issues I dial the 1800#

  3. WOW what an asshat! THIS is why I couldn’t do a remodel — I would be a contractor’s worst nightmare. If you pay for something then they need to deliver on what you pay for and THEN you pay. I can understand paying for materials up front but man alive, I’ve been in the legal industry too long and seen too many suits… to trust anyone. I so hope that good will come of this…and that karma bites that guy right in the butt cheek!

    • I don’t know that I could ever do it again April!!! Our biggest mistake was hiring him!!! My mom-in-law calls him a contractor pimp — pretty fitting since the only thing he did was collect payment — over and over again until we gave in over and over again! XO, Aimee

  4. Wow, what a jerk! I’m glad you kicked him to the curb. Your kitchen looks amazing even though you’ve had to endure such service.

  5. Oh my, how awful, and scary too, to have a man blow up at you like that. He’s probably been very successful at intimidating lots of customers into giving him extra money and accepting mediocre work just to appease him and get rid of him! Unfortunately, this teaches us all that the best way to deal with a contractor in a major project like a kitchen remodel is through an escrow agent. The agent holds the money and disburses it as work is done and also collected ALL lien waivers so you don’t get blindsided down the road by third parties filing liens against your home for non-payment by the primary contractor — I’m sure that has happened to some of your readers. You end up paying twice in order to get rid of the lien, the existence of which could potentially trigger a foreclosure threat by your mortgage lender if there is a mortgage on the property, as it would be a violation of one of the standard terms in the mortgage (not allowing liens to be placed against the property). I hope you will be able to find even-tempered reliable people to finish the work for you. The kitchen looks really great right now, I love it all and wish I could afford to do something similar in my much smaller space. I really want a marble (or marble look) countertop to replace my worn and scarred formica that I inherited from my sellers in the house I recently bought. Good luck to you — am eager to see the finished product down the road.

  6. Aimee, what a nightmare! I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with that. I see a huge light at the end of the tunnel, though, your kitchen will be stunning in the end!

    • Thank you so much Jennifer!!! I am definitely trying to focus as I ride this crazy roller coaster ride!!! I hope you’re having a great week friend!!! XO, Aimee

  7. Stephanie says:

    Whoa…..I follow lots of blogs, including yours and don’t really comment often. This though deserves an “atta’ girl” in every way. The fact that you’ve put up with this much so far, and then chose your “choice” words with grace is commendable. Good on ya. I probably wouldn’t have been able to handle as much, but you did the right thing. So sorry you’ve had such a terrible experience, but you are going to have a beautiful kitchen when this is all done. I’m sure you’ve thought of this, but you may want to check with the independent companies and the stone guys to verify how much or if they’ve been paid…..you could have some liens on you property if they don’t get paid by the contractor. Good luck!

    • Hi Stephanie! You are so kind to take the time to leave me a comment of encouragement, perspective, and counsel!!! XO, Aimee

  8. Wow. Just wow. I work in the industry and NEVER have I heard of a contractor being so disrespectful. Sure, they can be rude, but this was over the top. I’m glad you allowed him to retire from your services 🙂

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