In Los Angeles pulling the trigger on any renovation truly feels like a commanded final decision, the sort of thing that either racks up the value of a home or plummets it to the size of a pea.
With contract work I take a middle stance between making suggestions on potential home improvement because all in all I want the homeowner to point blank just say what they need out of their kitchen remodeling job. The reason is simple.
You remodel for you.
Not for your friends / the next homeowners / the mailman.
You remodel your kitchen for you.
So you can tell me about how you can’t have your dream kitchen because it’ll stick out too much in a neighborhood that’s not heading your way. I’ll say don’t worry about it. Let them fall behind.
I’ll lead you through the biggest kitchen remodeling phobias homeowners have had, and explain how clearly it never mattered.
Countertops That Are Gentle Souls
A friend of mine after quitting his shaggy haired band settled with woman who was on track to get her doctorate. Long 3am hours on an ambulance teach you a lot, but in reference to our subject at hand - pay well enough to afford a home, even in Los Angeles.
They bought a house that they felt comfortable calling home over the next five years, within it, a kitchen countertop made of Corian. It scratched, burned, stained like porcelain, which made them have a very specific hatred for the thing.
At some point I was called in to see about countertop replacement. But it wasn’t a bad countertop. Free of charge I brought in a sander and by the end of my stay, every single one of those blemishes had left. The thing looked like new. Only the smallest speck of kitchen countertop repair was necessary.
A kitchen remodeling contractor will jump at the slightest possibility of making a dollar. Keep this in mind when looking at the small issues with your home, and wondering if the change is truly worth the cost.
Cabinets That Leak With Glue
There was a kitchen remodeling job I was called in for inspection in Koreatown, CA. They told me to park my car on the lawn and I was glad to considering I hadn’t seen a spot for miles. I pulled up to what looked like a 1960’s mansion which on the inside housed four families each in different apartments.
On further inspection the damage was only isolated over the stove where heat really got to the laminate, causing premature damage. Novel Remodeling had sent me to get something new in there, but here was still life in those cabinets. I told him that I would feel comfortable charging for simple kitchen cabinet repair.
Five years later I find myself finding myself in the same lot, and I met with the same homeowner. He said he was glad we hadn’t replaced the cabinets and that looking back he wondered how he could have even afforded it at the time. Luckily I was able to install a high quality replacement this time around.
Flooring Made to Handle a Family Not There
All I could say about this house is that it was carefully chosen. On the wall hung a porcelain gazelle’s head, horns acting as a coat hanger to bags, backpacks, a single coat. They were new homeowners, not-just-yet late twenties. They seemed to be buying at the prospect of having kids, but maybe it was just because I saw a cat on a scratch post, wearing a little blue t-shirt.
The couple wanted a new kitchen floors. Not just laminate. Floors that would last ‘for a while,’ which I took to be as ‘until the kid I don’t have yet graduates college,’ and the only floors they were truly settled on was bamboo. And you know my response by now.
I told them that floors of that sort were extremely costly, and completely not necessary. But it wasn’t just the firmness they were looking for, it was the look. Unique to the extent that your friends would take notice. So I suggested cork, and after a little conversation (yes it’s soft but surprisingly durable), they went for it as their kitchen flooring remodel.
When it was time for the kitchen flooring installation and they saw us laying little squares over their existing floor, they were a little skeptical but the final result had them amazed. It really was a talking piece.
Remodeling Your Kitchen For You
At the end of the day like all problems in Los Angeles, the little details are much smaller than you make them. This is completely true when it comes to a kitchen remodeling project. Simple repairs on an old kitchen can go a long way. You don’t need a complete remodeling job.
Many people don’t.