Nearly there – after a week of final plans and last-minute changes, our kitchen is nearly complete!

Here is how the week has played out so far:

Sunday – We were able to trade the ancient oven in our kitchen with another guy in the building. Our stove, though old, was working fine – his oven had just conked out. So he slipped us $25 to help pay the removal fee, and swapped his oven for ours.

Monday – The demolition team arrived! For some reason, they didn’t know that we wanted them to dispose of the fridge and stove. After a couple of phone calls to the office, however, we sorted things out. We came home to an empty space where once there had been a kitchen…

In the evening, the Sears delivery guys arrived with the new appliances. Along with the Ikea boxes, there is no room left in the apartment at all.

Tuesday – The electrician came! Apparently, both the microwave and the dishwasher need dedicated circuits, so that was his job. He was a very handsome Aussie with a delightful accent, and he cringed when he realised the floor, ceiling, and one wall were all concrete. $550 later, however, he managed to get the job done (and barely broke a sweat – so, sadly, he didn’t need to take off his shirt!).

Wednesday – Installation Day! While I was at work, Toshi had the dubious honour of staying home to act as consultant for all the fiddly things that the installers had to ask about. Although there were a few panicked calls back and forth, by the time I got home, everything was in place!

What remains to be done:

Countertops – Measuring will be done on Friday, and the counter will arrive 10 days to 2 weeks later.

Tiling – The tile guy will come by to give us an estimate (also on Friday, it seems – oh, and of course, it’s Friday the 13th!).

Plumbing – The dishwasher needs to be hooked up, and the sink needs to be installed, but that has to wait until the countertop is in place!

Lessons we have learned:

1) Keep every bit of correspondence with the contractors. When doubt was cast on the company’s commitment to dispose of our old appliances, I was able to refer back to the email exchange addressing this issue.

2) Read carefully through all estimates. I thought we had covered everything, until I noticed (late Tuesday night) that the microwave installation was not included. Fortunately, I had kept the email referring to this service, so it was included.

3) (I may have mentioned this before, but) Do your research! I’ve read a lot of DIY websites, reviews, and how-to blogs about home renos. While I was happy to not be doing a lot of these big projects myself, I had a pretty solid idea of what to expect at each step, so there weren’t a lot of surprises.

4) Expect surprises. Until the contractors are actually on site, you just don’t know how things are going to go. Corners are not quite 90 degrees, measurements are not quite accurate, and plugs don’t fit quite how they’re supposed to. Be ready to adapt your expectations.

5) Sweat the small stuff. You’ve chosen the cabinet handles, but how exactly do you want them placed? 1 inch from the edge? 2 inches? You’ve got a bit of extra space – do you want the filler on the left side or the right? Try to consider all the options, so you’ll have the answers at the ready!

The biggest part is over! We will spend the next few weeks on the finishing touches, and tallying up the overall costs. I can’t wait to start cooking at home again!