This post is kind of boring, but important in the grand scheme of the renovation. Our team was the main reason why our renovation went so smoothly. Before renovating, I would not have known how many people were involved in the process. The goal of this post is to give you an idea of what and who to expect at your house during a renovation.
The contractor is the team leader; essentially, they are the go-to person for everything related to the job. The contractor plans the job, assembles a team of subcontractors, and usually does a bunch of the work themselves (at least in our case, he did). It is ESSENTIAL that you hire a reputable contractor. I’ve heard nightmare stories about contractors who took clients’ money and never showed up, or didn’t finish the job. Word of mouth is probably the best way to find a good contractor. Ask about cost, reliability, and quality of their work. We are fortunate in that our contractor is a family friend who is very reliable and does excellent work.
Other team members
The architect draws plans for the house. Whether you need an architect or an engineer (or both) depends on the scope of your job. For a cosmetic renovation, you probably won’t need either. We took down a supporting wall, and needed both.
This is the person who tells you which walls you can and cannot take down, and what you will need to do once walls are removed. I’m sure their job is more complicated, but this is what it boils down to. I wanted to take down a small wall that supports beams in multiple directions (thanks, mid-century house built in the shape of a “Y”), and he told me that it was not possible. He was right. That wall is still up.
You will, in some capacity, need a designer. I did not hire an outside designer because I designed the layout of the kitchen myself. My husband and I did spend quite a lot of time going back and forth with each other about what to do, but ultimately I didn’t need an outside opinion since this was a fairly limited job, and I have strong opinions on just about everything.
Our cabinetmakers have an in-house designer that designs the nitty-gritty layout of the cabinets. She was tremendously helpful in determining the sizing of cabinets, drawers, sinks, etc. once I showed her my very rough sketches of where I wanted things to be.
We chose colors and materials with the help of our designer at Metropolitan Cabinet. I showed her a picture of a cabinet finish I liked, and she led me to a similar, more appealing finish that I loved. She also helped us understand aspects of cabinets that I wouldn’t have thought of. Did you know that solid wood slab cabinets bow over time? I didn’t. That’s why we had to use a veneer and not solid wood. Fascinating.
My sister, Melanie, also came with me to the cabinet store to pick out finishes. She helped me behind the scenes with choosing tile, hardware, faucets, etc.
These are the people that come in and demolish the existing kitchen. You and your contractor may be able to do this on their own, but we could not, so we had a crew.
The plumber works on plumbing. Kind of a no-brainer, there. Since we have forced hot water heat, he also worked on rerouting that when we removed a wall with a baseboard.
The electrician installs electrical components, and makes sure everything is up to code. Lots of our kitchen was NOT up to code before we started work.
The tiler lays down tile. He installed our floor tile as well as our backsplash. I’m so thankful that our contractor knew of a great tiler, because he really did impeccable work.
Our house does not have natural gas, but I wanted a gas stove. The solution was to bring in a propane tank. We chose a propane company that our neighbors use, and they installed a tank that we rent from them. They ran the line through our basement, and up into the cooktop.
Did you have other team members help with your renovation? I’d love to hear about it below! Also, check out my post about planning our kitchen renovation.