home improvements
Brent Poole
Home Improvements

“Hi Brent,” was the greeting I received when entering a new client’s home. “This way, come through.” I followed behind and wandered into the kitchen.

“Here are the plans, we are ready to proceed with our new kitchen renovation,” my client tells me, smiling from ear to ear like a Cheshire cat.

“I will have the team here next week and we will get you your dream kitchen.” I replied. The client goes on to inform me that everything has been ordered, including appliances. The drawings will be here for me as a contractor to work from. It should be a walk in the park, I think to myself. Then again there are always demons bouncing about, never really knowing what you will discover when you start a new renovation.

It was all going smoothly. The top cupboards have been removed, when my sparky stops by. He and I are checking dimensions and measurements from the drawings. A problem reveals itself very quickly!

A new nightmare for my clients to digest, are my thoughts. I connect with them and ask for a site meeting the following morning. Time will tell I think to myself.

The following day, bright and early, I arrive on site with my clients beaming at how the work had been progressing. This was all about to change. A short conversation later, raised voices, upset feelings, emotions running too high, a decision had been presented and agreed upon.

What happened honestly happens to more people than you can imagine. To start with the kitchen was not large but had the potential to be dazzling, albeit but for a few minor alterations. The person who sold herself as being a kitchen designer had completed the initial task of drawings for the new kitchen but had gotten the measurements somewhat wrong. That is putting it very politely!

• The wall units had positioned the appliances together: a large two-fold door fridge alongside the oven, hot against cold. The oven, which was at waist high, had a microwave above. When you opened the door to the microwave to remove hot food, it stood five feet high, a little too high for safety?

• The island was a nice add-on to the kitchen in the drawings, but when placed in the real world it took up too much space. Following the drawings meant the fridge could not fully open. Would you want this? Not only that but the door to the outside garden, which opened inwards like all doors in our province, only half opened. (Talk about incorrect measurements.) Again, would you want this?

What this all boils down to are simple mistakes like this can cause major headaches. When deciding on any renovations, always consult an expert. These drawings had been put together by a friend who was in the business. I would not recommend them though.

You must be sure that everything works. You have to take into account doors and their openings. Think about how the kitchen will work. Perhaps measure it out on a sheet of paper, place the pieces together to give you a better perspective of what it might be like. But even then, looking at a piece of paper, three dimensional or not, will not always give you the right outcome.

The site meeting brought forward some corrections and the job was finished, but it should never have come to that point. Remember consulting the experts is great, you have to live with your decisions, so it is important to be happy with the finished result.

Brent Poole is the owner operator of Handy Hands Construction, which he has run with his father Jim since 1997. A carpenter by trade, Brent enjoys all types of projects. “We’re not happy until you are happy!”