Hey there. My name is Anna. I live with my husband, David, in Vienna in Northern Virginia. For years and years, we just rented apartments together. We worked hard and saved up to get our own place. He works as a cashier in the local bank, and I’m a corporate administrative assistant. On the side, he does some gardening work, and I teach English online for extra cash. We never had the big bucks but always had enough to pay our way. I would say that we are the epitome of good, honest Americans, determined to make our way in the world without handouts or dishonesty.
The dream we shared, though, was to have our own place. Renting apartments was always fine, but we longed to have our own space. Having control over decorating decisions and whether or not we had a pet always seemed like such an improvement. In any case, we are both thirty years old now. Apartment living is okay for a young couple, but now we are older, we might want kids. With that in mind, we just needed more space. It was better for us to get our own place before we had kids anyway. We didn’t want the pressure of finding somewhere while I was pregnant, nor did we want our children growing up on a building site.
So, we set about looking. It was a long process. So many places priced us out. We weren’t averse to paying to have work done on any property, but it had to come to the right price to begin with. Anyway, after months of disappointment and anxiety, we found the place and our offer was accepted.
It was an old-fashioned single-story house with three bedrooms. The interior decoration was so outdated. I think the previous occupier had been living there since it was built in the 1970s and had never bothered to decorate. For example, the kitchen was a disgrace. The entire thing was covered in lime green tiles. The concrete floor had a thin carpet over it. Anybody who has ever cooked anything in their life knows that no one needs carpet in the kitchen. The cupboard doors were coming off their hinges, and the entire space was illuminated by just one hanging lightbulb.
To make matters worse, the kitchen looked like it had barely been cleaned in its entire existence. Grime appeared to be embedded into the surfaces. Both David and I agreed that the whole thing would have to go. We would rip it out and start again, build our own creation. This was effectively our decision with the whole property. The only thing that we wanted to leave in place was the roof and the walls. Everything else had to be changed and rebuilt to our specification. Sure, this would cost a little bit of money, and our budget was fairly tight, but by the end, we would have the house of our dreams.
The kitchen was the starting point. First of all, because we wanted to live in the house right away. If we started on the bedrooms or living areas, then our lives would be disrupted significantly from the get-go. The kitchen, on the other hand, presented the least amount of inconvenience. Sure, there would be an uncomfortable period of eating takeaway every night, which would be expensive too, but that pain would be worth it. Once it was done, we could move onto the rest of the property.
It seemed like a good plan at the time. It wasn’t. The nightmare that ensued around that kitchen taught me a lesson that I will never forget. I will never forgive those responsible for what happened, including myself. It was a total disaster, and I am now writing this as a warning. Do not make the same mistakes we did. We made blunder after blunder. It ended up costing us thousands beyond what was reasonable. To make matters worse, the emotional cost was so much more than that.
Before I can properly describe what went wrong, I have to tell you what we were trying to get done. We wanted the kitchen to be extended. It was not really big enough for our needs, especially if we were going to raise a family in it. So, we needed to carry out some home additions knocking out a wall and extending the space into the garden a little bit. We needed the kitchen remodeled completely. It was open plan and decorated in the most grotesque way possible. Instead, we wanted a clean, classy look with an island in the center where my family and I could eat and socialize.
Once the kitchen was done, all three bedrooms and the lounge needed to be done. They were decorated with discolored white wallpaper that had turned a sort of yellow over the years. We did not need much done in them other than a redecoration, with the walls getting replastered and painted a new shade of white. A lick of paint would have solved many of the problems in the house, making it seem brighter and less dated. This was something that we identified the moment we moved in and wanted to get started with as soon as the kitchen was done.
The bathroom was the final issue. Perhaps one of the biggest inconveniences of the property is that it only had one bathroom to begin with. The style of the bathroom was the next issue. Although it was a good size, the bathroom’s décor was not dissimilar to the kitchen. Everybody knows that the best color for a bathroom is white. Why the designers decades ago decided that lime green was the best shade, I will never know. Of course, the area has dilapidated over the years, but I cannot imagine that it ever looked any good to begin with. Even being in there at all made me feel nauseous.
Given my description of the house, you might be wondering why we even bought it at all. That is understandable, as I can see that I have been less than complimentary about the state of the property. The simple answer is that it was within our budget. If we could have purchased somewhere cheap that was also our dream home, then, of course, we would have. The plan was to get this place for a low price and then have a relatively low-cost renovation, meaning we had our perfect house for less than we could have paid. Of course, we were willing to spend some money, but we intended to be as frugal as possible.
The first issue we ran into was getting a contractor to do the work. I can now see that choosing the right contractor is potentially the most important part of any project. At the time, we did not choose the right contractor. We chose the one that was cheapest and available at the earliest opportunity. We should have spent time doing research, looking at a variety of contractors across the surrounding areas like McLean, Great Falls, Reston and Arlington. Instead, we just chose the cheapest one from Vienna. I won’t name them out of courtesy, but we made a huge mistake. We ignored their bad reviews because of their low pricing and willingness to do the job straight away. We were just so desperate to get the job done immediately (yesterday would have been preferable) and for a low cost. In the end, it cost us more time and money than it would have done if we’d have just done our research properly.
The company turned up two hours late on the first day of the job. Both David and I had taken a day off work to oversee the first day and welcome the workmen. Already, we had lost two precious hours of time on the project, as well as two hours that we could have been at work. To their credit, the workmen did start work as soon as they got there, beginning to process of demolishing the wall to extend the kitchen’s area. Although, by the end of the day, they had caused unwanted damage to the roof, which we intended to keep largely intact. Already, after just a few hours, the additional costs had started to rack up.
The extension took what felt like forever, almost the entire amount of time we had budgeted for the whole project. Every day, it felt like we were running into a new issue. It did not matter what was happening, there was always something to make it worse. The builders we had chosen charged a cheap rate but charged by the day. Every day, they were late. Sometimes, they would not work at all if the weather was not perfect. I cannot describe to you how many coffee breaks were had. It is not healthy to have that much coffee, surely. Then, occasionally, they would tell me that some material or tool they needed was not available or had increased in price for some obscure reason. All of this meant extra time and extra money being added to the job.
Both David and I felt humiliated by the time the first stage of the project was completed. We had burned through almost our entire budget on what was supposed to be just a small part of the project. So angry were we that we decided to complain to the contractor’s management. In fairness, they were understanding and helpful, although I now realize that this is because they were accustomed to dealing with complaints on a regular basis. All of their customers were disgruntled and for the same reasons as we were.
The management offered us a discounted rate for the rest of the kitchen, as well as their personal assurance that the levels of professionalism would increase and that they would use only the finest and highest quality materials on our job. I cannot believe how stupid we were. We believed them. We swallowed the sales pitch, the lie: hook, line, and sinker.
The kitchen design they gave us for the remodeling was good. Well, it looked good in the pictures, which had undoubtedly been edited beyond recognition. Maybe they were made on a computer in the first place. I cannot tell. Suffice to say, the final version did not look like what we were promised.
As I have said, we wanted a clean, white kitchen, with an island in the center. More than anything, we wanted to reduce clutter and have a place that was practical for kitchen tasks but also comfortable enough to spend time in every day. We received neither of these things.
The issues around timeliness did not resolve themselves, despite the resolution from contractor management. They still turned up late. They still did not turn up in bad weather (even though the job was now primarily inside). They still had issues with tools and materials. Their problems obtaining the correct apparatus for the job led to us accepting cream furnishings for the kitchen instead of white. We now have cream tiles and cupboards, with a white sink. The cream tiles remind me of the original faded white wallpaper in the bedrooms and lounge. The very aesthetic we were trying to avoid is the one we had installed.
I still cannot believe this, but one of the cabinets actually fell off before the kitchen was fully remodeled and installed. This is a particularly impressive example of shoddy workmanship, considering we had not even used the kitchen cabinets yet. Surely these people cannot have been professional kitchen cabinet installers. Any person with any experience could have surely fitted a cabinet without it falling off before the conclusion of the project! I still cannot get my head around it.
At the end of the kitchen remodeling, it looked nothing like the model we had been shown. It was a different color. None of the finishing was done properly. Bits of grouting between the tiles had been spread over the lines and had not been cleaned up at all. The light fittings were done how we asked but occasionally flickered when we turned them on. The sink was a different color from the cabinets and tiles. David put a spirit level on the counter of the island and realize it was not even straight. If you filled a glass of water to the brim, it would spill. We were devastated. We had gone so far over budget that we may as well have used one of the more expensive professionals. Our quick job had become protracted, and we had barely started, there was still the rest of the house to do.
We could not carry on with this contractor. Even though we had come so far with them, we could not do any more. We decided to change contractor and cut our losses. This time, we did our research and looked for an experienced professional with a degree of integrity and skill. We looked at reviews and pricing. Eventually, we decided to go with Explore Kitchens, who are based not too far away, in McLean, VA. They were able to come out to us straight away to price up the job. The project was priced honestly. The quote was more expensive than the previous company, but we were more confident that it would not be exceeded and that we could depend on them to keep to their promises. Similarly, the job was predicted to take a little bit longer, but this was okay. A longer deadline that is actually met is better than a short one that is missed.
We chose them to undertake the bathroom remodeling work and the home remodeling tasks. They did an excellent job, with everything being done as promised and within budget. They used high-quality materials that I am confident will be durable and not need repairing for a long time to come. It is a shame that they were not around to do the original home additions and kitchen remodeling because they would have done such a better job.
Although the kitchen is not what we wanted, Explore Kitchens have done an amazing job with the rest of the place. They were truly professional and greatly exceeded our expectations. In all likelihood, when we have saved up a little more, we will go back to them to realize our kitchen dream and get it back to how it should be. It is a shame that we have to get Explore Kitchens to remodel somebody else’s work, but we will feel better once it has been done.
I think we were naïve in our hope that we could get a perfect job for such a low cost. We looked at other projects that had been expensive although well crafted and thought we could get the same result for a low price. We thought that we could outsmart the system, that everybody else was stupid for following the status quo. We thought that the more expensive and reputable companies were conmen, keen to make extra money off unsuspecting and gullible customers. As it turned out, we were the gullible ones. My face still turns red with embarrassment just thinking about it now.
I cannot overstate how much we recommend Explore Kitchens for anyone in Northern Virginia. Please, learn from our experience. If you try to go cheap, you will end up paying twice. If you want it done yesterday, you should be prepared to wait a year. If you’re in McLean, Vienna, Great Falls, Reston, Arlington or Virginia, you should use them. Whether you’re after kitchen remodelers, kitchen design, kitchen cabinet installers, or just tile and flooring, they are certainly the company for you. I am happy to write this recommendation for them so that other people do not make the same mistakes that David and I did.
The post An Incredible story from our Client appeared first on Explore Kitchens – Kitchen Remodeling in McLean, VA.
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When it comes to bathroom cabinets, one of the trendiest but also a timeless look is white bathroom cabinets. A bathroom with white cabinets looks clean, bright and open, so that you can feel more comfortable while getting ready for your day or brushing your teeth and doing skin care before bed. There are a
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If your kitchen is a little on the small side and you want to make the most of the space that you have, you are probably wondering about finding some small kitchen ideas on a budget. Doing a small kitchen renovation on a budget can seem like a real challenge, but with the right research
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One of the most important elements that will create and shape the look and feel of your kitchen are the kitchen cabinet doors. Whatever style you are trying to create in your kitchen, the cabinet doors are going to be one of the first things people see and will make or break your design goals.
The post Top 10 Different Types of Kitchen Cabinet Doors appeared first on Kitchen Remodeling & Bath Remodel Services | USA Cabinet Store.
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Over the years, the term in-stock cabinets has become a little synonymous with the kitchen. Having become a staple of the room over the last few decades, many homeowners simply believe them to be suitable for that one room.
However, that is not the case, and utilizing them in other rooms can help to you transform your home. As technology and materials advance, in-stock cabinets are able to offer you with some truly beautiful designs and styles that can help you to elevate any interior.
Still not sure? We thought we would take a closer look at how they can enhance some of the most popular rooms in your home…
In-stock Cabinets for Bathrooms
Your bathroom is one of the most-used rooms in the home, and storage is an incredibly important feature. Installing in-stock cabinets in your bathroom can provide you with a wide range of benefits, including:
Allowing you to enjoy a unique design that combines storage with countertop space. This will let you display things such as cosmetics or various décor options.In-stock cabinets for the bathroom can also help you to make better use of your existing space. If you find your bathroom has unused nooks, then adding a cabinet can help you to add the perfect finishing touch.Adding an in-stock cabinet can also help you get rid of the traditional pedestal sink storage, reducing the clutter in your bathroom.
In-stock Cabinets for Laundry Rooms
The laundry room is another very important space within the home. However, for many homeowners, this room remains a functional, if slightly uninspiring, area. In-stock cabinets can help you to transform your laundry room in multiple ways:
By providing greater storage and organisation for your essential supplies. They can also help to keep supplies out of sight from children or pets.They can also add additional countertop space to fold or iron your clothes.In-stock cabinets can also help to provide seating space for your family, which can be useful if you are putting on shoes or getting ready to head outside.
In-stock Cabinets for Wine and Coffee Bars
Looking to create a truly unique wine or coffee bar in your home? In-stock cabinets are a fantastic way to transform any space:
Help you to create a dedicated bar space to entertain friends and familyProvide you with additional storage and organisation to keep ice buckets, glasses, and anything else you need.Boost the visual appeal of any room by creating a tidy and stylish bar area that is both eye-catching and functional. They can also be tailored to meet any interior design, ensuring you have the perfect matching cabinets.
In-stock Cabinets for Home Offices
As more people work remotely, in-stock cabinets are quickly becoming a must-have accessory for any home office. These unique solutions can help you to:
Enjoy a clear workstation, allowing you to quickly create the perfect home office solution to store everything you need.They can also help you to improve your organization and reduce any clutter by giving you a secure place to store them.In-stock cabinets can also create a more inviting space to work from, making it more enjoyable to work from (while also looking far better on your next Zoom call!)
In-stock Cabinets for Dining Rooms
No matter whether you are eating with your family or entertaining friends, your dining room is often the heart of any home. Adding in-stock cabinets can help you to:
Enjoy an ample serving space, allowing you to serve guests directly at the table or creating a delicious buffet spread for those more relaxed occasions.Not only do they help you to bring more dishes through to the dining room, but in-stock cabinets can also free up space on the dining table, helping to make it feel less cluttered.In-stock cabinets can also help you to transform the aesthetics of your dining room, allowing you to create a modern and stylish interior that your guests will love.
In-stock Cabinets for Bedrooms
Whether you are looking to store accessories and cosmetics, or you just need more space in your bedroom, in-stock cabinets can help you to transform your bedroom in multiple ways, including:
Acting as a makeup station. The flat surface is the perfect spot to add a mirror and lighting, allowing you to stop trying to apply your makeup standing in front of the bathroom mirror.For students, an in-stock cabinet can also double as a fantastic desk for remote learning, allowing them to complete homework and lessons in a private space.In-stock cabinets for bedrooms can also help to reduce clutter by providing ample storage space for a huge array of items.
In-stock Cabinets for Playrooms
Children’s playrooms can often be a messy space, so adding an in-stock cabinet can transform your interior in multiple ways:
They are a great way to neatly store and organize all of your child’s favorite toys. Allowing you to keep them out of sight while remaining easily accessible.In-stock cabinets can also double up as a fantastic desk space that your child can use for their drawings and colorings in.They are also a very stylish solution that can help to either enhance the existing décor or add a splash of additional color and texture.
In-stock Cabinets for Entertainment Rooms
Do you regularly host fun nights for your friends and family? If so, in-stock cabinets for entertainment rooms can provide an array of benefits, including:
Increasing the amount of usable storage space. No matter whether it is storing your favorite DVDs or records or keeping some of your favorite drinks out of sight, this storage space can be invaluable.With all that storage space, you can remove the messy and unsightly clutter, helping to create a cleaner and less distracting room for your guests.In-stock cabinets for entertainment rooms are also a great way to transform the interior of any room, allowing you to create the perfect décor for your home.
Looking for in-stock cabinets?
If you are looking to transform your home with some beautiful and stylish in-stock cabinets, then Explore Kitchens is here to help you. We provide our customers with the very best cabinet solutions, operating across Northern Virginia.
So no matter which room you are looking to transform in your home, our experienced team is here to help you create the perfect interior. Want to find out more? Get in touch today!
The post How In-Stock Cabinets Can Transform Your Home! appeared first on Explore Kitchens – Kitchen Remodeling in McLean, VA.
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A kitchen backsplash is an inexpensive way to transform the look and feel of your kitchen. So rather than just wearing yourself out by obsessing over the so-called ‘nitty-gritty,’ give yourself a treat with the 10 stunning backsplash tile ideas, which will most likely make your kitchen really stand out. Modern kitchens are highly technical havens which often combine granite, stainless steel appliances with wooden or plastic countertops. But that kind of design has been around for such a long time now, that it’s not really new anymore!
For a great contemporary feel, try combining bold, textured and colorful tiles on a warm color palette. Bright colors like red, orange, yellow and green are all great choices for bringing life to your kitchen backsplash. The cool thing about these colors is that they don’t necessarily need to be hot colors such as red or orange. You can even get away with using warmer colors such as coral, turquoise and pink. Just be sure to pick light colored tiles for contrast and to balance the tile color.
Another great backsplash ideas is to use contrasting tiles. This works especially well if you have a very modern looking kitchen. If you have a nice stainless steel or copper sink, try incorporating matching stainless steel or copper tiles on top of one another. You can do this using warm colors too, such as yellows, oranges and browns. It’s fun to experiment with different textures and hues.
For a truly custom kitchen backsplash, there are a variety of natural materials that you can use. Granite, limestone, concrete and even stone can all work beautifully in your kitchen. One thing you want to avoid is using any natural materials that have high acidity levels. This can cause damage to your walls and counter tops over time. Stick to materials such as granite or limestone that are low in acid.
Mosaic tiles are a popular choice for backsplashes. They are made by grinding together pieces of glass and plastic. Then they are sealed in a process called fusing. The result is a tile that has glass fibers in its face and underneath. These fibers give this back splash beautiful color and are often used on countertops and fireplace mantels.
Homeowners who are concerned about adding beauty but also want their home to be highly durable should consider ceramic tile backsplashes. This material is created through the heating of ceramic chips until they become soft enough to mold into different shapes. After they harden, you can then lay them in the molds and create the look you want. This type of splash is great if you want a ceramic tile countertop or fireplace surround. It is also great for adding color to a wall.
Glass is also one of the most popular materials used in kitchen backsplash projects. The reason why it’s so popular is that it looks sleek and modern. Because it is still possible to use glass with a modern feel, it works well with stainless steel appliances and other modern fixtures. However, if you like a more classic style, you may want to stick with stone. It is often used to create a more organic look that fits in with other more traditional designs.
Using natural stone for your backsplash is a great way to add color but still maintains a modern flair. Because it is so durable, grout lines are not necessary to keep the stones in place. This means that you don’t need to worry about a sloppy application of grout when using porcelain tiles. With a little bit of imagination, you can create a backlash that is seamless and beautiful.