Friday, June 27, 2008

going in circles..

It's been awhile since I posted anything.. seems like it's been awhile since any progress has been made. We've been going in circles a bit with getting the radiant fins up because I didn't want to run them under the kitchen cabinets, but we're not exactly sure where that's going to be.
To that end, I wanted to hire some expert advice on planning the space in the kitchen, and in a couple key other spots in the house so we could have a long-range plan we could work from.

I asked around, we asked here, and I searched the internet for designers.. The first round of cold emails got about a 5% response rate. Of the people who did call back, most were very professional and either said up front they didn't want the job because they only do complete beginning-to-end renovations (most of these folks suggested other people that would be more suited), or made arrangements to come see the place.

Some of the people that came to do an onsite consultation charged, some said they would charge but didn't, and all were punctual and professional. I also went out to a couple places and worked from the house and kitchen plans Dan made up.

One place in Berkeley I'd heard about from several different places including several recommendations from the Berkeley Parents Network I kept giving up on, but then kept trying again because I'd hear another great thing about them.. they didn't respond at all to my first email, so after a month of not making very much progress finding a designer I called and spoke someone who suggested I come in for a consultation. They preferred to have the appts M-F, but I have to work if I expect to be able to pay for cabinets, and they were able to arrange an appointment for me to come in on a Saturday. The quality of the cabinets seemed good, it was a line we hadn't heard of before, but the person helping us informed us after about an hour that he was the "B team," and that the "real designer" only worked M-F. OK, fine.. a copy of our drawings and the details we discussed would be left with the designer, who would get back to us with an estimate.
After a week I called and left a message wondering when we could expect the estimate. After another week of no response at all I called 4 times in 3 days and, except for the last time, was told my call would be returned in an hour or so, or when so-and-so got back from lunch, or from the job site. The last time I called I said I was getting the impression they didn't want to work with me and was told so-and-so had been at a job site all week and would call when he returned to the office. That was more than a week ago.
It's things like that that have been eating up the time and sucking the life out this project.
All told I think I talked with about 20 designers, and met with about 9

After everyone we've talked with, we've decided to go, ironically, with the very first person who called me back after my original query. Took awhile for us to actually get a chance to talk, and then to meet, but I think she'll have some good ideas for us. We've also had some blog readers submit really helpful ideas so I'm feeling pretty confident that the plan we come up with will be one that will be one we can live with for the rest of our lives.

I'm also talking to local cabinetmakers about pricing, and most of them also offer at least as much design services as are needed to get from the floorplan to cabinets on the walls.

So things are inching along.. I could start on the "we've been really busy at work" sob story, but I don't think that's going to change, so we're trying to figure out how to keep up a reasonable rate of progress.. hopefully there will be more interesting news to report soon


Kitt said...

Fingers crossed!

Any place that can return your calls in a timely fashion isn't worth it, no matter how many rave reviews they've gotten. You know they'll flake out later, too.

Kitt said...

Er, that should be "any place that CAN'T return your calls ..."