Kitchen Renovation It's A Numbers Game
By Susan D. Ferrell
Third Installment: Time
Welcome to the last installment of "Kitchen Renovation It's A Numbers Game." When I decided to add "time" to this series, I didn't realize it would be such a touchy subject. My first idea was to explain standard wait times for cabinets and high-end countertops and what season, I think, is an excellent time to renovate a kitchen. I will still include this in my post, but I have something to add first.
It has been several months since I was in retail sales and ten years since I was a designer. I wanted the content to be current, so I conducted research. I called a dozen local (Ontario Canada) home improvement retailers, furniture stores, and appliance outlets. I requested to speak with a manager about an article that I'm writing. When the manager answered, I introduced myself, explained what I was doing, and asked if they would answer this question:
Is there still a lengthy delay in manufactures delivering products to the store, or do you see an improvement?
I thought this was a simple question that had a No or Yes answer. When I left retail in June, there was still a lengthy delay on most of the products. It turned out that the question provoked a variety of responses, and I would like to share those with you.
The first couple of managers I spoke with abruptly referred me to their head office and ended the call. I didn't take offense because I understand the chain of command. Some corporations instruct managers at the store level to refer questions from the media to head office. I was flattered that they thought me a representative of the press. However, I wondered if this would be the response for every call, so I switched it up and talked with sales associates instead. A couple of them were defensive as they explained why there was a delay. I understood their response because I dealt with angry customers who did not understand the pandemic's repercussions on importing and exporting. We have come accustomed to living through a time of instant gratification. Some customers have no idea how far their purchase has to travel to get to them. Twenty months into the pandemic, I am sure sales associates are tired of having to explain. Other associates were vague, wouldn't commit to an answer, and suggested I speak with management.
In the next set of calls, I spoke with a manager, a customer service associate, and an associate from an Installs Department. They had varying responses. It depends on the product and manufacturer. - Yes, there is an improvement - No, there isn't an improvement.
So, now I am not sure what to tell you. It would seem my easy question has no easy answer and a lot of a grey area. I suppose cautioning you to wait to renovate your kitchen (if you don't like long or uncertain delays) might be appropriate at this time. I am sure, however, that retailers and manufacturers will disagree with me.
Instead, let me take you back to when I was a designer and general wait times were standard. I designed a kitchen for a customer who came back to the store (while the design was still with the 20/20 operator) demanding to pay for her kitchen and pick up her cabinets right away. She informed me that she and a family member tore the old kitchen apart over the weekend and needed the new cabinets before her husband returned home from a business trip. I explained that the 20/20 operator was working on a solution for the angled wall and that the design wasn't ready to sell. Well, she was pretty upset and, as they say, ripped me a new one. There was nothing I could say to console her, and I tried. In the end, I lost the sale.
I know; you wouldn't do this, but as you can see, it does happen. So let me be clear - Do Not tear out your old kitchen cabinets until the new ones are either at the store or sitting in boxes in your house. In a good year, custom cabinets take eight to ten weeks to arrive. During a pandemic, it could be several months. If you are renovating your kitchen with in-stock cabinets, there still might be a delay. Always err on the side of caution and expect delays.
If you are replacing just your countertop, a high-end one, like granite, takes three to four weeks to arrive. Again that is typical delivery times. If you tear up your existing countertop and there is a delay, you can use plywood as a surface while you wait for the new one.
If you see that the appliances you want are available, but your new kitchen isn't ready yet, don't wait, purchase now and store them. This advice also applies to cabinet hardware, flooring, backsplash, sinks, etc. In the long run, it will save you stress and heartache because delays happen. Trucks break down, ships get stuck in canals or sink, trains derail, and borders get closed. It's the reality we live in right now. And there is not much any of us can do about it but be patient until things return to "normal."
Wow, this post got a bit dark, didn't it. Let's lighten it up with this word; summer. I think renovating your kitchen at the beginning of summer is the best time of year to do it. Let me explain; better yet, let me summarize.
1. I live in southern Ontario; mid-June is perfect weather. It's not too cold or hot. It's the ideal time to renovate.
2. It's BBQ season. Who needs a stove when you can cook everything outdoors.
3. If you have to relocate your refrigerator to the garage (non-heated), you won't freeze while looking for something to eat like you would if you renovated in winter.
4. If the noise of drills, saws, and hammers is too much to bear, you can sit comfortably outside for hours on end.
5. After the kitchen is installed, you can open the windows to air out the sawdust, and sweaty work boot smells from your home without freezing everyone out. Not so in the winter, and you would have to wait till spring to air out the house.
6. December is months away. Pending any delays, your new kitchen should be ready for you to host a Christmas dinner.
Well, we have come to the end of "Kitchen Renovation It's A Numbers Game." I hope you found the information insightful and engaging. Make sure you check out the first two installments here
If you have any questions about this series or would like to send feedback, please email me at email@example.com with the blog post's name in the "Subject" line. Please stay tuned for the next interior decorating post, "Paint It's All About Undertones." In this post, I will talk about how colour affects our psyche and share pictures of my original artwork that I call Tint Blots.
Susan D. Ferrell was a kitchen designer and Home Improvement sales specialist. She has fifteen years of experience assisting customers with their renovation and interior decorating projects in various home improvement environments. Presently, she is transitioning from sales to writing content about the industry, related products, and services. Susan specializes in kitchen designing, colour coordination, and visual merchandising.