Well, the unbelievable happened! The contractor actually contacted JT to get photos of the reno. The gall! We have a long memory and the bitterness of the experience is far from being gone (my heart races even as I type this). I will not participate in helping this lying contractor suck anyone else into his mire web of deception! In fact, we just noticed another unfortunate customer on Annette Ave. with his sign on the front lawn. Good luck to you all. Run, run run like the wind.
Caveat: the photos on this site are the sole property of this blog’s architect and may not be used by anyone else.
Well, the party is over and everyone has seen the reno so here are some photos.
Back of the house before:
After (since this photo was taken we’ve finished the interlocking path around the new addition) – note that the interlocking was existing and since it is strictly path, and will be mostly under a new deck which we’ll build in 2008, we decided to reuse the old brick.
Before: This is the view of the old kitchen from the dining room:
This didn’t exist before, view of the apron sink and new kitchen window from top of stairs to basement (the old sink used to be approximately where the small prep sink is in the island, which is approx. where the house used to end.).
New desk and window seat (new windows overlooking the backyard).
New tea cup cabinet for the tea cups I inherited from JT’s Mom. New entrance to basement is under the clock (old entrance – to the left of the light switches below the clock – was from the front hall which is now a closet)
Before, looking into the dining room:
After (no more hanging cabinets to obstruct the view and light and we made the peninsula counter height – yes you have to keep the kitchen tidy!):
Old staircase to basement:
New front hall closet and powder room with pocket door (on left):
Basement before (the wall with the built-ins is the back of the house, compare to the new wall below with the window!):
After (note that the house used to end approximately where the fireplace ends):
Well, that’s about it. We’re still furnishing the basement, but everything else is done! Would we do it again,? NO. The result is good, but frankly, I would have preferred never to come across our contractor, even though he did come through at the end mostly due to our perseverance. That kind of stress is never worth it (my heart races even now as I recall some of his tactics).
These are the trades I would recommend:
Kitchen cabinet maker: Team Wood
Master Electrician, Steven: Tairic Controls
Soapstone counters: Canadian Soapstone
Heating: World of Comfort
Rod the plumber: 416 434 8971
And of course, our lead carpenter, Todd U, who is apparently on Facebook and I am not, so you’ll have to search him out yourself. You will also catch glimpses of him in an upcoming HGTV show by Peter Falico.
We had the bash. Lots of planning and getting things ready and by all accounts a success!
I did all of the food, of course, as JT would say! I asked Stacey to help me again because it allows me to enjoy my own party! I decided to keep the hot items to a minimum, since there will be a lot of action in the new kitchen and Stacey won’t be able to move freely within!
Chorizo sausage w. bread
Mediterranean meatballs (these flopped mainly because they were unseen!!)
Bacon wrapped dates
Warm onion confit and goat cheese w. creme fraiche pizza
Shrimp in an ice bowl
Mini smoked salmon, cream cheese bagels
Roasted red peppers and feta w. balsamic dressing
Tomato, bocconcini, basil skewers
Crudité w. blue cheese and onion confit dip
Cheese plate (St. André, Brie, Jarlsberg, Blue, Cheddar)
Sushi (was a bust, really bad rice!)
No sugar peanut butter cookies
Two bite brownies
Hot apple cider
We’re done, finished, but I thought this is important enough to reiterate with several more tags so when people search, they will read this.
NEVER PAY THE CONTRACTOR IN FULL BEFORE THE WORK IS DONE. The horror stories are endless (yes, one of our AH’s customer did just that!). In Canada, you legally have the right to hold back 10%. The contractor may try to finesse it differently, but 10% is the deal. Substantial finish is the wording, but you really need to be satisfied. So if your contractor has been lying and perhaps not finishing as quickly as he had indicated, your hold back is your ONLY leverage.
Before you pay out, wait 45 days after the last work has been done on your place and contact your lawyer to ensure there are no liens against your house. A lien can be put on by anyone the contractor owes money to on your behalf (yes, this is true even though you have paid the contractor). Excerpt from the Toronto Home Builders Association Renovation Guide: “The Construction Lien Act allows you to withhold 10 per cent of the cost for 45 days following substantial completion of the project. This protects you if the renovator fails to pay all the subcontractors and suppliers, and is not related to ensuring that the job is done right.” Ironically our contractor is also a member of both associations!
Here is another guide: Ontario Home Builders Association
Here is another link that may be helpful: Reno Blog Spot
It’s November 8 and the building inspector has come by the house to inspect the things that JT and I were responsible for to close the permit. He hardly even looked at them, but then again, they are our own responsibility after all it is our home.
The building permit is closed. Finally. We can say we are truly done!
It’s party time!
We’re done with it. Finished. Completed. The AH is finally out of our lives. He has finished everything and now I could forget about his ugly lying face.
This weekend the carpet goes in, and we can finally finish furnishing the basement. No more photos until the party…you’ll just have to wait and see (provided you’re invited!).
Stay tuned for other blogs…I may just have to start one about something else…too late. I’ve started a blog about my experiences in the kitchen….see the link to the right.