So. We bought a house. We waited and saved a really long time for that house, and when we got it we were going to get a ready-to-move-in 4 bedroom.
And then we got a really great deal on a fixer-upper, so we scrapped that idea and decided to be crazy instead!! Yay crazy! Since all I’ve been doing for the last few months is HOUSE I thought I’d share with you guys a few of the things that were good, bad, and ugly about the move and renovation, since many of you have asked me about how it’s going or who we’re using, etc.
Our home inspector, who, giving credit where it’s due, was recommended by the Realtor (who was not my favorite)- was totally amazing. His name is Dave Thompson of Equity Home Inspection, and you can holla at him at 703-470-9571. I believe he’s also a contractor, but the main point here is that he does a really really REALLY good job at home inspection.
Let’s start with the kitchen. The dishwasher worked!! Sadly, that was the only working appliance that we inherited from the previous owners. The cabinets were peeling black paint, and the floors were broken ceramic tile. Also, orange. I realize that’s not a sentence, but seriously. Orange.
We used Luna for our flooring and they were very accommodating about ordering the floor I wanted for the kitchen- I wanted “luxury vinyl” which looks like ceramic but won’t break everytime your kids drop something. They had that, but not in the color I wanted, but they got it. With Luna, our experience was that the price was good, the products were good, and the logistics were really bad. They didn’t have enough carpet to do our install, they didn’t have enough quarter round to do our install, and then they got glue from the kitchen floor all over our hardwood floors. It took several phone calls, but they did eventually send back a team to fix it, so the floors look beautiful now, but it was kind of a headache. I hear that your experience can vary greatly depending on your install team.
Next, we (and I say we here, but I mean “my husband and my mom”) refinished the cabinets using Rustoleum’s Cabinet Transformations Kit. We’re still in a “time will tell” stage about that, but we definitely had issues with the faux wood on the end of the cabinets. It’s also super time consuming, so if you’re planning to use it rather than having to sand and refinish, you’re not really going to save time. They spent 45 hours doing the cabinets for our kitchen using the clean, degloss, two base coats, glaze, and top coat process. The glaze is optional, but drastically changes the color in some cases. There is a 100% satisfaction guarantee, but they won’t necessarily email/call/tweet you back to respond to issues. They look really good except the small spots on the cabinet ends, and honestly, I’m so happy the island isn’t orange that I don’t even notice. On the up side, the kit runs you around $75 which is WAY THE HECK cheaper than buying new cabinets or having Sears come and reface everything for you.
For our countertops we used Granite and Marble Express. They showed up when they said they were going to show up, they took their shoes off on our new floors without being asked, they installed quickly and efficiently, they cleaned up their mess (if you’ve ever had contractors you know this is a big deal) and the end result was gorgeous. Well, I think it was gorgeous, you can think whatever you want.
So for our cooktop, we had to get a cooktop with a downdraft because of the way that the kitchen was built, which meant we had to get a Jenn-Air. If you are in the market for appliances like that (by which I mean “our kids are not going to college”) Appliance Distributors Unlimited in Chantilly was incredibly knowledgeable. According to PwcDad they know “literally everything” and can tell you each tiny little difference, every review that’s ever been written about every appliance they carry, and while they only carry high-end products, their prices were really good considering what you’re purchasing. Ted Ashby was the contractor that installed our appliances, and he did a great job. 703-371-4336.
New kitchen. Yay!
Next, there was lots of painting. We used to really love Lowe’s paint, but the new type of Valspar with paint and primer Signature kind of sucked. In some rooms we had no problem with it, but in other rooms it was like it wouldn’t stick to the wall. We used trisodium phosphate (TSP) on all the walls to clean them and get the crayon and the stickers and the food residue and the “I’m not sure what that is, just clean it” off, so they should have all worked the same. However, it all ended up looking really good, some rooms just took more coats than others. Shoutout to Kilz, if you’ve never used it, because that stuff will cover ANYTHING, including black ceilings. Before:
This took one coat of Killz and two coats of white ceiling paint to turn into this:
The final contractor I want to share about is Victor Canizalez and his cell is 571-332-7728. The master bathroom was leaking down into the family room, and so there was a lot of work that had to get redone, from plumbing to broken tile. Not only did the bathroom turn out beautiful (this picture is from mid-renovation), Victor and his team ALWAYS showed up when they said they were going to show up, they were fast, and incredibly affordable. He came highly recommended from two friends in Lake Ridge who’d used him for various projects, and they were not wrong.
This is just the stuff that we had to fix to be able to live in the house- we’ll still be fixing things for awhile, but it’s been a fun process to watch, and exciting to see the results! Have a favorite contractor? Leave a comment with their information below.
Disclaimer: Nobody paid me, gave me a discount, or even knew I wrote this website. I just had a lot of questions during this process and I know people are always looking for feedback on contractors, so I’m sharing.