Having spent most of my adult life living in an Upper Westside two bedroom co- op apartment in New York City, I've never really ever had the opportunity to develop those handy manly skills that most suburban men cultivate in life. Even when I was forced to establish temporary residences outside of New York for work, I always could depend on a readily- available building superintendent or porter to change washers in sinks and fix leaky pipes. My only understanding of the "gutter" is a somewhat vulgar expression for the part of a city street on which cars are parked. As I mentioned in my feature about transitioning from a Natural City Man to a Natural Desert Man, my husband and I have decided to sell our New York City residence and live permanently in the Rancho Mirage house in the Palm Springs area of Southern California that we purchased at the height of the housing market collapse in 2009. We love this house and our New York City residence has gotten too expensive and at the same time too small to house our personal lives and our home business at the same time. The one thing however we've never experienced first- hand is dealing with any kind of a housing renovation. The one demand I made in agreeing to buy this house, which my husband instantly fell in love with, is that the kitchen would have to be completely redone. I wanted new high- end stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and completely refaced cabinets. After surveying a lot of cabinet makers and granite countertop companies, we opted to engage Home Depot's Design Center, thinking that we'd have the luxury of one stop shopping and the coordination assistance of a big company such as Home Depot.
How wrong we were! The entire kitchen renovation has been nothing short of a nightmare. What nobody told me is that while Home Depot would like one to believe that they are capable of pulling together the services of first rate carpenters, granite makers, plumbers and designers in the Southern California desert that is simply not the case. Home Depot subcontracts everything and while the individual services of the companies they subcontract may be first rate, Home Depot's ability to schedule these services clearly is not. The communication steam from Home Depot as contractor to the home owner has been abysmal and a kitchen renovation that I was guaranteed would take approximately three weeks is now going on six weeks and so far the only parts of the project that have been completed are the elements I scheduled myself which consists of the carpentry work required to install a 36" high- end free- standing gas range to accompany a new 27" electric wall oven which I also replaced in the kitchen. The granite counter tops and fancy tile back splash I ordered have not been installed. Nor have the old kitchen tile counters been torn out to enable the new installation. My new Kohler porcelain cast iron sinks, one for the main sink and one for the kitchen island, are in boxes on the floor. My husband keeps telling me that the execution is going to be far better than initial scheduling and preparation but he's an optimist. I'm just hoping we can get through the next week and come out of it with running water!
(In case you're wondering, the naked carpenters and plumbers seen in this feature do not actually work for Home Depot! They are courtesy of my fantasy. )