A typical Saturday color consultation turned into an intervention for a remodel the following Monday afternoon. Here's what happened :
Recently, I had a client who was desperate to have her color palette chosen for the paints in her kitchen and breakfast nook areas. Her contractor had given her the contact information for his painting contractor sub and she contacted that person only to have him bring over a brochure that he'd piked up at the paint store. They were all the off-white selections. And the color chips were all very, very tiny. I mean T-I-N-Y! Like only a quarter inch by a quarter inch in size.
Her assignment: to have any and all colors selected by the following Monday.
She was in a panic and had seen my ad online for a color consultant. I had to give her my newsflash opinion: The contractor is working FOR HER. The timing of this particular decision to have ALL the colors was preposterous, and the contractor needed to cool his jets or risk losing the job. Period.
You see, when she revealed the details that NOT ONE cabinet, counter top, flooring, plumbing or electrical element was in place, there would be no way to wisely select any paint colors. Why? BECAUSE ALL OF THESE ELEMENTS SUCK UP AND AFFECT THE FINAL LIGHTING SITUATION FOR ANY GIVEN AREA.
Contractors typically treat remodels like this, too. It's considered 'normal'.
After we spent an hour together going over her remodel plans and ideas about the final look of the appliances and other elements, we set up a time to meet with the general contractor the following Monday afternoon to discuss how the homeowner wanted to proceed. The contractor was taken aback that the homeowner had discussed the project at all with anyone else and was not too pleased about it - at first.
My background in conflict resolution has informed these types of situations. I was able to get a type of communication going with both parties so that the homeowner had an advocate to take charge of her project in a more directed manner, and the contractor was able to run through all aspects of the remodel in a smooth fashion as a result of the careful planning we set up together. This example is illustrative of all-too-many contractor-client scenes where the homeowner is female and not educated in the process of remodeling or construction, and the contractor is a male who's used to simply having his way and doesn't think highly of the process or importance of the painting aspect of the project.
In this case, we set a schedule for the cabinets to go in first (cherry), the flooring next (blue Marmoleum), the huge counter top installed (colored concrete), all tiling (backsplash), the final trim installed (windows, door frames, moulding), and then the lighting installed- completely. The appliances could wait until after the painting was done.
Sound like a long time before the paint goes up? Well, it's more expensive, wasteful and can take MORE time if you choose the final paint colors too soon only to find that the walls go dingy, too light or too dark in color, the cabinets stand out in a weird way or the counter reflects up on the backsplash to cause the tiles to look mis-matched with the paint color.
The act of applying paint has been traditionally considered to be a sloppy task and one that's best done early-on to avoid messing up or destroying anything. The reality is is that painting - when done properly - can be the cleanest, neatest and less messy job than the other jobs that have to occur (plumbing, electrical, sheet rocking, carpentry, flooring, etc). Any good painter knows how to mask well, and if you've got a painter who balks at this idea- get rid of them! and QUICKLY! Painters with this type of resistant attitude are likely to do other things like walk on your carpets without shoe protection or leave your toilet seat up and water slobbered all over the counter after using the bathroom! BLECH!
So...here's what you should tell your contractor as your remodel is about to take place so as to avoid potential conflict:
Install all elements. Everything should be "PAINT-READY" only. The color selection and final painting will be LAST and the painter should come in prior to all the elements being installed only to get the surfaces READY for the final application of paint. There are RARE EXCEPTIONS to this rule.
If you'd like to speak with me directly about this topic, please feel free to call me. I have unlimited minutes and a great passion to empower the homeowner. DON'T ALLOW YOUR CONTRACTOR TO BULLY YOU INTO MAKING DECISIONS TOO EARLY!
There's a link embedded above (in the title) for a local flooring store: FLOORING ALTERNATIVES in Berkeley. Fantastic selections, all 'green' options, and very competitive pricing for excellent product & services.