4. Save a little, splurge a little
Yes, material me wanted custom cabinets. But the professional cook in me wanted a heavy-duty French range that I’d had my eye on for a long time. The solution? Semi-custom cabinets — not quite as top-drawer (pun intended) as the custom line, but still good construction, with a decent array of styles and finishes. What we saved on cabinets we put toward that range, the focal point of the kitchen and, practically speaking, where I do most of my work.
5. Expect one nightmare
In my case it was an electrician who miswired that new range. Although I felt foolish, even patronizing, I had made the electrician and project manager watch a manufacturer’s video on how to uncrate, move and install the range. I was assured that it was in good hands. Even so, the electrician used the wrong electric cord, one that was way too powerful. He also broke a part trying to install it and didn’t tell me about it — just wrapped it all up in electrical tape and hid the mess behind the back panel. When I tried to ignite a burner, just about every electrical connection in the appliance got fried. It took an appliance repair specialist many hours of work over three visits to fix it. The contractor apologized profusely and repeatedly and paid for all the repairs.
6. No pain, no gain
It’s hard to kick yourself out of your own kitchen for two months. The kitchen truly is the heart of our home, and not having one drove the kids up to their rooms, which to me was almost as bad as the range debacle. We set up a makeshift kitchen in the garage, which was fun for about five minutes. But in the end, the cliche is right: You’ll forget (most of) the bad stuff (see No. 5) and, with a little luck, be satisfied you made the leap.