Sunday, June 20, 2010

Kitchen Renovation In Progress!

Soon after moving in, we realized that we would be much happier if we renovated the kitchen. So, we started hunting for kitchen renovators, mainly using google and visited some kitchen showrooms (if anyone's looking, I'd say don't bother trying freedom kitchens. They decided that if we don't increase our budget to match their prices, it's not worth their time coming to quote!). I also found a pretty cool website - - that we can find tradespeople from. After a couple of quotes we were *almost* going to go with Zesta kitchens - but we thought we may be able to get cheaper appliances compared to the package they quoted us:
Joey wanted the 90cm set, upgrade to a canopy rangehood and add sink and tap, so that was $2420 + $499 + $238 = $3157... and with that, we were still not happy with their oven (we want something that can turn off by itself!) and the sink (we want a double sink, not 1.5 sinks!), so it seemed we needed to find these items on our own.

I therefore went to a Harvey Norman Commercial Division (and btw, they're a separate entity from Harvey Norman retail) warehouse clearance or something, which was in Brooklyn, 45 minutes west of where we are. First problem was parking, didn't realize there was going to be a crowd, so instead of getting there at opening time (8am), I ended up arriving at 10am... and since I was worried about getting fined, I had to park like 10 minutes walk away (which by my standards is pretty far! haha). Anyway, when I got to the building that's when the real wait begun - due to space limitations, there was a queue to go in - probably 5-6 people every few minutes were allowed to enter. I joined the line, which was by then a whole building away (sorry, no pictures - I refused to leave my place in the queue to go take a picture. lol!). So, I was in the line, slowly moving along, for almost 2 hours (yes, no typo errors... two hours.... thank goodness Joey and the kids didn't come. they were at home moving house with Elijah, Sarah and Naomi & friends). While in queue, I was talking to a friendly bloke in front of me, his name's Jason and he's a psychologist. Nice guy to chat with, which made the wait a little more bearable (the cold weather wasn't helping though!). In the conversation, I explained my reasons for being there, and he said if I was renovating my kitchen, I should try calling the guys who do his kitchens (he's done multiple kitchens through them already) - so, that's how I was introduced to Ace Craft Kitchens. Jason must have been godsent, though - he gave up waiting to get in and left after about 1.5 hours in queue. I guess he was meant to be there just to tell me to call Ace Craft =) My shopping went rather well, though. I bought a 90cm set:
- Technika Oven (it has the timers and all!)
- Blanco sink ,double basin with tap (hmm... just realized this may be the wrong way around...)
and it all came up to $1862 including delivery. Quite happy. the gas cooktop was another story on its own though - they had run out of 90cm cooktops while the sales guy was sticking the 'sold' stickers for me, so they agreed to order one... and it turned out the model they promised had been discontinued, so they decided to honour their sale and give me a free upgrade to the current version. That's customer service to be commended!

So, back to the kitchen tale - I contacted Leah from Ace Craft Kitchens, and apologized for the late notice, but explained that Jason asked me to call them and that I was about to book with Zesta unless they wanted to quote right away. Yet another miracle, she kinda squeezed us between the current appointment and delayed the next a little, so James was able to come right away! We were pretty impressed with James as he took very careful measurements, and was able to explain why the sink should be moved to be aligned with the centre of the windows etc. Furthermore, he took out a piece of paper and instantly sketched out - by hand! - the entire kitchen! Amazing. And if that wasn't enough, he came up with a pretty competitively priced quote too! They invited us to their factory, and were willing to wait til 7:00pm so Joey could come after work. We therefore visited their factory a short while later, where they had the computerized 3D image ready for us to view. We discussed on the design, door type, colours, materials etc. They adjusted the computer image to give us a printout, and a few hours later (thanks, Kathy for babysitting Ryan and Noel, it saved them a few hours of misery!), we paid a deposit and booked our kitchen.

We had some miscommunications on what they could and couldn't do and when, but last Friday, which was 14 days later, our kitchen was ready for installation (with the exception of the benchtop that will arrive on Monday) and James brought 2 of his guys - Andrew (who's supposed to be specializing in Ace Craft Dogs, I believe) and Joey (how coincidental is that?!) to remove the existing kitchen, on a Saturday! They finished in a short time, and gave us an 'offer we couldn't refuse' to remove our floor and lay the floorboards too. So, we agreed, and they worked late into the night... James left to get reinforcements and the 2 guys worked from morning til about dinner time ... when it suddenly dawned on us that they haven't had anything to eat! We bought back some KFC buckets to share and when James returned, with another 3 more guys, he even brought our kitchen over!

So here's our dining area, kitchen removed, with an impossibly huge pile of rubble left, and that's James with a piece of our new kitchen.
and here's Andrew and Joey, you can see how dark it is! so yeah, they worked pretty late... (thanks, Simon for lending us the wheelbarrow and shovels... saved alot of time and effort!)

and here's our pre-assembled new kitchens:

And this was today, Sunday (reaaally rare to find tradespeople working on a Sunday too!), James brought the 3 people back again... and here's our kitchen is partially set up...
and the floor's being laid...
they did a really nice job, although the finishing touches need to be added the next trip... probably Wednesday, which was our original planned installation day =)
so, the tale is still unfinished, but this is where we're at right now! James and Ace Craft have really gone beyond the call of duty to provide great customer service and we're definitely happy to refer them to anyone who wants to get a new kitchen (or bathroom, laundry or whatever cabinet-related job).


joshua said...

ATTOW, I think it should be finished.

acutelife said...

hi, im planning to renovate my kitchen too at the moment, and is kind of stuck in deciding who to go with. Can I ask how much in total did you spend for the kitchen,and also with ace craft kitchen? thank you in advance

Honey Cast said...

Hi, we are also wanting to renovate our kitchen, we've bought our appliances etc. and have had quotes from 3 different places already, we've tried to contact Ace kitchens, but have not heard from the after leaving a message !?. Is your kitchen finished yet? Happy overall? and as acutelife asked, but was your total cost, how did it compare with Zesta kitchens? Pleeease reply!

Anonymous said...

The hassles of renovation are something we must be patient about. I know it takes time, but in the end, you know it is worth it. And by now, I think the work is all done. I know this is a bit late, but I hope to see the pics of the big reveal! Muy caliente !

Terence Watthens