A Case Study
We were contacted by the client, Janet, to install new kitchen countertops in her Washington DC home. She wanted an all-white kitchen, and wanted stone countertops. She also wanted a new sink, fixtures, and repainted cabinets, but wanted to retain the wood floor.
The kitchen sported a traditional look, and had laminate counters put in around 2012. The laminate had begun to peel and crack and the dark cabinets that matched the laminate made the kitchen look gloomy. Janet wanted a whole new look while keeping the major components of the kitchen intact. She did not want a new kitchen layout.
It was not a complicated remodel, as we were only asked to install the new countertops and sink, as well as repaint the support structures and cabinets. We took pictures of the existing kitchen and made notes of what Janet wanted taken out and put in. We made suggestions for the type of sink and fixtures that would go well with the stone countertops, and the pros and cons of natural versus quartz stone for her new countertops. She emphasized that her main concern was function, and wanted good quality materials at a reasonable cost. We gave her an initial cost estimate and schedule, and scheduled a showroom visit so she could see what we had in stock. She agreed to come the following day.
Janet came after lunch and one of our showroom staff walked her through the granite and marble slabs we had in stock. She asked for a guide on granite slabs in Washington, DC that could work with what she wanted, and then asked for a catalog of the quartz slabs. We had discussed with her the benefits of engineered stone during the initial consultation, so she wanted to see what was on offer. She immediately picked out the Montclair white, which was a good choice for her all white kitchen. It was a little more expensive than expected, so she considered more affordable alternatives, but eventually went back to the Montclair white. She choose a double sink, new faucets, a straight edge for the stone, and a backsplash. Based on her choices and the initial measurements we made the day before, we sent her an updated cost estimate by email, as she requested.
Closing the deal
Janet got back to us after several days. She sent us a lower cost estimate from another company in the area, and asked for a revised cost estimate based on it. We explained that the cost estimate was for a lower quality stone and that we could match it, but did not recommend it as it would not be as durable as the Montclair white she had initially picked out. She said she would think about it. She called a few days later and said she would go with the original slab, but took out the backsplash to stay in budget. We modified the cost estimate, and sent it to her email. She came in the next day to sign the job order and pay the 50% deposit for the slabs. We scheduled a day for the fabricator to come in to take the final measurements and create the template.
We sent our fabricator to go on the scheduled day to make the templates. He set up a work area in the backyard and used the measurements to make a mockup of the countertops. He invited her to come to the showroom to see where how the layout will be. She declined. The would be no distinctive patterns in the stone she chose that she might have wanted to highlight, anyway, as Montclaire white is an engineered stone. The pattern would be uniform throughout the stone slab.
We scheduled installation for 10 days from the template making, and sent a prep crew two days before to remove the old countertops and the cabinets (for repainting). We asked Janet to make sure that the plumber and electrician came in before that time to lay the pipe work and electrical lines.
The prep crew retained most of the existing structure, but put additional support for the undermounted sink. They once again set up a work area in the backyard to do the sawing and painting. The cabinets were back on the wall by installation day.
The sink and accessories arrived with the cut slabs. The sink was installed first. Then the slabs were dry-fitted over it to make sure that all the cutouts aligned. It was a perfect fit. The installation crew asked Janet to check it before they applied the glue to fix the stone to the support structures. They polished and sealed the stone before putting in the fixtures.
The installers advised the client not to use the countertops for 12 hours, by which time the sealer would have dried thoroughly. The plumber could complete the connections for the water and the drain at any time. The crew cleaned up the kitchen and the work area, and removed all the debris. We then collected the remaining 50% of the bill.
We estimated that the project would take two weeks, but we actually completed it in 10 days. The longest delay was waiting for the manufacturer to deliver the stone slabs for fabrication. We came in right on budget and ahead of schedule. The client expressed a high satisfaction with the finished product and a willingness to work with us again at a future date.