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That 3.5 month remodel project that I’ve mentioned took a lot of my time and patience and finished at a solid 4 months.  Even at that, finished is a loose term as we still have finishing details being attended to on a daily basis.

The latest finishing detail is a redo on the final wood floor coat.  Hence, I’m writing this blog this evening from the comfort of somebody else’s home.  Thank goodness furniture shopping has been a trying activity.  As it is, we had to move too much furniture through hallways and small doorways of our newly painted condo, clearing the aforementioned floor for sanding and coating.  Ugh!

But, even with this hiccup, we are in!  The satisfaction of seeing our work in a nearly finished state is quite rewarding and it is feeling more like home every day.  Now, we’re down to the fun stuff, like shopping.  Enter allmodern.com – my new favorite shop!  I must preface this by saying that we love Tommy at DWR (and wouldn’t buy any key pieces online) and we had a great delivery experience with Room & Board, but allmodern.com is pretty awesome.

With a huge selection of just about any home category you can think (modern, of course), terrific filtering capabilities, competitive prices and free shipping, why wouldn’t one shop at allmodern.com??  But wait, there’s more!!  The real story here is about their customer service which is off the charts.  It’s the new Zappos or Nordstrom, I’m quite sure.

Every single person I’ve come in contact with (and, unfortunately, I’ve come in contact with a lot with this project and my questions) has been over the top pleasant, informed and out to help me.  Let me add that their nice as pie service is absolutely genuine and real.  There’s no one trying to fake it.  When is the last time you were given the CS person’s direct line before hanging up so that you can call them directly with any followup questions or issues??

They are angels when it comes to returns and god knows that when you are buying home purchases, sight unseen, returns are bound to happen.  Our latest return was a pricey chandalier which we thought we’d love, but were disappointed when we opened the box.  With not a blink of an eye they sent me the return labels.  We had to pay for the return, but it was quite reasonable for this gi-normous box and any lighting store in the city would charge a restocking fee, plus give you a guilt trip for the return.  Ahh, it feels good to get a little TLC from an online retailer or any retailer for that matter.    It’s

So, lessons learned or confirmed in our first remodel, in no particular order:

  1. Ask to see *live* work samples from the big vendors (ie. contractor, cabinet maker, painter, etc.)
  2. Be over explicit on everything, even if you think it is obvious or you think you are being a pain in the neck.  You are helping yourself and everyone involved in the project.  Don’t be shy!
  3. Be involved so that everyone is on the same page at all times and you catch things as they happen.
  4. Have someone help you come up with a real budget for the things that you are responsible for (that is not covered by your contractor).  These things add up fast!
  5. Get a list of what you, personally, need to buy/arrange with deadlines and plan on everything taking 4-6 weeks…and some things much longer!  Finding these things can take many hours too!
  6. Working with good people that you like (that gut feel thing) is hugely important in making this process a successful one.
  7. Talk to friends and family for references on people, places, shops, online resources, etc.  A recommendation can save you a lot of time and money!
  8. It’s a stressful, time consuming and a less than perfect process.  Remember the big picture and how great your place is or will be when it’s all done.  The teeny tiny details and imperfections along the way will drive you to the looney bin if you let them.  Enjoy it and congrats on your new ___(you fill in the blank)___!

Lastly, thank you to all who made our project a success and helped us turn our vision into reality.  From our contractor, cabinet maker, the Tommy’s and allmoderns of the world to our doorman who accepted oodles of packages and was the middleman for all workers helping on our project, we can’t show our appreciation enough!