Thursday, 19 January 2012

Day 112: No Joy on Kitchen Handles :(

Today started with an SMS from M advising that our Invoice for Stage 5 - 'Fixing' had been emailed and posted.  So another 20% is going their way tomorrow.  I can't believe there's only the final payment left!  We are now officially on the Home Completion stage of the build.

The Site Manager called Tuesday to say he's back on deck after his break and that he'd met with the painters onsite and seen they were still doing some prepwork and that the first coat would be applied to internals this week.  They asked him to follow up on the missing doors as they want to make sure they're available when they start the paintwork also.  The door supplier told our SS before Christmas that they'd deliver them early January but it hasn't turned up yet.

I told him that the carpenter had put the Hallway door on the Rumpus room and he advised me this was to check the cavity slider was working and that the door frame was square so he could attach the architraves.  So it was only in lieu of the missing door.  Similarly for the incorrectly sized linen doors - just checking they were plumb.  The painters will remove the doors to paint them anyway.  Pleased to hear.

I asked him what could be done about our kitchen handle alignment and he asked me to email our CSC and copy him.  He said she'd need to advise what could be done contractually.  She was kind enough to respond to my email within 24 hours, but unfortunately the news wasn't good:

"...As the handles have been drilled into position, unfortunately it’s too late to have this amended. Changing the handle position would require new fronts to the cupboards to be made and re-installed. This type of specific request would need to have been documented in either your colour schedule or contract..."


My actual response:

"...Thank you, appreciate you looking into it for me. We did specify our preference at Studio M so I'm kicking myself I didn't notice it missing in my review of the Colour Schedule.  As it was, our choice of fingerless handles didn't get documented either and I only picked this up on the day of contract signing.  I can live with the pot drawers as they're not that deep and still line up with each other, but the bin drawer is 50cm deep and doesn't pull properly. We'll move the handle on this ourselves and put up with holes until I get round to replacing the bin drawer sometime after handover. 
Could you please perhaps pass on feedback with regards to the Studio M documentation templates that there be a placeholder included for handle position for both vertical/horizontal and top/middle alignment preferences?  It's easier to spot if you're forced to make a choice on the form either way. Same for no handles/fingerless handles. It would also have been picked up if drafting would agree to include handles in the kitchen elevation drawings, but I was told they don't go to that level of detail..."

I'm not expecting a reply.  We don't have any recourse unfortunately, given our preference was not documented anywhere in the contract.  Oh well, it's not my dream kitchen anyway.  M's margin saw to it that I kept upgrades to a minimum - just handles, additional pot drawers, soft close dampers and white glass splashback.  We have to get a panel made up for the semi integrated dishwasher after handover anyway, so a couple of extra panels for the bin drawer shouldn't be too much of a hassle.

We wanted M to add more depth to the island bench so you could sit comfortably under the overhang on the opposite side, but drafting refused to add the extra 5cm that the wall allowed, so it's a measly 20cm.  Not exactly a breakfast bar!  We also would have gone for 40mm waterfall edges to the island bench, and something like white vinyl wrap or gloss laminate for the overhead cupboards, but as they wouldn't allow me to have a fully integrated rangehood (as we were installing our own after handover), I didn't want to pay extra for a look I didn't want anyway.  So the kitchen only has a max. 5 year lifespan in my mind.

But M, those soft close dampers better be tuned to perfection!  A woman needs to love SOMETHING about her kitchen (well, our appliances are a given, but M need to contribute to the joy too!)


  1. Oh Nat, that sucks about the handles. I agree that there is a flaw in Studio M and that is that it all depends on which 'consultant' you end up with. Some are clearly better than others.

    With regards to the kitchen, obviously you were told different to us again. We have an overhang to sit at on our island bench of 270mm and a fully integrated rangehood! Perhaps it is because of a different kitchen design but I am constantly amazed at how whimsical the company line is depending on who you ask and what type of day they're having.

    Hope the rest is painless for you esp. given your pregnancy :)

  2. I feel for you! This happened to us with several things and we were 'shattered' for a couple of weeks before getting over it. Don't sweat the small stuff as they - however when at the start you envisage having a 'dream home' (especially considering how much the whole project is costing), it's difficult not to be disappointed when things don't turn out to your liking.

    We learned to give up arguing with M - you just cannot win. We also learned never to expect any common sense from their tradies. If there are 2 ways to do something, one completely logical and sensible and the other completely wrong, incorrect and ridiculous - it tradies will usually take the second option (with a few notable exceptions, such as our brickies, wet area tiler and painters, who were all very good).

    Agree with your point regarding Studio M - their templates are just not detailed enough and they don't ask enough specific questions. There were also several things we saw on their display homes that we assumed were included (we were never offered them at Studio M) which turned out not to be. And some of them would have been quite cheap to upgrade, but we were never given the opportunity.

    I understand there are already stacks of things to choose at Studio M and they probably don't want to go into any more detail, but I think they should lest they end up with even more disappointed customers!