Kitchen Reno: Day Fifteen

She Said

O… M… G….

Can it possibly be??  I almost thought we’d never get here:  I am finally going to have a stoveAnd an oven.  And a hood fan.  After 145 days of All-Barbeque-All-The-Time, we are going to have a kitchen!!

I’m practically trembling at the prospect.  And yet, I can’t bring myself to believe it’s actually going to happen….

Rob Wyman Appliance Installations is scheduled to be here at the crack of 11:00 a.m..  I’ve been dealing with his wife, Jacquie, by phone for well over a month.  She thinks our original installation date, back when I was young and naïve and pre-booking for such things, was September 19.  So we’ve had a couple of laughs since then (heck, if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry, right?).

At 11:05 I start to wonder if I jinxed myself when I e-mailed a friend last week, letting her know that we were actually close to completion!  I joked that it would all go according to schedule as long as the delivery truck didn’t break down on Monday.  Or Rob didn’t injure his back or have a sick child (Jacquie has gone on vacation this week…).  Or a small planetoid didn’t destroy our block….  Y’know; the kinds of things that would prevent an appliance installation….

At 11:24, Dawn (by phone) reassures me that it’s only 11:24.

By 12:49, however, I’m starting to go with my disaster theory.  Maybe the planetoid struck the job he was working on earlier today…!  Seriously, though, it’s raining out and I know his first job today is way on the other side of town and I admit that I’m a little worried about him….  I know; I’m lame.  Finally, I have to break down and call him….

He’s just “a little delayed”.  He should be here in about an hour.  I had to laugh and confess to him that it’s really no problem, but that I had honestly begun to think that perhaps I had written it all down on the wrong date!  I did, after all, wake up this morning thinking today was tomorrow….  And, lest you think I’m just being paranoid… again… need I remind you of the Gerry Dewan worse-than-being-stood-up-for-a-date disaster??  I didn’t think so.

You may recall that, at another point in the process, I was talking about having Chris do the range installation.  Chris is a wonderful guy who is a gas fitter and a friend of a friend.  I first met him when I was at our friends’ house and he was installing a 30-inch gas range for them, which they had inherited from a sister who was renovating her kitchen.  Although his main line of business is in heating and cooling, he was willing to hook them up… uh, so to speak.

Chris came out when we first moved in to hook us up with gas to the Weapon of Choice.  He had a heck of a job facing him, since the gas was situated on the other side of the house.  He ended up having to drill a hole in the basement wall to take the gas into the garage, then skirt the garage walls and take it out the other side of the house, then down along the house to the backyard.  At the time, he just built the installation of the range into the price.

But then, once I started talking to him about having him come back, he started talking about just kind of muscling my behemoth into place.  I asked if he was going to need extra hands (i.e., would Mooby have to arrange to go into work late?).  I started to imagine strained backs and broken toes.  And chipped counter tops and a dented range….

Instead, I set it up with Jacquie to add the installation of the range to our appointment today.  Rob, after all, was recommended by Neil at Universal Appliances, and so I’m inclined to go with the guy who’s been doing kitchen installations for 17 years.  Plus Jacquie says he’s got some crazy contraption she calls his “Magic Carpet” to help him (Mooby thinks he recalls Rob mentioning some kind of hydraulic tool).  In the end, I negotiated with Chris to give us a credit towards either an air exchange unit or a fireplace, in future.

Rob, with a helper in tow, arrives just before 2 p.m. to a chorus of dogs, to whom he collectively refers as Kujo.  He doesn’t seem to be having the best day ever.  But then, I’ve only ever met with him solo.  As it turns out, he’s hired this young guy who started yesterday… and quit… yesterday.  Rob’s making him stick out the week.

Umm.  Do I really want this young guy drilling through my exterior brick?

I don’t like to hover.  I’ve heard enough from the collection of contractors who have been here that it can be extraordinarily annoying.  We hire contractors for a reason:  they have the skills that we don’t.  Otherwise, we’d be doing it all ourselves.

Yet, I’m compelled to check on them… at least once in a while.  The first time, the hood has been hung!  They’re working on the venting.

I try to resist rushing back when I hear an “Oops!”.

Next time I go to look, it’s because I can hear the fan running.  It’s alive!!

Once again, you’re going to think I’m just creating drama, but Rob can see it, too.  The duct cover is dented.  I’m disappointed, for sure, but it sounds like this is common for this piece.  Alas, I have to give Neil, at Universal Appliances, a call.  It’s 4:40 and I think they close at 5:00.  But tomorrow is Neil’s day off, so I can’t put off calling….

He’s as chipper as can be.  Actually, he has one on the floor – it’s meant for a 30” range, but maybe it’ll fit.  I tell him that mine is 12” wide.  He’s going to go and measure, and swap it out, if it’ll fit.  Meanwhile, I speak with Rob.  I’m not sure how much work he’s got left to do….  If, hypothetically, Neil’s vent cover is in pristine condition, I could get there and back inside of about an hour.

Unfortunately, his is dented, too.  Guess it is common!  Don’t know how that will bode for me next time….  But Rob says, just keep ordering until you get one that’s not damaged.  And of course, he’s right.  And, even if Neil’s hadn’t been damaged, Rob says he doesn’t even have an hour’s worth of work left….  Which means… I’m going to have a stove!!

Neil, needless to say, is going to order a new vent cover.

And now for the moment of truth:  the range is going to be installed.

Remember that I was afraid for Chris’ and Mooby’s backs because they were going to try to muscle the thing into this tight spot??  Well, turns out that Rob doesn’t actually have a crazy Magic Carpet… he’s just going to shove it into place, after all!  But, he’s been doing it for 17 years, so I’m not going to sweat it with him….

In it goes!  But then, I have to ask him to centre it, since it’s tight to one side, and there’s a gap on the other.  He says, “What?  You want more??”  But he’s just teasing me.

Until it won’t move.  The uneven nature of the tile is preventing the range from being adjusted….

At the last second, though, Rob decided to give it one last try….  And it works!  Tee hee!!

Alas, another thing that Rob points out is that our burner inserts (“bowls”) don’t appear to be quite the right colour.  The surface of the stove is black, whereas the inserts are kind of a greenish-charcoal.  I’ll have to drop by Universal and see if there’s a demo to double-check against; I’m sure we can swap them out, if they’re not quite right….

Ultimately, though, by the time it’s all in place, I’m thrilled!!

The irony, though??  I’ve been stranded in the house all day; Rob stays to chat for an extra hour (he’s quite hilarious, in fact) and by the time he’s done and gone, it’s 6:45 and we have no groceries….  So we end up eating out!!

O… M… G….  After 145 days of All-Barbeque-All-The-Time, I can’t wait for tomorrow and the chance to cook in the kitchen!!

BTW, we now just have a few cosmetic aspects and repairs to tackle – paint, new switches and receptacles (not white), some baseboard and trim (like below the cubby-holes on either side of the room), etcetera.  We also need some furniture in there — we’re thinking we’ll go with either a stainless steel or a butcher block work table…. When we have visual updates, I’ll post new photos.  In the meantime, however, take a gander:

The Vikings Have Arrived!

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who’s offered support and sympathy over the last four and a half months!!  We’ll try to repay you with a few recipe offerings in the coming days and weeks!!

~ One of Seven


  1. One of Seven says

    Thanks, sistah!

    First night, Mooby’s choice: glazed, pan-seared scallops! Second night we had company and did Vij’s tamarind and demerara-marinated tenderloin steaks with black cumin curry sauce (wicked cookbook, if you’re at all in the market for a new one…). Yum!!

    Now, since it’s getting colder, I’m drooling over the prospect of curries and such (tonight is a Thai shrimp curry). Tomorrow, though, we’re doing pizza (dough from scratch), since it’s been so long. It was something I had hoped to get around to doing on the bbq, but we were so long with no countertops that I never did try it….

    *So* awesome to finally have the behemoth!!

  2. One of Seven says

    Thanks, Meg! You should come and see it for yourself!! I now realize I still have to post an updated photo — we have, indeed, painted, replaced the light fixture, found a kick-ass stainless work table and some really nice stools to go with it…. One day soon, I’ll post the new pic — thanks for the reminder!!

  3. Dave says

    Did you require make-up air for the hood? If so, can you recommend an installer? All through the process designers and salespeople have been vague; alluding to HVAC people, if pushed.

    • oneofseven says

      Hi, Dave: We used the existing vent for the new hood. Ours is heavy-duty, but just has a bigger engine. Alas, I would NOT recommend our installer (if you are in the Ottawa area — ROB WYMAN of Rob Wyman Electric), since it fell off the wall 2 years later. Yes, it FELL OFF THE F***ING WALL and damaged the stovetop. All has since been fixed, but it took a LONG TIME — way too long to reputably make amends. Be sure that your installer uses the *extra screws* that are recommended by the manufacturer!! Best of luck to you, Dave…!!

  4. Dave says

    Thanks OoS;

    We are looking at starting in late January, in order to avoid holiday hassles. Tentatively going with 36″ Wolf w/grill and 1200 cfm hood; as well as 48″ SubZero. New cabinetry with all the spaces having storage that is either turning or rolling out, in order to accomodate my wife’s fibro.

    Appliances are from Universal and they referred us to Rob Wyman regarding make-up air; so your comments are very helpful. This project has been a dream for many years and financial realities dictate that we get it right the first time. Originally we wanted a Capital Culinarian 36″ range, but finding a service company, in the Ottawa area, familiar with the appliance, was problematic.

    The genesis of my make-up air concerns was this article:

    If necessary, we’ll go with a griddle and drop the high capacity hood requirements.

    • oneofseven says

      Hi again, Dave:

      Sounds like a beautiful kitchen! So great that you can get roll-outs and such to accommodate your wife’s condition!

      We went through Universal, as well and I only have the highest regard for them (especially Neil Garbett). In fact, it was Universal who finally rectified the damage to our stove (after 13 months of waiting), saying they would charge it back to Rob.

      I should add, I suppose, that anyone I spoke to at Universal said they had never heard of such a thing happening (hood fan falling off the wall). When I asked, after it came down, if they would still recommend Rob or not, they emphatically said ‘yes’. So, maybe our results are anomalous (installed on a Friday night). But I stand by my emphatic, experiential urge not to use Rob. Surely, there are other installers in the Ottawa area who get good reviews….

      Interesting article! Shocking to think of drilling holes in kitchen walls or ceilings to let cold air in during the winter and hot air in during the summer! Ultimately, although it sounds counter-intuitive to have to open a window to use your hood fan, that seems to make more sense. All that being said, we live in a relatively new home (10 years) that is pretty tightly sealed. Despite its relatively young age, we do not have an HVAC system. And our fan seems to work perfectly well, even in the cold, winter months (when we do not open the kitchen window while cooking). Then again, we do not have a wood-burning fireplace….

      Ultimately, when we selected our hood fan, Neil advised that its high capacity might well be overkill, but included the caveat that one would rather have the capacity in a “just in case” scenario. We have six burners, so with a grill, you may well need the additional capacity. We decided against a grill, since we don’t mind BBQing year-round, but that depends on your tolerance to the Ottawa elements!! A griddle would be nice, too….

      I wish you a smooth reno, come January! Enjoy every moment you spend in your dream kitchen!!

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