It was a busy week last week with lots of stuff to deal with around the condo. You may remember that back in June 2005, G and I bought a condo here in Toronto. The condo, structure-wise, is now up. We’ve been fascinated watching it grow above the buildings around us. We’re very lucky that we can actually see our new home from our current home.
You can see the new building below, taken from our current balcony.
At any rate, since the building is up, we’ve been dealing with the whole colour, options, upgrades adventure that is the bane of every condo owner’s existence. We had thought – fairly I thought – that the developer would ring us and we’d head in and be able to see everything at one go. That would make sense (you’d think). Seeing everything allows you to make sensible choices about what colour you’re going to have the kitchen cupboards knowing what the backsplash options are and the flooring and etc….
Course, that makes sense to you and I but condo developers live in lala land and – in our case – have set up not one, not two, but three different meetings to deal with this. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
So, two months ago, we received the first letter telling us the fine folks at Paris Kitchens would be in touch to have us visit and chose our kitchen cupboard and bathroom vanity options. We ring, of course, and ask if we’ll be seeing the choice of flooring, blacksplashes and appliances at the same time?
The answer we get back, no.
To make this already too long story shorter, we ended having to champion this task ourselves and fought with Paris Kitchens, Appliance Canada (who are contracted to supply the appliances) and the interior designer who is walking us through the rest (flooring, carpets, blacksplash, bathroom tiles, countertops, etc). What a ridiculous way to do things!
A month ago, G and I visited Paris Kitchens to look at cupboard options and upgrades and made some very cursory choices. After that meeting, we headed to Appliance Canada and chose our appliances … we ended up upgrading everything save the washer/dryer. This past Monday we spent an hour with the interior designer at the developer’s design centre and at least got to see some of the options and colours and upgrades. The meeting was helpful when we revisited Paris Kitchens and spent Wednesday afternoon finalizing the kitchen cupboards. What an adventure.
I think what we’ve chosen to do – a two-tone kitchen cupboard scheme – is going to work brilliantly. It’s different, utterly contemporary, and funky. Paul, our Paris Kitchen consultant, said our unit will be unique within the building. Let’s hope that pays off in resale value! We’ve now sunk @ $10,000 into upgrades … money we had to fork out upfront, which is irksome when you really don’t know if it’s all going to work out when you walk in the first time. I know there is less risk for the developers doing it this way, but it’s so scary writing cheques for gobs of money when you’ve yet to see the product.
Our last meeting will be back with the interior designer to finalize the flooring choices, tiles, countertop, backsplash, etc, and confirm the modifications we made to the unit’s plan will – in fact – get completed. We are modifying our unit from a 2-bedroom and den into a larger one-bedroom plus den and opted to have the developer remove the walk-in closet in the master suite.
It’s been an unfun experience so far, and, a lesson learned for sure: next condo we buy, we will buy as an empty shell and have myself and G deal with the detailing and finishes ourselves.
On many levels I feel bad for condo buyers … I’m lucky that G is an architect and knows the ins and outs of this world. I think many (read: the majority) of buyers do get taken to the cleaners due to simple ignorance.
Wednesday, I left Paris Kitchens feeling like Diane Keaton in the movie, Baby Boom. There’s a scene where she’s standing outside the cottage she’s bought in Vermont and is speaking to the contractor about the house. The contractor tells her she will need another $35,000 to get the house completed. Diane, dazed and dumbfounded, screams, “Another $35,000; another $35,000!” before collapsing, unconscious, in the snow by the well.
CN Tower Climb
The condo adventure aside, I did climb the 1776 stairs of the CN Tower this morning at 7 bloody AM in 17:27 to support the United Way of Greater Toronto. Not as good as my 16:08 last year but there was plenty of traffic on the stairs!