This post is in collaboration with Pella Windows & Doors.
We haven’t talked about the kitchen since April, but for good reason. Simply put, nothing has been happening. It’s in a standstill. Well, I should say, it was in a standstill, as this story has a happy ending with a resolution(!).
For a couple months at the start of this year, it was all action, every weekend and most weeknights, too. We ran a lot of electrical, hung a pocket door, put in wall-to-wall cabinets, shopped and installed counters, DIYed an island, gave new life to an old hutch and tiled a backsplash. There was a lot of touching-up in between – painting walls, repairing poor drywall, adding trim and baseboards – but everything came to a screeching halt when it came to this back wall. That door leads to our yard and garage, and the plan was to add a glass paneled door with sidelights and a transom:
You might remember the not-so-hilarious story (delirious, more like it) of our contractor who initially ordered the wrong door configuration, only for us to find out after it had fallen into backorder for several months. We found this error to be odd – you know, taking into consideration our drawings, conversations and emails – but as a GC who came recommended from a friend, we thought it must have been a fluke. While we were pretty upset at the time, we ended up changing course and decided that, perhaps, a sliding patio door would be best. We thought, well, maybe this is a blessing disguise! A sliding patio door will make more sense anyway! This would allow for even more natural light, plus we’d have the convenience of not having swinging doors taking up precious kitchen or patio space.
He promised us a 3-4 week turnaround on the new configuration from his supplier – a 5′ sliding door in a French style (meaning, a thicker wood frame for a more traditional feel; this old house asked for such) with a 5′ transom window above. The door was ordered in the last week of February, and then that door also fell into back order.
And that, you guys, is where we left off.
Since then, he had been increasingly difficult to reach. To be honest, he was consistently vague on details, and we felt very out of the loop on such a large part of our renovation. (This was definitely a warning sign, but never having renovated a kitchen before, we thought, this must be normal, I mean, I guess?) Days would go by without any response to our phone calls and emails, and then – thank goodness! – he sent us a simple text around mid-May that our door had arrived! It was here!
We were thrilled because this not only meant that we might have a door by Memorial Day weekend (spoiler: it didn’t happen) – 5 months after our first order was placed, mind you – but we have been itching to hang art and additional shelving, plus I’ve been eager to pretty up the kitchen with plants. As I began pulling out our cute, framed prints from under the bed (safe keeping, you know?), we also started the process of getting him here for installation.
At first, he started by saying he was busy on other jobs, but he would put us in his calendar soon. After a week of no communication, we would call to say just checking in!, but he became non-responsive. Like, nothing. In fact, we never heard from him again. For a while afterwards, it became commonplace to say, I mean, seriously, what the hell? (Plus, bleep! Bleep!) We were confused, supremely frustrated and, naturally, mad. Really mad. As of today, almost 2 months have passed since we we were last told he had our door, and our anger has finally subsided; it’s time to move forward. He wasn’t coming back, and to be honest, we didn’t want him back.
So! As promised, this story does have a happy ending – an ending that we’re still trying to believe ourselves. (Are you still with me?) I do have to quickly step back to last fall, when Pella Windows & Doors reached out to us with a new program they were launching, Insynctive. The Insynctive technology allows you to control windows and doors with sensors that, get this, sync to deadbolts and motorized blinds and shades as an addition to your home’s security. At the time, we were about to dive into kitchen plans, but their goals for the product launch and our needs for a door didn’t mesh effectively for us or them. This happens frequently with collaborations, and while it was a great conversation to have with the Pella team, if it’s not the right fit, we don’t proceed. Checking in with our guts and being honest with you is important to us.
Fast forward to right now. Pella is doing amazing things to help create a safe and efficient Innovation Home with Better Homes and Gardens, and as a part of that journey, they circled back to revisit our own kitchen project. Timing is a funny thing, and it was as if every road block to completing our renovation led us right back to where we started. Pella wants to dive in and help us by putting a fat checkmark next to that last big to-do, and we’ll be working with them to cross it off our list once and for all! They are providing us with a door and transom, however, we’ll be covering the cost of construction through a Pella certified contractor. It’s an opportunity that we don’t take lightly or for granted, and we’re beyond grateful that it has been presented to us.
That being said, our hope is to receive the full Pella experience, so we asked them to take us through every step of the process. We’ve since met with local representatives, asked them hundreds of questions and selected finishes for outside, inside and every imaginable moving door part:
Our kitchen will receive a Designer Series sliding patio door in the French style, with a transom above. (Sounds familiar by now, doesn’t it?) The exterior will be black, and we’ve decided on a primed white interior until we can decide on a color. We’ll also have between-the-glass motorized cellular shades in Linen, as part of the Insynctive technology. Once all of these decisions were made, we had a home meeting with our Pella contractor, Brian of LaPelusa Home Improvement, and wow. What a breath of fresh air, truly! He was amazingly thorough, explained every detail of the construction process and put us completely at ease.
In fact, he even nudged us in a slightly different direction from our initial thoughts of a 5′ door. The door opening on a 5′ sliding door is just under 2′ wide, due in part to not being able to slide any wider than the handle will allow. We were hesitant about the 6′ door being too wide, but to see, we taped it out:
The outer most tape lines are representative of our trim, which is why it’s heftier along the top, and the space directly above the “door” is our transom window. It’s large, yes, but just imagine all the light the kitchen will receive! Because it will fill most of that back wall, you’ll see it from our living and dining rooms as well.
We had to rethink a few plans we originally had for the dogs’ food station, since you can see it will no longer fit (new ideas are in the works – spoiled pups, we say), but the flow from the dining room to the kitchen to the patio will be spot on.
The door and transom are expected to arrive mid-August, and installation will begin immediately by the LaPelusa team! We cannot wait to bid farewell to our current sad door and drafty window; the countdown begins – now!
Pella is providing us with a Designer Series sliding patio door with transom, and all text, opinions and storyline drama (what’s a renovation without one?) are our own. Thank you, as always, for supporting those that so graciously support us.