Archive for September, 2007

Lowe’s vs. Home Depot

We love Lowe’s. We find tons of great things there – low prices, good customer service, nice product selection, etc. I can think of only two times Lowe’s failed us and Home Depot came to our rescue:
1. vinyl floor tile options
2. a special sized toilet tank for our tiny half-bath

Now there’s a third: kitchen design.

While browsing cabinet options one night, we stumbled into conversation with a girl in Lowe’s kitchen design department. She was really nice and similar in age and life stage to us (just got married, was renovating her first home) so we connected immediately. She listened to everything we liked, was really encouraging and supportive of all of our crazy ideas and ended our meeting by promising a few kitchen layouts for us to see later in the week. Sweet.

Now we usually hate cheating on Lowe’s, but had to explore our options, so we set up a similar appointment at Home Depot (hoping we could steal a few ideas if nothing else). The meeting started off a little rocky. We didn’t immediately click with the designer – maybe because she started with the serious stuff: budget restrictions, timeline expectations, etc. Then she started telling us how some of our ideas wouldn’t work! How NOT fun. But, as she explained her 30-year experience designing kitchens and her credentials as Richmond’s only CKD (certified kitchen designer) between the two big box stores, we realized we’d struck gold.

While the Lowe’s girl was doing her best to please, she wasn’t managing our kitchen project. We needed someone to tell us what we didn’t know, what wasn’t in our budget, and what didn’t meet code. Call it tough love, I guess.

So, thank you Nancy Kulik C.K.D. for taking good care of us. Point Home Depot.

And don’t worry, we broke up with the Lowe’s girl gently.

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The Power of Craigslist

Original BackyardHere’s a tip – use craigslist to get your yard work done for free.

Our backyard is beautiful, we can’t lie. Beautiful enought that we got married there. But with that craziness over, it’s not worth the trouble to maintain – trimming bushes, weeding gravel pathways, etc. Plus our ferocious eight pound puppy would appreciate more room to hunt bugs.

So, we’re making it all grass… beautiful, beautiful, already-have-the-mower-out-for-it-anyways grass.

Our first challenge was getting rid of all the stuff in the way – bushes, pathway, etc. And we hate to just throw all that stuff away, especially since I just put new pea gravel down 3 months ago for the wedding.

Enter craiglist. Sherry posted a listing Tuesday morning at 9:30 with this picture, offering the bushes for FREE. I never thought it’d work.

But by 10:30 our driveway was filling up with people armed with shovels and pick-axes. And when I got home from work there was barely anything left… except for a couple sweaty, shirtless strangers still digging. One guy even gave us 100 beans to steak his claim on six big bushes!

Backyard DestoryedWe repeated the experiment on Wednesday morning with the pea gravel. Sure enough, by that evening virtually all of it had been raked, shoveled and wheel-barrowed out of our yard. “Free” is definitely the universal language.

We didn’t lift a finger – except to deliver some water to aforementioned sweaty strangers – and now our yard looks a little bit ravaged, but a lot more ready for grass seed.

PS: We’re going to try to save the arch and move it elsewhere in the yard. We did get married under it, after all.

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