Handling Changes After Work Has Started
There are several things a kitchen painter doesn’t want to hear after they’ve started work.
“Was that scratch always there?” is one.
“That’s the wrong colour,” is another.
“You’re in the wrong house.” You never want to hear that.
Let’s call these Category 1. Absolute heartbreakers.
Then there is Category 2. This consists of things that won’t break a painter’s heart. They just make it sink a bit. I had a Cat 2 earlier this year when I was told the client was going to replace all 36 or so handles on her kitchen doors and drawers after the first coat of paint had gone on.
To be absolutely clear: if a client wants to change the handles in their kitchen, even after painting has started, they obviously have the right to do so. It’s their kitchen. Often something they’ve dreamt about for a long time. Definitely something they’ve spent a lot of money on. So it has to be right.
Also, as was the case here, clients know that when they change something, it will cost extra, and they are happy to cover that.
The good news was that I didn’t have to replace the handles myself. Roger Harty, the kitchen designer and builder, did that.
Nevertheless, I was faced with two challenges.
First, existing handles can leave indentations. When you screw them on, handles compress ever so slightly into the wood. Sometimes, the indentations are obvious if the new handles don’t cover them. A bit like a tan line. I had to be careful to make sure that any impressions made by the previous handles weren’t visible.
Second, the replacement handles were smaller than the existing ones. That meant the old holes for the previous screws weren’t covered. Once the new handles were on, the kitchen looked like it had been attacked by a precision formation woodworm team. Everywhere you looked, there were immaculately aligned holes. I had to fill and level each individual one. And each one had to be done impeccably. Anything less and you’d easily be able to see where the holes had once been, even after painting.
I’m known for a perfect finish. Achieving it on this kitchen almost brought me to tears twice. Once when I was doing the work. And once when it was all done to the standard my clients expect from me. But it was worth it. The client was thrilled with the work. And I get a great feeling when I see the completed kitchen. Look as I might, I can’t see any trace of the holes.