This fellow came our way via a recommendation from someone at work – he’s a neighbor of that person. We arranged time to meet him at the house, and he looked around and took measurements. I figured he would be above our price range, so we were pretty clear about what we had in mind – we kept mentioning IKEA, hoping that would take $10K off his bid with each mention. He reflexively mentioned custom cabinets every time we said IKEA, to get his price back on an even keel. He was OK with our concept of using linoleum on the floor and butcherblock countertops. And for a while things were going well – seemed like we were on the same wavelength. The wheels came off when he began focusing on the layout for the lower cabinets. He was probably correct in saying that our original U-shape layout wouldn’t fit easily in this small space, but instead of making this an L-shape, he kept part of the U but made the cabinets extremely shallow. That eliminated usable storage space in that corner, and took away floor space with less than useful 11 or 12 in. depth lower cabinets on one wall. He extolled the virtues of his shallow fixtures – they kept coming up in our conversation; “that’s where the microwave goes!”, ” that’s where you store your cookbooks”, “all of your cookware”. These were some shelves! But we used to have a kitchen with shallow depth counters, and they weren’t a fondly recalled memory. Phrases such as “hated those” and “useless” are said in recollection. We finally got around to talking about the cost estimate, and he asked what kind of budget we had in mind. I told him the number, which to me is a ridiculously large amount of money that looks very nice in our piggy bank, and he sort of stared at the floor, making some tiny notations on his legal pad. As if I’d said something highly objectionable. Which I may have done at some other time during this meeting – if I’ve offended anyone, I apologize. He quietly responded, “the kitchen I will build would not be for that amount”. Or something to that effect. I thought he was going to start crying or something. But he pulled it together, and said he’d get back to us with a proposal in about a week. Which he did, true to his word. And it didn’t arrive by mail, and wasn’t told to us over the phone. He made us meet him to review this in person. Which I will tell you all about in my next post.