Avonlea did a superb job on our two bathrooms a couple years ago, so we were really keen to have them work on our kitchen as well. Once again, Gabriel (ably assisted by his dad) and Jay did really excellent work on the tiling, plumbing and preparing the kitchen for cabinet installation. When it comes to the quality of their work, these guys are tops, and they are also likeable people whom it was a pleasure to have in our house. The only thing I would mention is that John Miles really prefers to work with his own cabinetmaker. We chose to install an Ikea kitchen instead, so John was very clear from the outset that he would not install or otherwise have anything to do with the cabinetry. We later discovered that this approach has its downside—there are always going to be minor leftover things to do at the end of the job, but if they involve touching the cabinetry John will refuse to handle them, explaining that he does not want to bear the risk of damaging the cabinets. I can certainly understand this if the cabinet is hand-built out of some valuable wood, but in our case we were working with mass-produced Ikea stuff, so I'm not sure such skittishness was warranted. All we wanted was for the valance to be reattached after we had removed it so Jay could tile the backsplash. As we discussed with Jay, it only required cutting a quarter inch off the wall end of the valance to make room for the tile, and we had even bought an extra length of the decorative strip so there would be plenty at hand should any mistakes be made. After working with us on two previous jobs, I'd hoped John would know we are not the type of people to make a fuss (see next paragraph). In the end, we are having to get Vince Fyfle of Galaxy Wood (who had built some custom cabinets to fit in the gaps) to jump in and complete the work for us.
Another thing is that the contract we signed with John Miles clearly mentioned appliance hook-up. When our Bosch stove was delivered, we realized it weighed a ton, and mentioned it to him as a courtesy. He immediately responded that he was not equipped to install specialized appliances, and that we should hire an expert to do it. The estimate we got from Kovi Appliances was $440, but when I asked John if he would accordingly adjust the amount we owed him, he explained that, even though appliance hook-up is mentioned in the contract, he had not done any special budgeting for it and so there was no reason to change the price. We were okay with this (sort of), although the range of appliances he was prepared to install should perhaps have been discussed at the beginning so we wouldn't have had to search for an installer on short notice.
In the end, we are still very happy with the work that both Gabriel and Jay did. They are really excellent guys. And I should say that John is always very prompt in replying to emails and explaining his position, so at least we knew where we were. But if you are working with another brand of cabinets or buying appliances that are unusual in some way (high-end or heavy), you have to be prepared to go it alone for some parts of the kitchen reno process and to look for other specialists to fill in for work that Avonlea won't do.
- Approximate cost of services:
- What could this company do to improve their services?
- Any advice to offer fellow homeowners facing a similar project?
- Company Response
I appreciate Vicki’s feedback and have been happy to work with her on her two bathrooms and kitchen.
As well, I appreciate all of the positive feedback that she made in her comments.
In terms of her concerns over my skittishness in modifying Ikea product, it was Avonlea’s opinion that the best result would be achieved by having her own cabinet installer, whom she had used for the installation of her cabinets, to make the modifications that were being requested. This is not always the case and we have made minor modifications to Ikea cabinets in the past and I am sure we will do so in the future. Our intent is not to make things difficult for the customer but ultimately we need to rely on our own assessment of the modifications. We always explain to the customer what the best approach is to get the quality result that they expect.
In terms of the discussion around the stove installation, I had no idea that she was unsatisfied with my approach until reading this review. If I had known I would have made a concerted effort to come up with a proposal she thought was fair.
As our contract states, we will do the basic hook up on appliances but as a policy we will also do a full installation at no extra charge when the installation is straight forward.
However, as appliances have become more complex, we have learned that positioning or installing some of them (typically fridges or stoves) is best left to the appliance specialists who have the knowledge and equipment that some of them require. The hiring of an appliance specialist is not included in our price.
I normally explain our approach to our customers and we haven’t had any issues with this policy in the past. Perhaps I wasn’t clear in my explanation or perhaps my explanation was misunderstood. However, because of Vicki’s comments, I will ensure further clarity going forward.
Either way, I appreciate Vicki’s feedback and, of course, Avonlea will learn from this experience in order to better our customer service.