We renovated our kitchen in October, 2021. We chose KWood, with Ryan as lead, on the recommendation of friends who had an excellent experience. My delay in writing this review means I can include our lived experience in the new space. Spoiler alert: since our job, KWood has worked for other friends based on OUR excellent experience.
We spent a long time planning the job, including interviewing four or five other contractors. We talked to one company that specializes in IKEA installs and one that has a computerized design system based on pre-built modules. Both were impressive, and both would have been cheaper. Both required compromises we didnt want to make. The other contractors or their design partners did rough drawings that ignored some our requests. Red flag. Our initial meeting with Ryan might have won him the job even if he hadnt come highly recommended. He came to listen. His comments all seemed right. He wasnt pushing us where he wanted to go. There was a great comfort level established immediately.
Note, a few years back we installed new windows. We chose a window company largely on the basis of an outstanding sales guy. Once wed signed, we never saw him again, and the install was sub-par. Ryan was our KWood guy beginning to end. I cannot overstate the significance.
Ive shared our experience many times, and this is the key take-away. There are two things you want in a reno: a great finished product and a great contractor relationship. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RELATIONSHIP! In many ways, the finished product depends on it. So does your mental health, your final satisfaction with the process and probably the actual price you pay. More on that below.
Ryan was a pleasure to deal with. From the time we selected him until construction began, we initiated many interactions. Lots of emails and phone calls, but especially, multiple visits to his showroom. Each visit, he gave us all the time we needed. And we needed a lot to get our heads wrapped around it. Sometimes we brought our designer. Several times, Ryan came to the house to remeasure, when we considered substantial adjustments, like reconfiguring the kitchen or moving a wall. He gave us multiple sets of renders. To my mind, he gave us an extravagant amount of time, none of which ever showed up on a bill.
Ryan never pushed for his preferred way of doing things. He gave us ideas, information and reflections on our ideas. He made suggestions. He didnt pretend to be a designer, although a lot of his advice touched on design. We asked a lot of questions about other peoples choices. We worked with a designer who happened to have worked with Ryan previously, which was helpful but not critical. For us, having someone who understands design to hand-hold us through the many decisions was valuable. With a designer, its especially important to choose someone youre comfortable with. Back to Ryan, there were some decisions where we just took his advice, sometimes with our fingers crossed and sometimes with a bit of scepticism. Without a single exception, he got it right. Two examples were the exact placement of the backsplash tiles and the edging for it.
On the day they cut the holes for the lighting, I realized I hadnt researched that topic. (I was a maniac about research.) The placement looked seriously wrong to me. Ryan explained his reasoning. He had gone away from a simple grid to account for the arrangement of the pantry and fridge, which werent installed yet. I could not envision it. He offered to change it. I decided to trust him, but I was really concerned. Then the cabinets and fridge went in, and the lights are spot-on. He nailed it.
KWood uses its own employees for the work, not subcontractors. In our entire job, everything, and I mean everything, proceeded as promised. They never missed a day. They were never an hour late (or a minute, as far as I can recall) or left early. They never had to pause and wait for a plumber or electrician or tile guy or painter. They were fastidiously neat. The house never filled up with dust. They did not leave behind a single nick or chip. There was the single, anticipated pause after the cabinets were installed and measured, for the countertops to be cut. In our case, this was quicker than expected, and the whole job ended a week ahead of time. Ryan was on-site regularly throughout and always available by phone and email.
I cant suggest how the company will deal with issues in every case, but we had some small but very positive situations. Although KWood has a large selection of elements like tiles and pulls, we were always free to find our own. We found the backsplash tiles we liked and they were already in our garage when we decided they were too dark. We had opened one box. Ryan took it on himself to pick up and return those tiles, including the open box, and to arrange for our new choice. We were not charged for this. It made a huge difference, and it was very gracious of him to handle it as he did. At one point, I realized Id made the wrong choice about a drawers orientation. Ryan quoted $200 to reverse it, which I thought was more than fair. Subsequently, he said it had been easier than expected, so he waived the charge. Finally, right after we finished, there was a water problem. Ryan came right out, late Saturday night, and turned off the water at the link. The problem was with our own garbage disposal, which wed reinstalled, not with their work. Nonetheless, his plumber came the next morning (Sunday) and fixed it.
I guess I should mention the finished product. We love it. Everything about it is just great. It looks beautiful. It feels beautiful. The finishing is immaculate: paint, trim, balance. Every drawer and door is smooth. The tiles are dead-on. The lighting is excellent. The pictures dont nearly do it justice. After eight months, I still cant enter the room without smiling. It makes me feel rich.
Good luck with your reno!