One Room Challenge week 5 — How to work with contractors

It’s WEEK 5, and even in its unfinished state, the room doesn’t look a thing like it did when we began!  The new windows are transformative (see WEEK 4).  And the new cabinets have somehow made the kitchen bigger (see WEEK 1 and WEEK 3).  With the final coat of paint checked off the list, we are ready to install the counter and backsplash, the kitchen sink and faucet, and all the hardware.  

The right partners once again made the product selection and installation process as simple and seamless as possible. I’m talking about the Kitchen faucet by Delta, available at Lowe’s, the sink from Standard Plumbing Supply, the door and cabinet hardware from Emtek, and the counter, backsplash, and window sill from Daltile

In addition to the right product partners, the right contractors and subcontractors have been key to working on such a tight timeline for such a big transformation.  At the end of this post, we give you some of our tips and resources for finding the right team so you can have more smiles than tears in your own renovations.


In WEEK 1, we gave you the recipe for Mary’s style and aesthetic: timeless, sleek, sophisticated sexy. The Trask™Kitchen Faucet by Delta, available at Lowe’s, is just that.

With its sleek contemporary lines, we chose the Single Handle Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet with Soap Dispenser. A highly rated product, the faucet is as innovative in its features as it is stylish in its aesthetic. It includes MagnaTite® docking so the sprayer locks seamlessly into the spout, which means the elegant curve of the faucet line is undisrupted.  And framed by the new window, it will add a sophisticated polish to the sink vignette.

We chose the Champagne Bronze finish to coordinate with the gold accents in our lighting and hardware selections. Champagne Bronze is a timeless, soft gold that pairs elegantly with traditional, transitional and contemporary décor.


Hardware completes a room.  It’s one of the last things to be installed, but it’s top of mind from the beginning because it is so key.  (Literally! Since we decided to paint her doors black, Mary hasn’t had exterior door knobs for about a week.  She’s been propping cardboard up against the door to hide the holes, and thankfully no one has tried to sneak in to inspect our progress.)

Stunning exterior door hardware from Emtek is being installed even as I type, so we won’t need to rely on scrap cardboard for home security any longer.  And the sophisticated cabinet pulls will be installed on Thursday morning (just in time for our sneak peek shoot!)  Emtek has elegant options in every style, with every function, and in every finish.

For Exterior Doors

Providence Knob in Unlacquered Brass
Quincy Keyed Style Side Plate in Unlacquered Brass
EMTouch Keypad Leverset in Flat Black

For Interior Cabinets

Mod Hex Knobs in Satin Brass
Trinity Pulls in Satin Brass

Main Exterior Door Features

  • Quincy Keyed Style Side Plate with Providence Knobs
  • Unlacquered Brass finish that will quickly weather into the most gorgeous, natural patina
  • Deadbolt activation with a key from the outside
  • Deadbolt activation with a thumb turn from the inside

Basement Storage Exterior Door Feature

  • EMTouch Keypad Leverset
  • Flat Black finish, that sinks nicely into what will be a black exterior
  • Keypad simplifies entry into a storage space that Mary often needs to run down to (. . . and equally often forgets to grab her keys for)

Cabinet Hardware Features


We can’t wait to show you the sink.  It’s a brand new product (. . . so new, in fact, that it isn’t listed on our supplier’s website yet!)  But stay tuned. We’ll have pictures and product links next week for our final reveal.

It’s called a Top Zero undermount.  When mounted, the edge of the sink is flush with the edge of the counter giving it the illusion of being one seamless piece.  (So pretty!) And the fact that there is no installation lip means there are no crevices to keep clean.

We found the sink through Standard Plumbing Supply, a great resource with the best plumbing products at the best prices:

  • They offer free design consultations
  • They propose ideal options for your space, functionality, and vision (. . . that’s how we learned about the Top Zero undermount!)
  • Their plumbing parts are made of brass (compared to the many plastic alternatives), and come with a lifetime warranty
  • With over 90 stores and 55 showrooms in 9 western states, you have ample opportunity to chat with them in person or online.


Queue the drumroll for the counter and backsplash. We worked with Daltile to select a counter and backsplash, and the product they recommended surpassed our mood board wish list dreams (see WEEK 1).  We’ve chosen one of their new products, the Panoramic Porcelain Surface, and here’s why:

  • Panoramic Porcelain slabs offer the look of stone with the performance of tile.
  • All colors and sizes are stocked in matte and glossy finishes (we picked Diamond Mine)
  • They come in huge slabs (up to 10.5 inches by 5.3 inches, and either 6 or 12 mm thick).
  • The large format slabs eliminate grout lines.
  • We want a counter-to-cabinet backsplash with a matching window sill, and the flexibility of the Panoramic Porcelain makes this possible without adding extra thickness to the wall (which we don’t have room for!)

Visit Daltile’s design center for help exploring ALL of their many tile, Panoramic Porcelain, and stone options.  Their designers know their products so well and can recommend ideas that (1) you didn’t even know existed, and (2) work with your budget.

You might recall that one of the original inspiration images was the kitchen from Eye Swoon.


We love to do things ourselves, but with a project of this scope and only 6 weeks from design to final reveal, we needed our team of contractors and subs.  For this project, we worked with 6 contractors:

  • General contractor: Alegre Construction, Helaman Haynie and Chris Kilpack
    • Based in Utah County, they specialize in custom work, and historical restoration and preservation.  In my house, they took care of all structural changes (including removing a wall, adding a larger window, and all the little surprises we found along the way that come when renovating a home that was built in 1901.  They also managed all electrical, drywall, trim and finish work, stucco, and paint subs.
  • Hardwood floor patch and refinishing: Mountain Heights Flooring
    • Based in Utah County, they specialize in commercial installations, refinishing, and maintenance projects, but they do some residential.
  • Cabinets: Guy Hendriksen
    • A career cabinet installer, Guy has worked independently and on behalf of cabinet providers (including Lowes) for over 30 years.  He is based in Utah County, but he travels for installs, and he is amazing.
  • Windows: Amsco Windows Dealer
    • Type in your zip code and Amsco Windows will connect you with a dealer in your area who not only is as fast and funny as our was, but who will also streamline your window selection and installation process.
  • Counter and backsplash fabrication: Buehner Marble and Granite
    • Based in Salt Lake City, the team at Buehner works magic with their fabrication.


Finding the right person for the job, can sometimes feel overwhelming.  We needed to engage so many contractors on this one, we’ve come up with a list of tips to help us (and you!) going forward:

  • REFERRALS: Ask for referrals from friends, other contractors, and your vendor suppliers.  Friends know your style, contractors know quality work, and vendor suppliers know their products, which make all equipped to connect you with good resources.  We have found all of our best contractors through word of mouth referrals.
  • BUDGET: Ask for cost estimates and then cost updates as you go.  This helps you plan and make better financial decisions.
  • TIMELINE: Actively manage your timeline with ALL your contractors.  Sequencing can often be the trickiest part. Ours was tight and required a lot of coordination (especially when we factored in rain and product shipment delays).  But we were constantly checking in with our different teams and revising the schedule accordingly. Had we not, we wouldn’t have made our deadline.
  • EXPERTISE: Find experienced people you can trust, and then rely on their expertise.  Talented craftsmen can sometimes seem more expensive up front, but they generally work faster and better than those who are less experienced.  They are better at troubleshooting execution problems, and they often make suggestions based on their experience that augment your design.


We hope you are as ready as we are for next week!  Take a look at the progress our friends are making!

One Room Challenge Partners

At Home With Ashley | Casey Keasler | Dorsey Designs | The Farmhouse Project | Home Made by CarmonaHouse of Funk | House of Jade Interiors | House Seven Design | House That Lars Built | Inspired by CharmJana Bek | Jessica Brigham | Kelly Golightly | Murphy Deesign | The Pink Pagoda | Sarah GunnSherry Hart Designs | Sugar & Cloth | Veronica Solomon | Vintage Revivals | Media Partner BH&G | TM by ORC

Thank you to all of our One Room Challenge Partners.  All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow Lars to create unique and inspired content for you.

Amsco Windows | Bertazzoni | CliqStudios | Daltile | Delta | Emtek | GE | Hudson Valley Lighting | Legrand | Loloi | Metrie | Minted | NDI | Overstock | SWD Studio



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Articles

DIY Beaded Chandelier

The Inspiration You've probably seen this amazing bead chandelier before, as it has made its way around the internet (others found here and here and...

DIY Family Photo Heirloom Ornaments

A Literal Family Tree This time of year always tends to be a bit nostalgic. It's a time for family, which got me thinking about...

Recent Articles

Paper bag heart snowflakes

Paper bag heart snowflakes What I love most about these heart snowflakes is that they are literally made of just paper bags. That's it! It's...

Floral winter coats

Floral winter coats Floral everything has been in for awhile and it finally made its way to winter coats (not to mention quilted coats!). I'm...