Archive for July, 2007

Our Letter to Home Depot

July 28, 2007

We have a useful tip for customers who plan on purchasing appliances from Home Depot:   Have the salesperson check availability in the computer, and don’t believe, “It’s not in right now, but will be in our warehouse in [insert time frame here].  For anyone interested in our Home Depot experience, here is a copy of our letter to their Customer Care department:

We are very concerned about the recent unscrupulous business practices that we have experienced at Home Depot.  On April 15, 2007, we purchased a black LG 6810 dishwasher from the Home Depot store # 6367 in Orlando.  Because the dishwasher was for a new home construction, we asked the salesperson to set the delivery date for July 13.  We called the store in mid June, to request that the delivery date be moved up, as we were now ready for the dishwasher. 

We were first told that the dishwasher would be delivered on June 23.  Then we got a call saying that it would be delivered on June 30.  June 30 came and went, and no dishwasher was forthcoming.  We called Home Depot again, and we were then told that it would be delivered on July 15.  When we called to check on this, we were told that it was possible the dishwasher would be delivered in September, but that Home Depot really had no idea. 

At this point, our house was completed and our final inspection was being delayed because of the non-arrival of our paid-for-in-April dishwasher.  We finally went to another appliance store, and were told what Home Depot MUST have known: LG was no longer making this model of dishwasher.  When we called the Home Depot store again, armed with this information, they admitted that this was indeed the case.  Home Depot had taken our money back in April, and was trying to put us off until September (and probably then later and later and later) but had NO intention of delivering to us the dishwasher that we’d paid for.

This is the stuff scams are made of: one company taking a customer’s money with no intention of ever delivering the product to the customer.  That money could have been accruing interest for the past 3 months.  Instead, Home Depot “borrowed” $685 from us, interest-free.  Our sales associate at the Orlando branch told us what had actually happened: Home Depot had sold OUR paid-in-full dishwasher to someone else, and was just trying to see how long they could put us off, without actually delivering an appliance to us.

Of note is the fact that this product is still advertised as being for sale in stores and online, and it is not listed as being backordered on the online store.  Presumably other customers are lending their money, interest-free, to Home Depot.

When we finally wised up and realized the truth: that no dishwasher would be delivered to us, we called the Home Depot and asked whether they would be willing to do an exchange for the new model of LG dishwasher in black that had replaced our model, the 6810.  We were told that for this model, also, there were no black dishwashers, so we requested a full refund.

We are concerned, though, about these unscrupulous business practices.  We feel that Home Depot accepted our money under false pretenses.  We regret the 3 months that Home Depot kept our money, money that could have been earning interest in our own account.  And we are very concerned that Home Depot is pulling the same scam on other customers that they pulled on us.

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Home Depot’s bright idea of service recovery was to substitute an older, lesser quality LG dishwasher model for the fully integrated dishwasher we’d purchased.  Their second idea, that they switch us to a GE product, did not sit well with us either.  We’d purchased the LDF 6810BB for several reasons: fully integrated control panel, black color that avoids the unsightly stainless smudges, stainless steel interior, and upper rack only dishwashing feature.  We wanted those features – all of those features – in our dishwasher.

What we ended up doing was getting a full refund from the Home Depot and marching our money down to Appliance Direct, where we purchased the dishwasher we wanted for about $65 less than we’d paid originally at the Home Depot.  The problem is that this dishwasher has 2 small dings in the front of it.  We were unable to purchase a brand new one, because, as Appliance Direct and Home Depot well knew, this dishwasher was no longer being made.  I have to wonder how much longer Home Depot was planning on stringing us along, before acknowledging that they’d taken our money but had sold our dishwasher to someone else.

Unscrupulous, I say!

 

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Roll out the brown carpet!

July 28, 2007

We now are the proud owners of some brown upstairs carpet. The upstairs landing area, master bedroom, and walk-in closet are all carpeted with a brown frieze carpet:

And, since the stain on the stairs is now dry, we were able to go upstairs and get a photo of the bamboo flooring in the great room:

Hot, Baby!

Some of the stair railings are up, but not all, so we’re waiting until they are complete before posting more stairs photos.

A lot of the action this week took place in the yard, where the landscapers have mowed and thinned out (a bit, but very conservatively as we requested) the front yard oaks/palmettos area. Here is the new front yard:

We’d asked them to put a short latticework fence around the well, so that we can plant coral honeysuckle (a Florida native) to hide the unsightly, bright blue well. The latticework is low enough for us to easily scale it and wide enough where we can comfortably work with the well if necessary.

The landscapers also mowed our back yard – halleluia! – so that now we can actually walk without fear of stomping on a rattlesnake. This is the area where my raised garden beds will go:

And, just because I don’t think we’ve shown a photo of the finished back side of the house, here it is:

This picture was taken from behind two of our oak/palmetto clumps. We’re going to thin these out a little, not a lot, ourselves, but basically we plan on keeping these islands of plants and using them to define the back yard. There will be a path right between the two.

Next steps: Our builder Woody has called for the final inspection this coming week, which means that his helper, Nick, has got to finish putting up the railing first. After some appliance issues with Home Depot, which I will discuss in a later post, we ended up cancelling our dishwasher order there and getting a new one from Appliance Direct. Our new dishwasher and refrigerator are both supposed to be delivered this week.

We’re floored!

July 21, 2007

Our bamboo floor is mostly, but not entirely, finished. The installers only have the landing on the stairs to complete, then the carpet, and then we will have our floors completely covered. The bamboo looks so nice; the light color really opens up the rooms and makes them look brighter. It’s interesting how the floor itself seems to be different shades, depending on the color of the walls.

Here is a photo of the bamboo floor in the foyer, with the bamboo transitions:

And, to showcase the color difference, here is the bamboo floor in the dark red library:

And here is the same bamboo floor in the light green guest bedroom:

Our builder, Woody, has had his one employee, Nick, hard at work staining and painting our stairs. Apparently Nick enjoys working on our house now that we have an air conditioner and a working microwave! We went out to the house on Thursday of this week, so we have a photo of the stairs with the maple treads stained but the risers not yet painted:

And the same stairs on Saturday, with the pine risers primed:

We have a large box on our front porch, and Woody and Nick very kindly break down all cardboard for us and put it into the large box, so that on Saturdays, we can bring the cardboard to the recycling center. Today, we had two surprises in our cardboard. One was a roach (!!!), and the other was a large, 4-5″ spider:

Luckily, the spider very kindly moved aside and let us unload all of the cardboard boxes, and we, in return, left him dwelling peacefully in our large box.

Next steps: Nick will continue painting & staining the risers, railings, and balusters.  The flooring company will install the carpet and bamboo landing.  And our landscaper will begin working tomorrow (Sunday) and Monday to get in our irrigation systems.  We are very, very close to being finished!

Landscape Plan

July 16, 2007

A great big thanks to edabbey who told me how I could post my .pdf file up here as an image! So without further ado, here are our landscaping plans:

Click here for a larger image. The clumps of oaks & palmettos are those that already exist on the lot. We’re trying to keep the yard as natural as possible, and we both like the look of the live oaks & palmettos. The light green areas are grass: Bahia. We would have preferred centipede grass but, frankly, couldn’t afford it! It would have cost an extra $3000, and, especially since we plan on eventually thinning out the grass and adding groundcover like sunshine mimosa, we couldn’t justify it.

We’re having a layer of rock around the house, at the recommendation of our builder. I’ve read to keep plants at least 2′ from the foundation, so the rocks will ensure that.

So this is the big plan, and I’m meeting with the landscaping guy tomorrow, to implement.

We have the power!

July 14, 2007

That is our big news for the week: we passed the electrical inspections, and we now have power. It felt so luxurious to walk into our house and feel it as a cool, comfortable 78 degrees. Ah, the simple joys of air conditioning!

Because the power is now on, the flooring guys can begin the flooring installation next week. They will lay down our bamboo floors, starting either Tuesday or Wednesday. The bamboo needs to acclimate to our particular temperature/humidity conditions, so the boxes of flooring have been delivered and are acclimating:

Here is a closeup of our flooring, which is Columbia brand bamboo:

The other big news is that we now have a driveway! Our builder, Woody, poured our driveway this week. It’s mostly, but not entirely, dry yet. Dry enough to walk on, but not dry enough to park on:

Now that our driveway is poured, our landscaper can come out and lay our sod and plant the plants we’ve ordered. I’m going out on Tuesday to meet with the landscaper and Woody, so that should be interesting. We have our landscaping plan made, and I would post it here, except that it’s a .pdf file and I don’t know how to turn that into an image that I can upload. If any experts out there want to volunteer some help with this, that would be great, because then I could put up our landscaping plan.

A note about mosquitos here: they are crazy!  Our dog Hannah stepped outside of our apartment today, and a swarm of hundreds of mosquitos just rose from the grass and descended upon us.  I’ve never seen so many of them, just waiting in the grass like that.  It looked like a cloud rising up to bite us!

Next steps: landscaping & flooring, both happening this coming week. We’re nearly there!

Plumbing the depths of our plumbing

July 7, 2007

Pretty much all that we’ve gotten done this week is the plumbing. The hold up? We can’t get the electrical inspection until the surveyor comes out and gives us a report that the HVAC units are above flood level. So…

We did have a welcome addition to our kitchen: our 50-bottle Magic Chef wine cooler. Home Depot gave us the run-around, when we tried to purchase this, but we finally got the wine cooler that we wanted, at the price we wanted (it was on sale because they will no longer be carrying this item). Here it is in our cabinets:

And here is a shot of the inside of the wine cooler:

Also in the kitchen, our new faucet fixtures have been installed. All of our fixtures are Moen, and this one is in stainless steel:

Our fixtures in the bathrooms are Moen Monticello, in platinum finish. Here is the downstairs bath (notice the new pedestal!):

Here are the bathroom fixtures in the upstairs master bath:

And here is the Roman Tub fixture for the whirlpool tub:

Our showerheads were installed, though the body jets have not been installed yet:

One of our green building features was to install dual-flush toilets in both of our bathrooms. We chose the Toto Aquia EL (elongated) model, because we’d read good reviews about its flushing power:

The dual-flush toilets offer two options of water usage: a .9 gallon flush and a full 1.6 gallon flush:

Because Florida is in such a water crisis, and especially because there’s no need for a full 1.6 gallon flush each time, we spent the extra money on the dual-flush toilets. The Toto models that we purchased run approximately $250, though Home Depot now carries a Pegasus Tulip model for $199.

Next steps: Getting the electrical inspection this week!  This will allow us to get our flooring installed.  The driveway should still be on track to be poured this week, unless something comes up, and after that, the landscaper can come in and do his thing.  The yard has been leveled nicely, so that it’s ready for some sod.