Dream Kitchen

Michelle Hardt, left, and Tim Hardt, right, go over details of the finished product with Dave and Tessa Williams. 

When Dave and Tessa Williams moved into their Park Stockdale home 23 years ago, they remodeled its kitchen themselves, making only cosmetic changes. After more than two decades, the couple decided it was time to make some real changes.

“I love to cook,” said Tessa. “Not only was our kitchen dated, but most of the appliances were not working properly. We decided that in order to stay in our home, we needed to make it work for us.”

Tessa is a marriage and family counselor and Dave works in real estate. The real changes they wanted to make required a contractor, so they hired Hardt Construction Services Inc.

“People are staying put these days and improving their homes,” said Michelle Hardt, who heads design services for Hardt Construction Services.

Hardt is conducting a one-evening “getting started” workshop at Bakersfield College on March 15 through the Levan Institute for Lifelong Learning to help homeowners planning a remodel. Kitchen remodels are the most popular in Bakersfield, with bathroom remodels coming in second, followed by room additions, backyard remodels and house façade facelifts.

“We really had no idea how much a kitchen remodel would cost, but we had a general idea of what we wanted to spend,” said Tessa. “After talking to our contractor, we realized that we needed to increase our budget a bit. But they were able to work with us to keep the cost reasonable by using prefab cabinets and some of our existing items.”

“The project was started the first Monday of December and finished Jan. 12,” said Tessa. “It probably would have been completed much sooner if it were not for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.”

During the construction month, the couple had to maintain a sense of humor and be inventive.

“We love takeout pizza and Chinese food as much as the next guy, but by the end of the project, I could not wait to make our own meals, without using the bathroom sink to wash the dishes,” she recalled. “We set up a mini kitchen in the living room with the microwave, toaster oven and coffee maker. We ate a lot at my parents’ house or with friends.”

But despite the inconvenience and cost, Dave and Tessa said they now are enjoying a kitchen that “exceeds our expectations. We are so proud to show off and cook in the kitchen we love.”

They advise people who are considering embarking on a remodeling project to ask a lot of questions, especially about alternative design options.

“If a contractor comes out to provide a bid and says a lot of ‘no can do’ about what you are looking for or offers no creative alternatives to fit your budget, move on to the next contractor until you find the right fit,” Tessa said. “It’s also essential to have constant communication with your contractor. Our contractor listened to what we wanted and was able to create our dream kitchen.”

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