Beware of Unnecessary Scope Constraints

We’ve felt some pressure to make decisions about the appliances.  Naturally, the electrician and plumber wanted to know exactly what we’re getting so they could provide services in the right places.  We also needed to be sure to coordinate the cabinets with the appliances. And lastly, the prices may go up soon. The appliance company has electronic price tags throughout the showroom that allow them to quickly raise and lower prices depending on costs and the competition!

Following our visit to the showroom we had a very good idea of our choices.  There was, however, some doubt that surfaced about our refrigerator selection.  We had chosen a Samsung model that met our requirement for 30” width. One of our cabinet vendors suggested enclosing the refrigerator with side panels to support a 24” deep cabinet above.  When we looked at this in our computer model we were dismayed by how massive the combination of refrigerator and cabinet were in the middle of the kitchen.

35″ deep refrigerator with side panels and deep cabinet above.
We felt that this combination was too massive for such a central location in our kitchen. Our selection was actually a bottom freezer with double doors above. I just didn’t get that into the model at this point.
Refrigerators are big and they easily dominate. However, we liked this better. It’s 28″ deep and 32+ inches wide, so it extends only 3″ instead of 10″ in front of the adjacent counter. Leaving the wall cabinets at normal depth also makes a dramatic difference. We decided not to be concerned that it will be more difficult to reach the cabinet doors.

A familiar issue with renovations is “scope creep”. This happens when you decide that either by choice or necessity, there is additional work that needs to be done. In our project that has already happened in several ways. For instance, I anticipated making adjustments to the existing plumbing system to accommodate the new plumbing fixtures. As it has developed, we had to replace the entire piping system. To keep the budget under control it’s important to limit scope creep. The opposite problem can also occur, where our attempts to limit scope keep us from seeing no-cost options.

Our refrigerator choices had been constrained by the distance between the ‘pass-through’ window to the back room and the doorway. These only allowed for a 30″ wide refrigerator. Once all the finishes were removed from the walls it became obvious that it was a simple matter to make the window a couple inches narrower to accommodate the wider frig. This situation arises often in a renovation project, in my experience. It was not our intent to completely rebuild our house. For instance, we did not want to relocate windows or make other changes to the exterior. That would push up the project budget beyond what we contemplated. We also wanted to limit changes to the interior that were not directly related to our goals. In this case, I did not consider changing the ‘pass-through’ window because it was not on our list of changes we wanted to make. It turned out to be a no-cost change that allows for the preferred appliance choice.

Today we went back to the appliance store to view the refrigerators and, hopefully, make a final choice. As luck would have it, our salesperson was available and we proceeded to make our choices and complete our order. Yay! Check off the appliance shopping!

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