Recent Review: I want to say up front that I am very very pleased with the results of the remodel. I also want to say that I couldn't have been happier with our designer, Connie Mann. She was fabulous to work with, had a very pleasing personality, great work ethic and wonderful, creative ideas and details and was a true professional. We also loved the guys who did the actual work. They were also professional and courteous and skilled at their jobs. This seemed to be an extensive job (to me) and they completed it on time, in three months. So, with all of this glowing praise, why do I say I wouldn't use Dream Kitchens again? In short, the owner. On the face of it he comes across very friendly, but we ended up feeling manipulated. The actual project was completed in three months, but the planning began in January and went through August. Most of that was due to our needing time to make choices. We also had the 24 hour care of our 2 1/2 year old twin grandsons living with us until July that year. The owner, Kevin Schmidt, was accommodating to our need for time. We had also told him upfront that we could not begin construction until the boys were out of the house. Our biggest problem became one of trust. When we were first shown three designs for the kitchen area, BEFORE we had decided to put any money down and commit to Dream Kitchens, we asked what the approximate cost would be for one of the designs (the one we liked best and decided to go with). We were told $75,000. That fell within our budget range and of course we knew it was likely we would make changes or additions and raise the price some, but this seemed a solid base. After we had put money down and spent more time on finalizing the design we found out that the price he had quoted only included 2 walls of the kitchen. He hadn't included the built-in buffet wall, nor the pony wall alterations between the kitchen and family room. That was additional and he hadn't considered it part of the kitchen -- even though that was part of the design we were looking at when we asked the price. That was the beginning. There was also no "contract" provided. He said that if he gave his clients a contract that would scare them off. To the contrary, we saw a contract as protecting both sides in this undertaking. He just wanted us to sign agreements to pay amounts on a given schedule. We held firm and demanded a contract. Our son-in-law is a lawyer and he downloaded a generic contract for remodeling which we presented to Kevin. Kevin agreed to use it. It gave dates for starting, work to be done, a payment schedule and penalties for late completion. Other issues were getting firm prices on items. The cabinets were not an issue. Connie gave us those prices as well as for the granite and marble. For the wood flooring -- I got the quotes from other outside sources and kept those out of the Dream Kitchens contract -- to Kevin's chagrin. But for the plumbing fixtures (sinks, faucets and toilet) and lighting allowances and windows, it was like pulling teeth to get a firm price from Kevin. It was all evasive. The plumbing fixture store would tell me it depended upon what discount dream kitchens would give. Kevin would say it depended upon the plumbing fixture store and what discount they would give. We built our house in 1979, with WILMAC, and I learned then that builders get discounts and either pass those discounts along to you and charge for their labor or don't pass the discount along and that is partially how they pay for their labor. If I remember correctly, Kevin wanted to add 25-30% on to any outside product. This was in addition to the "lump sum" he listed in the contract for labor costs and the discounts from outside vendors. It was always impossible to pin him down on anything financial. I have a neighbor who got so far in the planning process with Dream Kitchens before pulling out due to "issues" with the owner; and she had a friend in Bishop's Bay who chose not to go past the first meeting because of the "red flags" related to the owner. I feel Dream Kitchens delivered a great service and product. As I said, I was very happy with the results. I sincerely appreciate the employees -- they work very hard and are very talented and I don't want to hurt them in anyway. I felt I was in a wrestling match with Kevin the entire time -- once our eyes were opened and we realized how he worked. If I was a new client looking at what Dream Kitchens' had to offer and it seemed like something I would like -- I would go in with very specific questions (he's like a politician in that he answers vaguely) and demand specific answers in writing. If you stick to your financial guns -- you will probably be happy with the rest.