The weather is getting warmer and we are all craving some lemonade. Some people call it summer time, we call it busy season in the construction industry. Summer brings to a lot of home owners long awaited projects and if you are one of them congratulations! Today I specifically want to talk about kitchen renovations. I am going to start from the beginning. So you have decided to retire the old pastel appliances. Now what? Where do you begin when you don’t know where to go?Let’s start before you ever leave your house. Like all big decisions, start with an education. Try not to bog yourself down in the nitty gritty details right away, instead try and begin with collecting some photographs of other spaces that you like. There are lots of websites for this type of research but I personally like Pinterest and Houzz (WARNING–I should not be held responsible for the Sunday afternoons lost on these websites!). Try and stay opened minded when browsing these websites and don’t look for how the elements you like can or can’t be transferred to your kitchen (besides, that is what I am here for!). Instead, look for things like cabinet door details, color combinations, and hardware selections.
Once you have a nice collection of “inspiration images” you are ready to look closer at some of the details. Comprise a “wish list” of the things you would like to see in your space. It could be a 48” professional grade range or even as simple as a glass tile back splash. Keep it reasonable but add a few things even if you aren’t sure they are feasible just to bring up as discussion topics as your project progresses. That’s my, “you never know until you ask,” attitude.
Also begin to think about how you want your space to function. How many cooks are in your kitchen? Do your kids enjoy helping? Does your family eat in the kitchen or somewhere else? Who spends time there and what activities do they do in the space? All of these questions need to be answered in order to make the most of your space.
Once you have done your homework you are ready to shop. Here are a couple of things you want to make sure you bring with you in order to make the best use of your time.
– Pictures of your existing space. Unless you are a naturally good sketch artist, don’t forget this first item.
– A rough sketch with estimated dimensions. This doesn’t have to be pretty. It just needs to communicate the general shape of your room and give a better indication than just saying, “Oh it’s 12×15”. Also notate any door, window, or other architectural elements.
– Remember that wish list you were working on? Grab that also. It is important to have a running list of these items as they come to you. That way when you are put on the spot about what you are looking for you are able to have a reference sheet.
I’m not going to tell you where to shop because the right place could be different for each individual. Wherever you go make sure that you feel comfortable with the professionals you are working with and that you trust them to do their best work in your home.
It is easy to become overwhelmed in the decision making process. Deciding where to conserve and where to invest in upgrades can be a daunting task. My suggestion is to go back to your wish list and pick two or three things to serve as focal points in your space. If you do every upgrade that is offered to you for “not that much more” you will bust your budget early in the project and you may not be allowing enough cushion in case something goes sideways. On the flip side, building your new kitchen out of the cheapest materials you can find may yield a less desirable outcome or you could suffer later when the lifetime of the product is shorter than you expected. It is a balancing act and learning when to say yes or no on an upgrade is a keystone to success for your project. If you aren’t certain, review the benefits of the upgrade in detail and make sure you understand the differences in what you would be getting.
Something I hear from clients frequently is “I didn’t even think about that!” There are a handful of things you want to educate yourself on before you ever place a deposit. This will allow you to make decisions that are not only appropriate to your space but that also fit within your budget allocation.
-Who is your general contractor? I list this one first because I believe it is one of the most important decisions you will make during this process. Not only is this going to be a good chunk of your budget but they are also going to be in direct contact with you and your family for the entirety of your project.
-What flooring material are you using? Literally starting from the ground up. You don’t have to have a specific piece picked out before you begin the decision making process but see what your options are and try to narrow it down to a specific material like tile or hardwood.
-What are you doing about cabinets? Just a general idea of style (traditional, contemporary, transitional, etcetera) and if you are thinking paint or stain, light or dark.
-What is your countertop material? Whether you are going with granite, quartz, or a butcher block. Know the differences and see what material is best for your lifestyle.
-What appliances are you using? Again, you don’t have to know the specific make and model but try and select what sized appliances you might be going with and if you are going to want a combination unit or a double wall oven.
Once you have answers to the above questions you should have a nice understanding of what the project will cost and you are empowered to make educated final decisions for your new space. Take your time to do your homework. Oftentimes people get in a hurry and they feel rushed to make a decision in order to get the project rolling. Spend the few extra days on the front-end to save yourself years of regret later.