The kitchen has been dubbed meeting central. Where everybody seem to assemble whether it’s family members or guests & even if dinner is still 2 hours away. It’s also #1 on the list of what most homeowners want or desperately need to remodel. Floors stuck in the 70’s? Wonder how people lived 10,20,30 years ago with limited pantry shelving? I mean, where do they put at least 3 cereal boxes? Those kitchen cabinets make you cringe? Yes, it’s time … to remodel your kitchen that is! I asked an amazing & experienced pro, Jenn of Kitch Cabinetry & Design here in Austin of her 10 Tips When Remodeling a Kitchen. Here you go!
1. Ask yourself, what is the scope of your remodel and do you have a contractor? There are factors such as plumbing, electrical, hvac, permitting & structural questions that a qualified contractor can deal with so you do not have to do the leg work. I can’t imagine calling each trade professional and trying to schedule each one, especially in Austin’s booming housing economy! In the long run, it will save time, money and lots of headache.
2. I hate to use the B word, but a BUDGET is vital to a remodel. Many times when I ask my clients their budget for cabinetry, they have no clue. I understand that, but everyone has a secret number floating around. A contractor can help you establish a realistic amount of money your project will cost you.
3. Educate yourself. Consumers know less about cabinetry than any other item in the kitchen. It is easy to get online and compare appliances, tile and flooring. But cabinetry is different. They are the largest, most visible, and potentially most expensive purchase in your kitchen. Your choices are incredibly varied and influenced by your needs and tastes, budget and floor plan. When shopping around, make sure you compare apples to apples.
4. We all know you have excellent taste, but a designer can take it to another level. Todays designers are more than fluff and stuff. They often act as contractors, hiring the correct trades and scheduling, along with sourcing lighting, tile, flooring, paint…etc. Then the magic happens. They know how to pull it all together. Designer’s work hourly, by room, cost plus, and may even offer package pricing. Make sure your designer has qualified contacts. Kitchen design is a bit different than overall interior design. At Kitch, we deal with circulation clearances, appliance specifications, will this door hit that door. We have all seen the drawer that won’t open because it hits the oven handle! These things shouldn’t happen with a professional kitchen designer. We want to know what you like. Tear out magazine pages, save ideabooks to Houzz, go crazy on Pinterest! My worst client is one who walks in and says “I don’t know what I like, let’s pick out cabinets”. Be prepared for a long, painful kitchen remodel! It saves time, money and in the end, you get a space that YOU love, not one your designer loves.
6. Ask yourself what you liked about your old kitchen and what things you would change. Storage is the most common complaint, but sometimes it is a matter of accessibility. I typically prefer designing with tons of drawers. You pull it out, and wala, grab what you need…instead of digging in the back of a cabinet! You may have a corner that is completely wasted. Pull out corner storage is a perfect way to utilize that space. Appliance cabinets, microwave cabinets and spice pull outs can also hide items that clutter the countertops.
7. Be realistic. The kitchens in magazines are in magazines for a reason! These pages and ideabooks should be strictly conceptual when planning your kitchen space. Be prepared to be shocked a few times when getting bids for your remodel! HGTV has given us all the conception that you can have a brand new kitchen in 2 weeks with no hiccups. Be prepared that you’ll be eating a lot of take out and cleaning up lots of dust.
8. Look before you book. So you and your designer/contractor have settled on a bid, picked out cabinetry, tile, etc. DON’T purchase anything until you know your vision can be completed. Even if your contractor is 99% sure the main wall you want to remove is not load bearing, get it checked. Whether you have to cut a hole in your ceiling or call a structural engineer, getting ahead of yourself can be a costly mistake.
9. Don’t be afraid to say no and communicate, communicate, communicate. As a kitchen designer, sometimes I can get a little wrapped up in what my vision is for my client’s space. We all have wonderful intentions, but this is YOUR space and YOUR money. Have an honest conversation with your designer or contractor if you do not agree with the design, time frame, material selections or scheduling. But do this BEFORE completion. Again, it will save you money and headache if you have an open line of communication.
10. If something goes wrong during the process, its not the end of the world! As designers, we live in a world of compromise, problem solving and client expectation control! We understand if the wrong tile shows up, it can usually be swapped out. If a wall was cut too short, more can be added. Give your contractor or designer the chance to make it right before you get your boxing gloves on! Sure, vent a little while we’re forming solutions right away. Most problems are an easy fix if caught in time.
Thank you so much Jenn! Brilliant tips! Remodeling can be an arduous and long process and more expensive without the help of a Kitchen Design professional. Don’t forget to check out her work here.
May your spaces scream of beauty and awe and your rooms effortlessly curated. Interior Design Austin and beyond.
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