With the thought that forewarned is forearmed, I am writing this post, and subsequent ones, in order to give you an opportunity to look at what you are getting yourself into with kitchen renovations. Not wanting to put you off, but kitchen renovation projects, along with being the number one renovation being performed in the marketplace, are also one of the most complicated. This means that if you want your job to run smoothly, you will need to do some serious planning and then choose a designer and contractor you can trust and have confidence in.
SDW Langley renovation – before SDW Langley renovation – demo 1 hour in. SDW Langley renovation – demo end of day
You may be thinking “Hey, how bad can this be?” Well, here is the reality check. Getting this renovation done means that you will not have a working kitchen for some time. It will be dusty, noisy, you will be inconvenienced and every morning at 7:30 or so there will be a knock on your door so you can let a tradesman in so he can go to work. You will get to cook on the BBQ or camp stove and wash dishes in the bathtub. Put the phone number for the pizza place and Chinese food takeout on speed dial and buy a case of paper plates and plastic eating utensils.
SDW Langley renovation – cabinet install during SDW Langley renovation – countertops installed
So if this process is so bad, why do so many people go through it? The answer to that question is that if you want to update your kitchen, increase the convenience of better storage and workflow and have a space that makes you feel great every time you are in it, then this is what you have to do. And to lessen the inconvenience and shorten the time it would take to do the job, the more you are out in front of the process, and you can be with better planning, the better your experience will be. And what is the goal here? Get great space and have a better life.
SDW Langley renovation – kitchen complete
Where do you start? The answer is easy – make yourself familiar with what is in the market place and what choices you have. Visit kitchen cabinet showrooms, tour through new houses in subdivisions or buy magazines. If you are online savvy, there are great sites that you can visit on the web. Two of the best of these are Houzz and Pinterest. There are thousands of kitchens to view on each of them and the only risk in doing this is that you may get overwhelmed. Also on Houzz, you can do a search query for cabinet companies or contractors in your area and you can view their projects they have stored on this site. Also, many national cabinet manufacturers have fabulous websites where you can view their product line.
Once you have spent some time and familiarized yourself with what is available in the cabinet marketplace, the next step is to go and choose your appliances. I know this sounds a little early in the process but it is not. If you visit three cabinet shops one of the first questions all three will ask is if you have chosen your appliances. There is a very good reason for this. Because of the huge variety of appliance choices, when the cabinets are being designed, the designer wants to allow for exactly what you have chosen. Refrigerators come in a wide variety of sizes, is it a built in model or perhaps cabinet depth? Is your range 30” or 36” or 48”? Do you want a wall oven or ovens, warming drawer, cooktop or slide in range? As you can see, there are many choices and these need to be done before the cabinet design starts. So go and make your choices and get this part out of the way.
The next step is to choose a designer. I know this sounds self serving but my advice is to hire an interior designer who knows how to design kitchens or works with someone who does. Resist the impulse to have the cabinet company do the interior design. Their prime interest is to sell cabinets and for the rest of the material choices, generally they want to make it easy for themselves. With an interior designer, their prime focus is on the overall look and feel of the design and the cabinets are just one of the elements in the design. They will also have added experience with, and wider access to, material choices. And if you can find one that has colour consulting training (like the course Maria Killam provides and which my wife Nancy has taken) you will have way less chance of the material undertones being off. There is nothing worse than the backsplash tile clashing with the countertop and/or the counters not matching the floor.
Once you get to this stage, you are in great shape. Your designer should make this part of the process very enjoyable for you. This is where you get to make informed choices on layout and materials with someone watching over you to make sure you don’t make any mistakes. You will be shown the many options available in kitchen planning and products and how they will affect budget. He/She will educate you on why the design is turning out the way it is and you can have confidence in the final product. When you are done, you can take the completed drawings and specifications to kitchen companies and contractors for pricing and because you have provided them with a completed design, the pricing they give back to you will be real to the project and they should be bidding “apples to apples”.
On the following posts, I will be explaining how to deal with contractors, kitchen cabinet companies, appliance dealers, massaging the budget, permits, hazardous materials and much more of what you need to know.