Ok, so after months of budgeting, weighing pros and cons, and figuring out your priorities (ie. buy a boat, cruise to Jamaica, or put the money into the home?), you have finally decided you are ready to plunge into the wonderful world of kitchen remodeling.
First of all, congratulations. As an interior designer at a design/build firm in Massachusetts, I truly understand that making this decision and this commitment is a huge step by itself—and one of many, many decisions to come with the process. So where do you go from here? Well, here are some basics of kitchen design to help get you started on your kitchen remodeling project.
The Steps to Planning Your Kitchen Remodeling Project
Budgeting: One of the most important things to consider is the budget. If you are like most people who just simply do not know what a kitchen remodel costs, then budgeting can certainly be a challenge. One quick way to estimate what you should be spending on your kitchen remodeling project is to figure out what 10-20% of the total value of your home is. For example, if your home is valued at $300k today, then figure a budget of about 30k-60k. While that is a big range, that will at least give you an idea. Factors such as whether this is your “forever” home or a home you are planning to resell will help you decide which end of the spectrum to look at. This range will also help you to make sure you don’t “overdo it” or “underdo it” for your particular home. A home in a multi-million dollar neighborhood Weston or Wellesley should probably not put in cabinets from a budget box store. A small condo in Walpole doesn’t necessarily need to have the full set of restaurant quality appliances. Keeping these guidelines in mind can help with the return on investment.
Deciding Who To Hire: After you have figured out a budget, the next step is figuring out whom you would like to hire to do your work. Kitchen remodeling contractor options include the big box store teams, the budget-driven kitchen companies you see advertising on television, general contractors, independent kitchen designers, design-build firms, and architecture firms, among others. There are clearly a lot companies that offer kitchen remodeling services. However, remember that the kitchen is the most important room in your home from a lifestyle and resale standpoint, so don’t cut corners! Although it may seem that I am biased because I work for Masters Touch (a design-build firm in Medfield serving all of eastern MA), a design-build firm or other contractor with a turnkey solution is really the best way to go. One of the main reasons for this is because a design/build firm is typically a “one-stop-shop.” Instead of hiring one person to do the kitchen design, one company to do the cabinets, one plumber, one electrician, one general contractor, a design-build firm has all of those trades under one roof. The production manager at a design-build firm will take care of scheduling all the trades to make sure everything runs smoothly. Going an alternative route could lead to nightmares in terms of scheduling—and could end up making the job go from a 6-10 week job to a 9-12 month job—trust me, I’ve seen this happen to someone who tried to manage all the trades for his kitchen remodeling project himself. You do not want to go along this path.
One other great benefit to working with a design-build firm is the fact that the “design” part typically included with the kitchen remodeling project. It is crucial to work with an interior designer or a kitchen designer when planning a kitchen remodel. Measurements, for cabinets especially, need to be extremely accurate, and certain codes and standards need to be followed. If you just hire someone who just learned to use some kitchen design software but isn’t actually educated or trained in the field, you could again run in to problems that will end up costing more money down the line. Anyone can plop cabinets on to a floor plan and call it a design, but an experienced interior designer or kitchen designer will work with you one on one to figure out how you personally use the space and what will work best for you and your situation.
Having an Idea of What You Want: That leads me in to one last step to think about in the initial phase of remodeling your kitchen: decide what you want. I don’t mean that you have to know you want the Top Knobs Mushroom Knob on your cabinets or that you want your kitchen cabinets to be from Diamond Cabinetry. Your designer will be able to help you out with your selections. However, do an assessment of your current kitchen. What really works well for you? What isn’t working at all? A good designer will ask you these questions too, but to be prepared, have an idea of what you are looking for. More storage, more prep-space, better use of existing space (the layout), and better lighting are some of the things people usually tell me they are looking for, in addition to updating the aesthetics of the space. It’s also a smart move to have an “idea book” or use an online resource such as Houzz.com. This will help you explore differently styles, from contemporary to French Country. Here in Massachusetts, design styles for kitchens and cabinetry run the gamut from colonial to ultra modern.
Hopefully, these kitchen remolding basics will help you make that first step towards a beautiful, new kitchen! Stay tuned for my next post where I talk about trends in kitchen cabinets but until then, happy designing!
When you’re ready to embark in your kitchen remodeling project please call 508-359-5900 or Click Here to contact us.