Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Adivce About A Kitchen Remodel (or any major remodeling project)

We have been in the middle of a kitchen remodel for over 6 months, and here are some of the things I've learned when trying to make decisions:

1) Take your time. I find that when we take the time to explore options, to do our homework, and to talk over our expectations and preferences, we make better decisions. And, the decisions are easier to make, because we know what we want and what we like. Don't rush - enjoy the process.

2) Do your homework.

  • You can go to the library and look at books. 
  • You can go online... there are thousands of images and articles available.  Pinterest and www.houzz.com are a couple of my favorite websites. You can also find remodeling tips online. I read this blog about a disappointing remodel and it was helpful.
  • You should also visit several stores, talk to salesmen, look for sales, and view product samples.
  • Ask friends for tips from their remodeling/building experiences
  • Compile a notebook or collection of pictures and ideas for your project. Take them with when you go to talk to professionals about the project you're doing.

Here are two of the pictures I took at one store we visited.  We used both of these ideas in our kitchen.

Here are pictures of the same ideas - in our own new kitchen!

3) Bring samples home! The light in your home is different than the light in the store.  Get as big a sample as possible. You can see here that we brought several samples of counter tops home. I didn't think I like the black granite (4th picture) for our counter top, but when I saw it on the cabinet, I fell in love with it.

 4) Be creative and make mock ups of your room. Either draw it on graph paper, or find an object that's about the same size. Put masking tape on the floor to make an outline.  We taped out the size of our future kitchen island. When we started taking out the old cabinets, we used one section as our island, and a table to simulate counters.

 Tonight we used a paper bag to lay out the kitchen sink and faucets. I couldn't believe how long it took us to pick out this faucet at the store, and how long it took to decide where to put the sprayer and soap dispenser. But once the holes are cut in the counter top we can't change it - so I want to make sure we're both happy with our decision.

 5) Decide what your must haves are, and what things are just wishes. Decide on your budget, and make sure that your must-haves are included. Find other areas where you can save money. I have always wanted a refrigerator with french doors and a bottom freezer. I was able to get it because we shopped when appliances were on sale, and  got it for a great price. We had a hard time deciding on whether or not to put in a dishwasher. We talked to friends and family, but still hadn't decided when we went to make final decisions with the cabinet maker. In the end, I gave up a dream to have pull out baskets for potatoes, etc. in order to have room for a dishwasher. Since we made the decision to have the dishwasher, I haven't regretted it at all.

6) Get advice from a professional. We asked a professional kitchen designer (Paula) to come out and help us, and it was money well spent. Not only did she give us advice on layout and design, she also designed the kitchen on the computer and sent us several drawings with different options.She was a great sounding board for our ideas, and her advice helped us make our decisions. So I guess I should qualify the statement about getting professional advice - find someone who knows what they're talking about but who is also willing to listen to what you really want. The drawings she sent us helped us clarify our ideas, and made it easier to talk with the cabinet maker and others. (One picture is worth a thousand words!)

 7) Be realistic. Unless you're wealthy, you won't be able to get everything you want. And, things sometimes turn out differently than you expected/ planned. For example - the stain color we chose was called "cashew."  The sample board we had was the same kind of wood as we were ordering for our cabinets - knotty alder. Cashew, on that board, was much the same color as a cashew nut. But when our cabinets came, they had a lot of red in them ( a lot of red!). We love the cabinets, and the stain color, now but it wasn't what we were expecting - so it took some time to get used to the new color. Another example is the corner cabinet.

We saw the idea of open shelves in the corner at a design store, and really liked the look. On the drawing of our kitchen they looked pretty big. But as you can see in the picture above, they aren't very big at all. But I still love them.

8) Be ready to have your world in disarray while the project is being completed. I feel like my kitchen has been in boxes forever, and I'm tired of doing dishes downstairs in the laundry room. But I keep the goal in sight - a beautiful functional kitchen!

9) Design your space for the way you live. My husband and I aren't getting any younger. So we built our kitchen with that in mind. We are getting a wall oven so we don't have to bend over so far to see into the oven and get things out. We ordered more drawers than cupboard doors - it's easier to open a drawer to get what we need than to reach way back into a dark cabinet. We are getting a lazy susan in the corner cabinet, and we got pull out cabinets for: spices, trash, and a pull out for the broom and some cleaning supplies.

10) Hire professionals to do at least some of the work. We decided that we could do the prep work on the walls, install the beam on the ceiling, and do all the wiring. But our time is worth money too. It would take us so long to figure out what cabinets to order and install - and plumbing just isn't our thing. So we hired out the cabinets and plumbing. Doing everything yourself isn't always the most cost effective - especially if you've never done those things before.

11) Don't forget lighting! Make sure your space is lit for the way you will use the space. In our kitchen that means pendant lights over the sink area as well as the island, and under cabinet lights as well. I love the lights we chose - and I love that they match!

12) Enjoy every moment - from the dreaming, planning, shopping, and installation. My husband and I have had such fun making our dream of a new kitchen a reality.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

This is great advice!