Homeowners Guide: Kitchen Remodeling
Kitchen remodeling is a big project for homeowners. Before you start tearing apart your kitchen, there are many things to consider. We can’t stress enough how important the planning phase is. This is where all of the decisions are made – once power tools are out and walls are down, last minute changes may be out of the question (at least without blowing the budget).
Step one – Research and Planning
Once you’ve made the big decision to remodel your kitchen, it’s time to get excited! Hop online, do some searching and let yourself drool over all of those beautiful dream kitchens. Contact your designer and ask for some inspiration samples and catalogs as well.
Once you’ve had your dose of swooning, take another look and make notes of what it is that you do and do not like about the kitchens. Be sure to keep function and aesthetic in mind as you look. Consider colors and style; maybe you want a white kitchen, or maybe natural wood and earth tones. What style do you like – traditional, classic, country, cottage, rustic, modern, a mixture of styles?
Need vs. Want
Once your have your list of likes and dislikes, it’s time to level with yourself; what do you need and what do you want. Prioritize the elements and finishings in your dream kitchen. Yes a prep sink may be nice, but will you really use it? What about that wine fridge under the island? How cool…wait, you don’t drink wine.
Consider these things and make some more notes about what you need to have and what you would like to have. Unless you have unlimited space and money, there are going to need to be some items at the bottom of your list that can be crossed off when it comes time to create your budget.
Speaking of budget
… again, be honest with yourself (and your designer). What do you want to spend and what can you afford to spend? Often times a realistic kitchen remodeling budget is somewhere between the two. Once you have selected a designer and construction team, they can really help you with your budget. It’s easy to overlook how much things cost:
- Design costs
- Construction costs
- Construction materials
- Appliances and fixtures
- Finishings and furnishings
- Clean-up and last minute details
- Contingency for unexpected issues
A HUGE benefit of working with a design/construction team is that they have experience. Yes you need to pay them for their service, but they know what they are doing. They can get in there and do it right the first time, efficiently. They also have connections — construction materials, cabinetry and countertops are often sold at lower prices to professionals than homeowners. See our products page for our preferred vendors.
Selecting a Kitchen Design Team
Don’t just research what kind of kitchen you like, but also look around for the right design and construction team. Remember to consider the following:
- Check out their portfolio
- Where are they located and how far will they travel? Just because they are over an hour away doesn’t mean you can’t hire them. Many teams are happy to travel.
- What do they offer?
- What are their rates?
- How well do they seem to communicate?
- Are they responsive?
- Ask some questions to get a feel for how knowledgeable they are.
- What is the estimated project timeline like?
- How many other projects are they juggling?
Remember, you often get what you pay for. It’s worth spending a little bit more on the right team that is experienced, knowledgeable and responsive, vs the cheapest bid that cuts corners and doesn’t return your phone calls.
Preparing for Demo and Renovation
A remodel takes time. First there may be permits that take a month or so to get approved. Then it’s onto demolition and construction. Be prepared to move out temporarily or to have a non-functional kitchen. Depending on the design and construction, you may be able to work things out with your team to have limited use and functionality of your kitchen at designated times. Preparing and organizing your living plans ahead of time can save you and your team a lot of stress.
Demo and Construction
A good design/construction team will keep you in the loop, it is your house after all. That said, don’t try to micromanage the experts you hired. Stay updated with the progress and materials along the way, but don’t question their process. Renovations and remodels often look like a gigantic mess, but there is an order and process to these things. Interrupting to ask lots of questions and “lay the pressure on” creates a tense working relationship.
When kitchen remodeling construction is complete, you’ll probably be excited and relieved. Not only will you have your kitchen back, but it will be better (maybe even bigger). It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget to look everything over, but make sure everything is there and in working order:
- Does the plumbing work?
- Do the drawers slide properly?
- Do the cabinets open and close properly? (not sticking)
- Do the cabinets have knobs/hardware?
- Do the lights work?
- Fixtures in place?
- Faceplates on the light switches and outlets?
- Backsplash is correct?
- Paint color correct?
- Paint job even?
It’s easier to draw attention to these details now rather than after the construction team as packed up and moved on to another job. Expect there to be some loose ends and don’t let it discourage you.
The final thing to do is enjoy your new space.
It may seem like a daunting task, and for many homeowners, it is. But, with the proper guidance from an experienced designer and construction team, the stress is off of you to make it a much more enjoyable experience.
Houzz.com has some great resources for homeowners. Check out their kitchen design photos for inspiration http://www.houzz.com/photos/kitchen
Design Kitchens and Bath, LLC.
12061 Nebel St.
N. Bethesda, MD. 20852
Phone: (301) 603-2410
Monday - Friday, 10am - 5pm
Saturday - By Appointment
Evening hours - Upon request