Mar 31, 2014

Kitchen Remodel MUSTS

When you're ready to redo your kitchen, there are a number of things you should consider so your investment in cost and time is done right.  It's worthwhile to meet with a kitchen designer so you can maximize your space, your budget, and get enduring changes without skimping on what's important to you.   If you do a remodel and don't include a feature that you didn't think about, you'll regret it. Understanding materials, care and maintenance, technology and even trends are important both short and long term.

In a typical kitchen remodel, regardless of whether the budget is small or large, your percentages for spending will look something like this:

8-10% Electrical & Plumbing

14-16% Appliances
16% Walls, ceilings, floors, doors and windows
29-30% Cabinets and hardware
10% Counters
22% Planning, design and installation

You should visit showcase homes, model homes, showrooms, and think about the pros and cons of your existing kitchen.  You might find that you love specialty appliances like wine centers and pot fillers, but when you consider the cost, amount of use, and space required, they may not be worth the splurge.  Some things that you might think are over-the-top but are value added in the long run are second sinks, finished cabinet ends and shelves and drawers on full extension glides. In the Carlsbad kitchen above, I was able to include a host of useful appliances, carefully placed and concealed for a luxurious end result. Every cabinet was detailed to provide maximum use of space and finished so they blended seamlessly with the furnishings in the adjacent rooms.

Appliances can be tricky to select. Sure stainless is cool, but can you get features you like without the up-charge?  If you're  planning to conceal them, Do you need a professional grade appliance and the changes in counter depth, venting and ductwork that are required?  Is a dishwasher or refrigerator drawer a pro or a con? What refrigerator style works best for you and do you need to sacrifice interior space for an in-door water dispenser?  New cooktops offer fabulous features so be sure to check out options like induction.

Counter top materials get better every year. Granite is NOT the luxury surface it used to be. Quartz has many PROS and few CONS over stone, and the appearance is often more beautiful. Solid surfaces have new styles and benefits and the costs are often more reasonable than stone. Integrating sinks into counters is a huge plus. Combining counter materials like Cynthia Ryan did in this modern space is stylish and functional.

Don't forget to add space for recycling and composting.  Most areas of the country are actively participating in programs now, and more will make it mandatory for household food waste. 

Good lighting is KEY in every kitchen. Know local codes for lighting and be smart in using good, correctly lamped (the right bulb) fixtures. Understand the value of LED, florescent and even incandescent lighting and which works best in specific places in your kitchen.  Technology is your friend in lighting design and control, and a small investment enables a money savings and aesthetically fabulous long-term results. These Arts & Crafts fixtures are all warm LED and toe kick lighting accents the cabinetry around the peninsula serving as guide lights.

Know that there are  many flooring options and learn which is best for you. Wood, porcelain, vinyl, cork, ceramic and even linoleum have PROS and CONS for performance, durability, cost to purchase, install and maintain.  Wood is $8-40 per square foot installed but has performance and care drawbacks. Porcelain is $11-25 per square foot installed but colder underfoot. Cork is warm and $10-20 installed but does need occasional to coating. Linoleum has the best value at $4-8 installed, with beauty and design like never before, but seams are a must in large spaces.

Cabinetry is the usually the most expensive part of a remodel. Is wood better than laminate? Can you upgrade your look yet lower costs with veneers? Should use a custom fabricator or buy manufactured?  Understand the finishes and what will be more durable for your type of use. Antiquing and distressing is beautiful but not always worth the splurge. Consider that open shelves may be easier and better than closed door cabinets.  Be SURE that your interior fittings work for your lifestyle.

Plan a layout BEFORE you buy anything or demolish what you have. It may be better to change the position of your plumbing, gas lines and dedicated oven and fridge receptacles. It was key in this Coronado kitchen for me to relocate the gas line  for ideal work flow and a balanced kitchen. 

 Don't start without having all of your products in hand. Finding a sink you love only to find that it's back-ordered for weeks can wreak havoc with your life and the rest of the kitchen project.