I have worked on dozens of kitchen renovations over the last ten years. Some involved a complete demo and replace and some just a “refresh”. With a couple of smaller kitchen projects just completed and a couple of larger ones about to begin, it seems to me like a good time to share a few of my top tips for planning a functional and beautiful kitchen.
Create a detailed budget
The kitchen is usually the most expensive renovation you’ll ever take on in your house. In my experience you can’t get away with less than $50,000 and spending $200,000 isn’t difficult to do. You will often hear that your kitchen is also one of the best places to invest your money if you hope to sell your house for top dollar.
I usually do up a complete budget with everything you could possibly put in the kitchen and add a line called “extras” for 10 to 20% of the total. Trust me, you’ll need it. Only then do I look at the total and start cutting back as required.
Many think that the $30,000 or $50,000 paid to the kitchen cabinet company is the cost of a new kitchen. It is not. With the projects I’ve been working on, costs have been about three times that amount in the end.
Start from the inside and work out
I don’t think many people design their kitchens this way – starting from the inside and working out. Watching customers in cabinet showrooms and at local home improvement stores, everyone begins with the look and finish of the cabinets, so by the time they consider all the internal workings of the kitchen, such as corner rollouts and drawer organizers, there’s no money left in the budget.
I was recently reading some tips on how to stay on budget from a designer who recommended cutting out all those “goodies” inside the cabinets. I implore you, don’t do it! I’ve spent many hours in brand new kitchens trying to organize the contents because they were designed to look beautiful on the outside but were totally nonfunctional on the inside. I spend at least an additional $5,000 on interior fittings in the kitchens I design. Naturally that’s why people hire me – they want the space to have a place for everything!
Hire a really good team
You’ll need a really good team to make your kitchen renovation go smoothly and have the best possible results. So either hire a contractor to oversee the entire project, or find some great trades who will take good care of you.
In addition to an excellent kitchen cabinet supplier you’ll need:
- a carpenter,
- an electrician,
- a plumber,
- a painter,
- a tile person,
- a flooring installer
- maybe an HVAC expert (that’s for the air conditioning you decided to add “while you were at it”)
- a lighting supplier (with a lighting designer) and
- a knowledgeable appliance salesperson
And finally, you might need a therapist on call for the several nervous breakdowns you’re bound to have. Better yet, get in touch with me and I will help you design and manage the entire project from beginning to end. After all, your renovation is supposed to be fun!