3 Things You Must Do Before Starting a Kitchen Renovation

Over my career, I have worked on dozens of kitchen renovations. Some involved complete demolition and replacement, and others just needed a “refresh.” Recently, I worked with a couple of clients to complete smaller kitchen projects. Soon, I will work on a few larger ones, so it seems like a good time to share the three essential things you must do before starting a kitchen renovation.

1. Create a Detailed Budget

Kitchens are usually the most expensive home renovations. In my experience, the minimum amount clients spend is at least $50,000. Actually, spending up to $200,000 is increasingly common. However, most realtors say the kitchen is one of the best places to invest your money if you hope to sell your house for top dollar.

Many people think the $30,000 or $50,000 they pay to kitchen cabinet company is the cost of a new kitchen. It is not! There are many other costs. In fact, on some projects I’ve worked on, the final costs have been nearly three times that amount.

When I work with clients, I draw up a complete budget that includes everything they could possibly put in the kitchen. I also add a line item called “extras” that equals 10 to 20% of the total. (Trust me, you’ll need it for the “extra surprises” that often occur.) Only then do we look at the total and cut back as required.

2. Start from the Inside and Work Out

When starting a kitchen renovation, people should design from the inside and work out. Let me explain. I watch customers in cabinet showrooms and at local home improvement stores. Everyone prioritizes the look and finish of the cabinets. Then, by the time they consider all the internal workings of the kitchen, such as built-in cabinet and drawer organizers, there’s no money left in the budget.

At one point, I read some “tips” from a designer who recommended cutting out all the “goodies” inside the cabinets. I implore you, don’t do it! Over the years, I’ve spent (too) many hours in brand-new kitchens trying to organize the contents. Despite being beautiful on the outside, the cabinets were totally non-functional on the inside. Often, I would spend a few thousand dollars (yes, thousands!) on interior fittings. Naturally, that’s why people hire me – they want a designated place for everything!

slide-out corner cupboard organizer to think about before starting a kitchen renovation
Rev-A-Shelf Four Basket Blind Corner Organizer from Home Depot Canada is one of the “goodies” that helps keep a kitchen well organized.

3. Hire a Good Team

When starting a kitchen renovation, you need to build a good team. This will make the renovation go smoothly and produce better results. You can hire a general contractor to oversee the entire project or find some great tradespeople to take good care of you.

In addition to an excellent kitchen cabinet supplier, you’ll need the following tradespeople:

  • carpenter
  • electrician
  • plumber
  • painter
  • tile/marble setter
  • flooring installer
  • HVAC expert (for the heating/air conditioning ductwork)
  • lighting supplier (with a lighting designer)
  • kitchen appliance salesperson

Finally, you might need a therapist on call to help you and your family cope with the stress. However, there is a better option. Get in touch with me, and I will help you design and manage the entire project from beginning to end. After all, your renovation should bring you happiness.

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