Plannning a Kitchen Remodel

Successful kitchen remodeling is something that requires a fair bit of planning to get right.  It’s more than just picking out pretty cabinets and shiny new stone for the counter top.  Many different factors influence one another throughout the process and there are a few questions that you should be asking yourself before you start.


1. What is your budget?

Answering this question will help you a great deal with defining the scope of the project (how extensive the project will be), choosing materials and features of appliances and selecting tasks that you may even elect to tackle yourself.  It is very important to be realistic with your budget as this will be one of the main influencers of your decisions throughout the project.

Having a realistic budget in place will assist in your decision of whether or not to move that wall or if you will run that new flooring throughout the adjacent rooms.  Just remember to place a contingency fund of at least 10% in your budget.  When you’re shopping you’ll inevitably find something that you simply can’t live without or find something unexpected in the walls that needs replacement when you’re demolishing the old kitchen.


2.  Will you be shopping for a contractor?

Being a general contractor, I often need to shop for subcontractors.  When I moved from New York to Southern California, I was struck by the stark contrast of the two markets and had to turn my attention from oversight and inspection to subcontractor education.  While there are capable contractors to be found, they are few and far between and those that are capable are often unreasonably priced.

If shopping for a contractor, look for a proven track record.  Images from past projects and testimonials from past clients can also be helpful.  Better Business Bureau ratings are all but useless in Southern California given their past practices of “Pay to Play” (giving good ratings to businesses that pay for it).

Don’t be afraid to ask pointed questions during your interviews with contractors and make sure that your BS detector is in good working order.  If you think that the contractor is overstating their capabilities, is trying to be slick by leaving things out or evades your inquiries – move on…  In the end, it’s a decision that you have to be comfortable with and you should trust your instincts.


3. What is your style?

It’s important to select a style for your remodel that fits the character of your home.  Installing a shiny modern styled kitchen in a home that is otherwise classically styled seldom works, just as a traditional kitchen would look misplaced in a modern home.  Choosing a design that fits this basic stylistic narrative will give a solid base to work from throughout the design process.

Choosing a design language will assist in selection of things like the flooring, cabinets, countertops, lighting and appliances.


4.  What is your time frame?

Depending on your stylistic selections, some materials or components can take a very long time to source.  Artisanal woodwork can take several months to produce, the appliance you’re looking for might not be available until the next production run or getting the required amount of the special stone or tile that you chose might be floating on a slow boat from Italy.   Knowing these factors ahead of time is key to effective logistical planning and will help the project to run smoothly.


5.  How much experience do you actually have with the remodeling process?

If you haven’t been through a remodel  before, you may be in for a world of surprises.  Remodeling is a noisy, dusty, invasive process and it all takes place right in the center of your house!  Kitchen remodeling can be a particularly interruptive force since we use our kitchens several times a day which means that a interim kitchenette is required or you can plan on dining out for a few weeks.  A good contractor can help navigate you through the minefield of complex remodeling with a minimum of upset.



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