In my dream world, THIS is my stove…
Because I love to cook and bake and entertain (my daughter affectionately refers to me as “Martha without the jail time”?!), my stove has to be exceptionally functional. Because we are so affected by our surroundings, I’d prefer it to be beautiful as well! In reality, this holds true for all things kitchen. It HAS to be a functional space, but it should also bring you joy – even if you DON’T love to cook.
Everybody has to eat and food lives in the kitchen so by definition, you will spend time there, regularly…it is probably one of the hardest working and most used rooms in the house. It is also one of the most expensive to remodel, so making good choices is of the utmost importance – unless you have an unlimited budget, you won’t be remodeling it very often.
You first need to know how you will use the kitchen, and who/how many people will use it.
Obviously for food preparation, but are you more apt to be microwaving leftover takeout or making homemade fettuccine noodles? Do you need your coffee before your eyes are completely open in the morning? Do you anticipate two or more people cooking together occasionally? Bake elaborate pastries? Just eat said pastries?
What will you do in there besides cook? Eat? Entertain? Have caterers? Supervise homework?
How many electronics land or get used in the kitchen? Phones? TV’s? Laptops? Tablets?
How much cookware, dishware, small appliances, and pantry staples do you keep/want to keep on hand?
How do you live? Are you a fastidious or messy cook? Do you have pets? What are the ages and abilities of the people who will use this space?
And you need to know what the available square footage is you can access. Can you reconfigure the space to function better for you? Does it make sense to move walls to get what you need, or to add windows or skylights, or to expand out with an addition?
What are your aesthetic preferences and how do they work with the current architecture? Do you prefer clean and sleek or warm and charming? Light and bright or more dramatic?
These are just a few of the many questions you should be answering before you even begin to tackle the details…the answers will inform the design.
If you haven’t remodeled in a while, or ever, you may be shocked to find out the available options and the decisions you need to make. You thought you just hire a contractor and pick a cabinet style, counter material, and backsplash tile…and maybe some flooring? Um no. HGTV lied to you about that.
There is a dizzying array of choices and while that is great news – it means your kitchen can be tailored precisely to meet your wants and needs – it can also be overwhelming.
Cabinetry alone will require a myriad of decisions all with pro’s and con’s to weigh…construction materials, custom, semi-custom, inset, face frame, frameless, full overlay, glass doors or open shelves, door and drawer styles and finishes, stained or painted or glazed or a combination, organizational inserts and specialty cabinets, hinge types and shelf supports, drawer and door configurations, upper cabinet heights, trims and brackets and turned legs and molding details, toekick or decorative feet or furniture base, knobs or pulls or handles (or some combination) and the style and finish of these...AND these should all work seamlessly to integrate with the aesthetics of the room and the house.
And if your eyes have already glazed over, don’t even start on the appliances. There are hundreds of options of refrigerators alone! French door, side-by-side, lower freezer, upper freezer, water and ice through the door? I’ve even seen one with a coffee maker in the door!
For higher end kitchens, the options are even greater - do you want refrigerated drawers in the cabinetry instead of (or in addition to) a traditional refrigerator? A separate refrigerator and freezer? Stainless or cabinet paneled? Slide in, cabinet depth (which isn’t, actually) or built in (which is)?
Stove or cooktop and wall ovens? How many burners, how many ovens and what size? Gas, electric, induction or a combo? What finish? Freestanding, drop in, or slide in? And the list goes on and on with hoods, microwaves, dishwashers, wine fridges, built-in coffee makers - all with many, many options and requirements – you get the idea.
The layout, materials and finishes, cabinetry, appliances, faucets, hardware, lighting fixtures and electrical plan, finishes, floors, countertop, and backsplash choices all have to be made…and every one of these categories has hundreds of options….from the material, thickness and type of edge profile for your counters, to the type of light switches, their locations, and how many/which lights should be grouped on each circuit.
So. Many. Decisions.
So how do you negotiate all that? Getting the kitchen of your dreams is a lot of work. Unless you really do not care about the outcome, or your budget, you need to do a LOT of research so you know what you want and what all the options are that best meet your needs and budget.
OR if you don’t have the time or the temperament for all that, you can hire an expert to guide you through the process who has the experience of having done that already many times over, who is up on the current trends and can differentiate between the hot-today-dated-tomorrow fads and the true classics, and will help you make the most of your investment. A good designer will take the time to find out what YOU really need and can give you solutions you may not have thought of. They will connect you to the right places to implement that design and advise you on the selections that match your goals for the space, your budget, and work well with your lifestyle and the aesthetic of your house. And when an unforeseen issue arises during construction, and it will, they will know how to adjust the design to accommodate the new information and insure that it will still be the kitchen of your dreams.
Remodeling a kitchen is a bit like becoming a parent…exciting, scary, messy, feels like the process takes way too long…but in the end you will enjoy your new kitchen and the value it adds to your life and home for years to come.
The kitchen is the heart of the home and truly worth the trouble to do it right!