One of the most important--and complex--investments you can make is a kitchen renovation. It can be fraught with expense and frustration but, with a little planning, it doesn't have to be. With a little planning and forethought, you can make your kitchen dreams come to life.
Designer Deb Nelson dropped by to let us know how to do it right.
Step 1: Find your inspiration
Start with finding pictures and ideas of what you love. Magazines and websites are a great place to start. Sit down, have a glass of wine and start collecting clippings of things that appeal to you. Deb kept track of hers using a magnetic board from Magnique.
Ask yourself if you are drawn to certain colours, styles or a particular look and make note of what you don't like. People often have very specific ideas of what they like and dislike in a kitchen. Think of specific styles you're attracted to in your cabinets which can really dictate the overall look. For example, are you drawn to traditional cabinetry with raised paneled doors or a very contemporary, sleek and shiny cabinet?
Step 2: Make a plan
The first part of a renovation is to look at the function your kitchen needs to provide to you. Are you a large family? Do you prefer open concept? Do you love to entertain and can't stand the idea of guests seeing pots and pans? Are you a gourmet chef/foodie?
You need to start with a serious, well-organized plan. If you don't have a plan, or if you are forced to start making snap decisions, it's where you can start to make mistakes and it can start costing a lot of money.
With a kitchen reno, you are making an investment in your home and you can easily exceed your budget. There is so much to consider and the details are key. You don't want to make mistakes. Mistakes in the kitchen can be very costly - you don't want to order the wrong counter top and have to replace it!
This is where you need to start thinking of the priorities that are really important to you. For those foodies, you may need to have a state of the art gas or propane range. Think about what those personal priorities and needs are for you when gathering ideas and inspiration. Ideally, you should plan out your whole kitchen before you start anything.
Here's a helpful kitchen checklist to get you started:
Cabinet door hardware
Decor/style -- overall look of the space
It's also important to stay organized with you plan and your progress by keeping all your important papers and items in one place once you've begun. Some of the things you'll need are trade quotes, business cards, drawings, floor plans and measurements. Some other things that might come in handy are a project calculator (available at Home Depot), a tape measure and takeout menus for the time you won't be able to use the kitchen! Keep it all in a folder and toss it in the trunk of your car when you run out to look at samples or look for something.
Step 3: Set a budget and a timeline
Be flexible when you have to -- but beware. When things start getting out of control, so does the budget.
As for your timeline, be patient. A kitchen renovation can't happen overnight. But the more on top of it you can be, the faster your reno will probably go. If you are doing it on your own, there is also an order to installation, so plan out the ordering date, the arrival date, the delivery date of everything. Know the time line you are working with.
How to use a storyboard
There are so many elements to a kitchen that require well thought out space planning. A storyboard is what you use to make your final decisions. First, take your inspiration photos on the road to start shopping around for specific details on what you want. Get quotes and gather up the samples. Make sure everything is in keeping with the budget you have set out. Keep looking until you find what you love at the price you can afford.
If you are starting from scratch, you probably need the help of a professional to lay it out properly. This service might be offered for free by the cabinet company you are using -- so make sure you ask.
There is order required for kitchen planning -- it needs proper function, layout, electrical, plumbing etc. For example, if it's a blank canvas space, you need to know the dimensions of the appliances to properly build the cabinets around them.
You can choose where to spend, as long as you've spent the time planning and done your homework you know where you can afford to go over budget and where you can save money. If you shop around, you can find really great pieces. Remember, you certainly don't have to sacrifice style to save money!
Where to buy the items featured in Deb Nelson's kitchen renovation