• Gail Jacobson

Five Tips to help you Prepare for A Successful Kitchen Remodel

Our kitchen is the heart and soul of our home. Embarking on a kitchen remodel is exciting, but can feel daunting and overwhelming. Below are five tried and true guidelines for approaching your project with confidence!

1. Establish your Goals: Why is this important to me?

- What “wants” and “needs” are driving this project? List and rank them by importance. Think below the “surface”, unearth your true motivations.

- What is not working in your current kitchen? What frustrates and delights you?

- How do you see your life changing because of this project? Is there a “bucket list” item that you might include?

- What is your timeline? Is it this year, next spring, by Thanksgiving, or a school graduation?

2. Establish the Scope: How much Change is Enough? (*)

- Would you be happy with one or more decorative changes, such as a new wall color, window treatments, or cabinet hardware?

- Would replacing one or more permanent elements, such as countertops, plumbing fixtures, flooring, or new cabinet doors and drawer fronts bring you the result you desire?

- OR, is the only way to get what you truly want and need to gut the kitchen and start over?

- Could your kitchen be improved by stealing some space from an adjacent room?

- Are you open to changing doorways, moving walls, and/or changing exterior windows and

doors to maximize the look or function of the kitchen?

(*) Note: Every remodeling project has a scope vs. value equation. Finding a balance will be informed by your research and by talking with experienced professionals.

3. Establish a Budget: What is my investment threshold?

- How much money, energy, and time are you willing to devote to this project?

- Do you have a realistic idea of what a project like yours could cost? Here’s a guide to get you started :

- Go back to your goals. How long do you plan to live in your home? Is this a short-term fix or a long-term investment? Check here for some ideas:

- How will you finance the project? This is a critical question, and you should be working towards an answer before you sign a design or construction agreement. Here are some suggestions:


- Research delivery methods.

Will you hire a Design Build firm to take you from start to finish? If so, you should be prepared to pay for a full-service experience.

Will you hire a Designer to create plans and send them out for bidding? This process will offer you more control, and help you not feel pressured.

Will you manage the project and/or do the work yourself? You may save money but will need to dedicate time to planning, preparation, pricing, interviewing, record- keeping and managing the project.

4. Do your Research: Who do I want on my team?

Your kitchen remodel could take many months to complete. You will be entering into a

long-term relationship with your team. For this reason alone it is crucial to find the right remodeling partner(s). Here are some tips for finding them:

- Canvas your friends, family, and acquaintances for referrals. Ask them the following questions about the remodeling experience:

- What were they good at and where was there need for improvement?

- Did the final price deviate from that, and why?

- Did they meet their project milestones and finish when promised?

- How was communication? Were they reliably accessible, or did you have to leave message after message to reach them?

- How did they handle problems and conflicts?

- Did the quality of their work meet your standards?

- Finally, would you recommend them?

- Peruse Houzz, NARI, ASID, Pinterest, Yelp, Next Door, individual company websites, and other online sources for Kitchen Designers, Design-Build firms, Architects and Contractors.

Read the reviews, Read between the lines! Then, narrow down your list to a few with

whom you resonate.

- Email to start a conversation

- Set up 15-minute telephone calls or virtual web meetings, use the questions above and

add your own.

- Make a spreadsheet with pros and cons, the facts and you “gut” reactions

5. Gather ideas and images: How do I want my new Kitchen to look and feel?

- Houzz, Pinterest, general Google searches and company websites are great resources! Explore, have fun, and dream!

- Screen capture images and write down what you like and/or don’t like about each. You will see a theme emerge.

- Identify a color, material, or personal object as a “springboard” for the design.

- Understand your financing options.

- All of these steps will streamline the design process!

Preparing for a kitchen (or any other!) remodel will be challenging, but it can and should also be fun, inspiring, and exciting! Your information-gathering phase will give you the purpose, direction, confidence, and fortitude for the work to come. Make it thorough and make it fun!

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