What are your goals for the kitchen? Have you always wished you had a pot filler faucet right above the stove to quickly fill a pot of water for pasta? A beverage fridge is a popular add-on in many reno’s. How about a faucet that serves up boiling water on demand?
The ideal time to renovate your kitchen is summertime when the barbeque is getting full use and you may plan to be away at the cottage or travelling. To get the jump on renovation season, a Toronto-based award-winning interior designer, Judith Taylor, shares a list of important things to consider when renovating your kitchen timely.
HOW DO YOU USE YOUR KITCHEN?
Now, while that may sound obvious, you would be surprised. What are your wants, needs, desires, and kitchen goals? Do you want a room that you can entertain in and feels classy when the boss comes over for dinner? Or a cozy space for family nacho nights while the kids do homework and squabble over who got the last chips? While we are at it, what about one that helps you entertain a crowd and adds considerable value to your home, because we know kitchen renos can do that!
1. EYES ON YOUR BUDGET
We know budgets drive the whole process but there are ways to get a whole lot of style and not break the bank. A careful eye to navigate what’s mission critical and what is fluff and extra expense can go a long way. Everything starts with a plan (some call it a budget).
More than just a magical number of what you’d like to invest, a line by line plan for how to allocate your funds to achieve the dream, and a strategy to tackle those tricky questions when you want “X” and someone else wants “Y”. If you’re working with a designer, this is something they will help you with. A designer will queue up a deciding rationale to sway the argument when things get heated in the kitchen.
2. WHAT TO KNOW WHEN HIRING PROS
When it comes to hiring pros to do the work don’t be shy about asking to see their work. You can also get recommendations from others who have used them. Be prepared to drill in on what they liked and didn’t like about the process. It is a going to be an ongoing relationship, and like any good relationship, things will come up. You really want to feel comfortable with the people who are going to be spending time in your home over the course of weeks or sometimes months. Will you always agree? Personality type and conflict resolution skills are going to be part of it. Everyone works differently and it is better to know what the challenges and trade-offs are when you are making them.
3. MAKE THE DESIGN SUIT YOUR NEEDS
To design a kitchen that puts a smile on your face each time you walk in, you will need to consider a few things. First off, let’s put that self-cleaning fantasy off the list. It gets messy, somebody’s going to have to clean it. That is yours to negotiate.
Here are some good questions to ask yourself in advance:
- What currently bugs you about your kitchen? Do you need more prep space near the cooktop? More storage (who doesn’t?), room for seating, extra counter space? Are there constant traffic jams around loading the dishwasher while cooking a meal?
- How many people use the space? One at a time cooking, or family holiday prep?
- Do you entertain? In the kitchen? Or do you prefer a private space to prepare? Do you have children who like to get involved?
4. CONSIDER YOUR MOTIVATION
The best way to add value to your largest investment is to upgrade the kitchen. After curb appeal, this is what home seekers are eager to see next and it can make or break a sale. Some call it the “money room” of the home, not because you sink so much money into a renovation, but because the return on investment is arguably the best you can make in your home. Investing in a kitchen (wisely, of course) increases property value, and brings you joy in the short-run, gives great returns down the road.
IN OTHER WORDS, PAY ATTENTION TO ROI.
Our advice for smart investing is to choose updated but timeless selections. Selections that are too new or trendy will have your home looking dated far too soon. Don’t worry, we’ve got clever ways to keep it fresh and hip while not leaving it dated when the latest trends blow out of town. Create a highly functional layout and it will also optimize your ROI.
5. KNOW YOUR MATERIALS
Some favourite materials for a kitchen include solid wood or very high quality MDF for cabinets, quartz, marble, soapstone, or quartzite for countertops, updated, multi-functional appliances that are efficient, save on space, or are the show-piece for your kitchen.
6. RESPECT YOUR HOME’S STYLE
Far too often we see the result when a ‘kitchen company’ is hired to design a kitchen without consideration for the rest of the home. It should feel integrated. Like it was meant to be that way. You shouldn’t walk from one room to the next and suffer from time warp syndrome (a made-up malady but you get the point). Your kitchen style should reflect the style of your home. This includes the home’s architecture, existing furnishings (if they are staying), color palette, and overall aesthetic.
KITCHEN DESIGN AND THE REST OF YOUR HOME
For example, if you have a predominantly traditional home and you add a ‘space age’ kitchen, it will really stick out – and not in a good way! A good designer can bridge the two styles to create an updated harmonious result. Knowing what is the right update for your home is the job of a designer. This is where professional help makes a big difference!
7. GATHER IDEAS FOR YOUR AESTHETIC
Gather ideas for what your dream kitchen will look like. Pinterest, Houzz, and print magazines are great ways to develop and communicate ideas. There is always growth involved. You may start out thinking you know what you want but the more you see, the more your ideas evolve (the perils of a designer for their home).
It’s important to do your research before you start.. There will always be that new shiny thing around the corner when your BFF renovates a year later. Ignore that.
8. BE PATIENT
You know what we’re going to say next, Rome wasn’t built in a day. haste makes waste, and all those clichés come to mind when renovating a kitchen. People often start calling designers for kitchen renos in October/November when people start to remember the mayhem of the holidays from last year. News flash: THAT’S TOO LATE! This is why we are posting this NOW.
Once you choose the right professionals to take on the job, your most difficult task is to sit and be patient. Designing a kitchen isn’t a situation where you open up a catalogue and pick one. There are many details to be ironed out over the coming months. Each decision carefully considered, and then reconsidered when you move on to the next step to see that they all still work together. It is better to do it right the first time or wait until you have the means to hire a professional to do it right for you.
HGTV has done a lot for the design industry in creating the longing for a better home but really left the homeowner believing in a false dream. The dream that with a magic wand, a small investment, and a half-hour show, magic can happen.
If you want to get your kitchen wrapped up by the holidays, be sure to start your project no later than this spring.