kitchen remodel tips #2: design considerations

In this post I will cover a few things to consider as you begin to design your kitchen.

First, know your budget. The geral rule of thumb is 5-15% of the home value. That is a broad range, and it really does not address the question of WHY are you remodeling. For example, if you just bought a new house, and the kitchen is simply not your taste, remodeling the kitchen will not increase the value. If you are looking to remodel because you plan to sell the property your design chooices will be limited by current trends for resale. If this is your forever home and you want a kitchen that you will love being in, and that reflects your personality and taste, then you can be more bold with your choices.

So, lets skip the flippers and the sellers, and focus on you and your kitchen. Grab a sketchpad or notebook and measure your kitchen. Mark out the walls, add windows and doors (including trim), and any other structural items like a pony wall, column or soffit. Add in the gas and water lines, and think about how much remodeling you plan to do. Note your ceiling height. If your kitchen functions well you may just be updating the look of the cabinets, but you may want to make larger changes, so start with a blank slate.

Think about your use of the kitchen, do you entertain in the kitchen? are you a big baker or chef? Think about the flow of your daily routine. Make a list of items you wish you had, and things you want to do away with. Will you be removing, or adding a wall? Will you convert a peninsula to an island? Will you change you U-shape layout to a wall and island? Do you have basement access to move gas or water lines, or are you on a slab? The minimum clearance between areas is 36" and many prefer 42" or more.

I always begin with function. The kitchen has to function the way you need. A general progression of your thought process might be:

Where does the sink go?
Is the dishwasher on the right or left?
Where will you place a drawer base for cutlery, that is close to the dishwasher, but accessible to set the table without disrupting the flow of cooking?
Will the wastebasket go near the sink? or another location where family can access it near a work area?
How much storage do you need? 
Do you prefer drawer or door bases for storage?
Do you envision a pantry wall?
Do you have built-in appliances?
Will you add a coffee/wine bar?
Do you need a baking center?
Will you have a specialty range?
Do you want a custom range hood?
Will you use upper cabinets, or floating shelves?

When you begin to ask yourself these questions you also begin to pay attention to your daily routine and habits. 

If you plan to purchase new appliances, select those before designing your kitchen. The appliances will determine many cabinet choices, from size to type, such as built-in. The sink will also determine cabinet type (apron front or standard, and size). Your designer will want to know the model numbers for all applances so they can pull the installation schematics to find the correct cabinet size and configuration, as well as determine placement for clearances. 

While Pinterest is good, I recommend Houzz when looking for design inspiration because the photos are often paired with articles that explain the design choices, or detail the design problems they were addressing. 

Create an image file and begin to save your inspiration photos. This will help your designer see the look that you are going for, and they can break down the components in the image to the cabinets, molding, and panels needed. 

Next up: Style choices, color and personality


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