Before You Begin Your Kitchen Remodel – Do Your Homework!

The time has come to take the plunge and remodel your kitchen. The prospect can be daunting. Where does one begin?

It’s a challenge for many people to get the kitchen remodel they dream of at a price they can afford, so planning ahead wisely and hiring the right people is critical.

If there are numerous structural changes, it might be a good idea to talk to an architect before hiring a contractor. He or she might have to bring in a structural engineer before any plans can be drawn up. If, however, the kitchen remodel is pretty straight forward, a good contractor and designer will be able to team up and design the spaces.

But how does a homeowner go about finding the right contractor for the job? Personal and designer referrals are usually the best source. I would suggest checking out one or two jobs the contractor has completed to see if the quality of work meets your expectations. As a designer, I have worked with many contractors and, over the years, have narrowed the list down to a few I trust. Often, builders will low ball a job to convince you to sign his contract. But, buyer beware: suddenly that low budget job starts to balloon with ‘unexpected’ costs. It’s not a bad idea to interview two or three candidates to compare costs and design options. And it’s just as important that you feel comfortable with the contractor you will be spending the next few months with. The last thing you want is a personality clash!

Before any demolition begins, it’s critical that you get prices on all aspects of the project, such as cabinets, appliances, tiles, and stones. Often, contractors will offer an allowance, but it must be realistic in order to avoid setting yourself up for disappointment when you find and fall in love with materials that aren’t in the budget.

Hiring a good designer is a great investment. A designer will offer assistance planning your space and will have access to numerous resources you might not otherwise know about. The designer will coordinate with the general contractor and his subs to avoid unforeseen problems that might arise.

Teamwork is critical if a job is going to be successful. If you do your homework, your kitchen will be beautiful, functional, and a room in which you’ll enjoy cooking and entertaining for many years to come!

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