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Home INDOOR Kitchens How to Begin a Kitchen Remodel

It’s one of the toughest rooms to redo, but we’ll guide you through the process.

The kitchen is one of the most complicated remodeling projects because of all the decisions you will make throughout the process. We’ll walk you through this with our planning and buying guides, covering everything from foundation appliances, cabinetry, surfaces and finishes to sustainable products and extras like wine coolers and microwave drawers.

Italian Kitchen

Italian Kitchen

According to Remodeling magazine, a major kitchen renovation can result in a return on investment of between 61 and 70 percent of the cost.

Evolution of the Kitchen

Over time, the kitchen has evolved from a place where food is simply prepared and served in another room into a multi-function open area that is the heart and soul of the home. No matter its size, the kitchen is a big part of every modern household.

When remodeling a kitchen, think function, efficiency, style and longevity. A kitchen should last for 20 years or more, says Mary Jo Peterson, principal, Mary Jo Peterson Inc. “Choose cabinets you love, and a layout that works for your family’s lifestyle,” she advises.

Sleek and Fun Kitchen

Sleek and Fun Kitchen

Sleek finishes, such as the stainless steel island and glossy cabinets, create a modern look in this kitchen design. Patterned chairs and bold, bright artwork offset the room's modern elements.

Planning Your Kitchen Remodel

Figure out what you want from your new kitchen with our questionnaire and worksheet

Kitchen renovation is a major undertaking. Before you dive in, you’ll need to take a hard look at how you’re using your current kitchen and what you want this remodel to accomplish. The Day in the Life of Your Kitchen Questionnaire will help you assess the activities that take place in your kitchen and how the room is stacking up to your needs.

After completing the Day in the Life of Your Kitchen Questionnaire, think about what you want and need from a kitchen remodel and fill out the Kitchen Goals Worksheet. You’ll use these exercises to create a roadmap to a successful kitchen renovation.

And don’t forget about your budget! View and download our Kitchen Budget Worksheet to manage your expenses.

Retro or Modern Kitchen?

Retro or Modern Kitchen?

This space offers the best of both retro and modern design styles. The sleek counter and stainless steel range hood bring a modern feel, while the bright accent colors and chairs are a blast from the past. Overall, the kitchen is designed to entertain and impress.

Setting a budget for your project involves much more than crunching numbers. Before you reach for the calculator, do your research. Find out what’s available in the market today by visiting showrooms, reading magazines, checking out trade shows and searching online resources. Dream up your wish list, then revise that into a “reality list” with price tags.

It’s a good idea to choose Plan A and Plan B options for appliances, countertops, tile—just about everything. If you keep a running list of alternatives, a designer can add or delete items to meet your budget. “If you can stay flexible about the final choices, you’ll have maneuvering space if unexpected costs arise, such as replacing rotted lumber or non-code-compliant electrical wiring,” adds Mary Jo Peterson, principal, Mary Jo Peterson Inc.

Futuristic Kitchen Style

Futuristic Kitchen Style

This kitchen is the epitome of sleek and modern. The space features stainless steel appliances and cabinetry, hardwood floors and monochromatic countertops. The light fixture and frosted glass upper cabinets also give the kitchen a futuristic feel. 

Do your homework. The more research you do before making decisions, the less likely you are to change your mind. And those last-minute change orders can really pump up the cost of your kitchen project if you aren’t careful.

“Most times, unless there is an unforeseen structural, plumbing or electrical problem, material and finish changes are the biggest cause of cost overruns,” says Roberta Bauer-Kravette, LEED AP, AKBD and director of Nieuw Amsterdam Kitchens. “And those costs are controlled mostly by the homeowner. Beware: Last-minute design changes or an incomplete design at the onset of the renovation guarantees cost overruns.”

For example, cabinets that are estimated in a paint-grade maple and changed at the last minute to Ceruse oak will add a huge cost to the budget. Same goes for deciding to include eight drawers in your island rather than two, or adding recessed puck lights under wall cabinets instead of a simple light strip.

Don’t wait until later to plan your backsplash. “Tile is not just tile,” Bauer-Kravette reminds. “The size, pattern and material all impact installation cost.”

Warm Accents

Warm Accents

Dark walnut cabinetry builds a modern foundation for this kitchen. Materials like stainless steel, custom glass and granite enhance the modern aesthetic while maintaining the elegance of the space. Butter yellow leather stools are the perfect accent to the room.

Set limits. How much can you really spend on this kitchen? “You can have a wish list,” says Daniel Steinkoler of Superior Home Services. “But the important thing is to be honest with (your contractor) and we can value engineer a project to fit your budget.” Get an idea of where your money goes so can plan appropriately.

Depending on the scale of your project, you can plan to spend between 6 and 10 percent of your home value for the best return-on-investment. “If a house is worth $1 million and you put in a $50,000 kitchen, it probably isn’t good enough,” says Brad Burgin, Burgin Construction Inc.. On the other hand, if you drop $60,000 on a kitchen for a $300,000 home, you’re doing it for love—not the money you’ll get back when you sell.

Open Kitchen, Perfect for Parties

Open Kitchen, Perfect for Parties

With a thin, sleek island, this open kitchen is the perfect place to entertain guests. The clean white countertop and cabinets have a modern look, especially in combination with the stainless steel range hood and other appliances. The blue tiles and purple chairs create an interesting accent.

Expect the unexpected. You never know what you’ll find during demolition. Homes constructed in the 1970s and earlier can contain lead or asbestos. Testing and removal can cost thousands. A home built 50 or more years ago could require electrical upgrades in the kitchen to support new appliances and lighting. Plan for a contingency of about 10 to 20 percent to cover hidden conditions, substitutions and other surprises. “It will cost more than you think,” Peterson says. “And the corollary: It’s unlikely to cost less than they say.”

Size Up Your Kitchen Storage Space

Find out how much room you need for necessities and how to create an efficient layout

Concrete Kitchen Countertops

Concrete Kitchen Countertops

22,5 cm-thick charcoal concrete countertops are the focal point of this striking kitchen. The sleek linear hardware and flat cabinet doors enhance the modern feel

Every square cm matters in a kitchen. A primary goal in any remodeling project is to convert that space into accessible storage, an efficient layout and highly functional “package deal” that will last for a couple of decades.

Sound like a lofty plan? It’s not if you do your homework and take time to seriously evaluate how to best use the existing space. Some common space traps: blind corner cabinets, that gap between wall cabinets and the ceiling, the back of deep shelves that are nearly impossible to reach.

As you consider the layout of your new kitchen, remember that all of those cm add up. And the hardware and cabinet configurations available today will help you make the most of the space you’ve got.

When planning the space, it’s all about you! (Sounds nice, doesn’t it?) “Workspaces should reflect the kind of cooking you do and not what someone else thought was a good idea 10 or 20 years ago,” says John O’Meara of Hafele America Co.

Modern Conveniences

Modern Conveniences

This kitchen has all the modern conveniences that a chef needs. The blue light fixtures under the cabinets draw attention to the tiled backsplash. The island is the perfect space for preparing meals or entertaining guests. The stainless appliances, along with the neutral wall colors and countertops, contrast the dark tones of the cabinetry, enhancing the modern feel. 

Empty-Out Exercise

Want to know how much storage space you really need to hold kitchen necessities, from dishes to groceries? Ideally, you would empty out your cabinets and drawers, arrange items according to “zones” (consumables, non-consumables, cooking, etc, and figure out what items you use all the time that requires accessible storage. Then, you’ll get a true idea of how much cabinet space you need to store your stuff.

First, decide on the kitchen zones that suit your lifestyle. For example, cleaning, preparation, cooking, consumables and non-consumables. Think about who will use the kitchen and consider body heights, right- and left-handed cooks and the size of your household. What are your shopping habits? Do you tend to stock up on dry goods, shop at farmers’ markets?

You may find it helpful to compile a list of the items, or categories of items, that you currently store in your kitchen. As you review your list, think about how you’re currently storing each, and write down how you want to be able to store them in your new kitchen.

Eco-Friendly Kitchen

Eco-Friendly Kitchen

This sleek kitchen features eco-friendly appliances, following the modern trend of "going green." The countertops match the stainless steel appliances and range hood, and the flat cabinet doors maintain the clean-lined, sleek look. The kitchen also features plenty of natural light and views of an outdoor fountain, which makes eating and cooking in this space a refreshing experience.

Creative Storage Ideas for Cabinets

When choosing kitchen cabinetry, consider features that make it easier to reach your items

Natural Accents Countertops

Natural Accents Countertops

A recessed cooktop with a seamless cover is hidden in the stainless steel island countertop to maximize counter space for entertaining and everyday use. Red slate, walnut floors, stone walls and brightly colored stools offset the crisp stainless steel and create a warm tailored look.

You remove every pot, pan, dish and groceries from your cabinets to prepare for all new storage. Cabinets are installed, and it’s time to put back your stuff. Except the problem is there isn’t room for everything. This scenario is all too common, according to Dennis Poteat of Blum Inc. The lesson: Look beyond the surface when choosing cabinets. Think about how tall cereal boxes are and where you keep them. Consider how you reach for a dish towel when you’re working at the sink. A drawer nearby should accommodate this. Plan for space to neatly store all of your plastic-ware (and all of the lids).

Modern and Eclectic Kitchen

Modern and Eclectic Kitchen

This industrial modern kitchen features custom wood cabinetry and white subway-style tiles. Vintage finds like tractor seat stools and industrial hanging lights create a modern yet eclectic mix of old and new.

Pierce says there can be up to a 30 percent difference between old-style cabinets and today’s models that include a full overlay rather than a face frame, and extend to the ceiling.

The Latest in Storage Options

The keyword with storage is: access. Here are some ways to make more room for your stuff in your existing kitchen space:

Pull-outs. Access, along with ergonomics, is the reason for the move from doors to drawers in base cabinets, says John O’Meara of Hafele America Co. “The issue with doors is when you open a cabinet with a door on it, you have shelving, and you can reach the first thing but everything behind it is impossible to get at,” he relates. “For the sake of storage and access, movement from a door to a pull-out gives you the ability to bring the content of the cabinet out into the room.”

Specialty hardware. The pull-out spice drawers and nifty utensil drawers that were once offered only by custom cabinet makers are now available in mid-priced fixtures

Base cabinets. Designers today aren’t married to the idea of wall cabinets. Base cabinet drawers can organize dishes, pots, pans, utensils, basically anything. Pull-outs allow you to access everything stored in the drawer without straining your back.

Floating shelves. Visually pleasing open shelves break up the monotony of standard cabinets and serve as a place to display beautiful vases, store cookbooks and keep ingredients in pretty jars.

Extended wall cabinets. Say no to soffits if you want to expand storage. Extend wall cabinets to the ceiling and improve accessibility of those higher shelves with lift-up doors. Or, dedicating an entire wall to storage and building cabinets floor to ceiling creates a focal point and makes room on other walls for aesthetic features, such as a mosaic backsplash, windows, artwork or functional appliances.

Fully-extended drawers. Full extension runners on drawers allow pull-outs to extend completely rather than just three-quarters of the way, Poteat says. This once high-end feature is now common to most drawers, but it’s a good idea to ask the supplier or designer about it.

Kitchen Storage Styles and Trends (Click on any image thumbnail to enlarge)

 

 
 
 

 


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