Do This Before You Start Your Kitchen Renovation
When I sit down with new clients who want to renovate their kitchen we go through a comprehensive set of questions. I find out how the family functions in it. I find out what their dreams are for the intended renovation. We discuss improvements they are looking for and styles they like. Often my clients have only a vague idea of what they need, want, or like.
Let me take you through a typical kitchen consultation to learn more about the details you need to take into consideration before renovating your kitchen. You can follow the same format to narrow down what you need without spending a lot of money on an interior designer or a kitchen designer..
How is the kitchen used?
~ Is there a mixing centre for meal preparation and baking purposes? If not is it required? Is there space for it?
~ Cooking centre. How big is the existing one? Is more space required? Is a larger cooking range required? Is there even a designated cooking centre? Many condos do not have such a luxury. Is there more than one cook? It is not unusual to find more members of a family assisting with cooking. Some families rarely cook; they like to eat out or order in. One client of mine never cooked! She had two small children and went out to eat each day. Her kitchen had the most peculiar layout. The thought occurred to me she might not cook because of the awkward kitchen. Regardless, any of these situations require a different approach to a kitchen layout.
~ Cleaning centre. Is cleaning expected from all family members? Is there a designated cleaner in the family? In my family my mother prepared the meals (lunch and dinner) while my father always did the cleaning. He also made breakfast for the entire family each and every single day. My mother could not get up early, ever; she was a late riser.
How large is the kitchen space?
What is the current shape of the kitchen? Is it a galley, a U-shape, L-shape or a one wall kitchen? Is it a G-shaped one with a peninsula? Are you looking for more space? Can you remove or relocate walls? Do you need an informal eating area in the kitchen? Do you want to have a great room with a kitchen and dining area?
Will you be using your existing appliances or do you intend to purchase new ones? What is the finish of your current appliances? Will these work with the new design, or is the design determined by the appliances. Do you require additional appliances? For instance, two ovens instead of one, a warming drawer or a larger range with more elements?
Sizes matter a great deal. The dimensions of all cabinetry are determined by the size of the appliances. Gables may be required to allow for door handles and ventilation. Therefore making decisions on which appliances to keep or to purchase needs to be taken care of early in the planning process. You may have to order them before you even start the renovation.
Is there enough space in your electrical box to add more electrical outlets? This can be critical since code regulations change over time and an older kitchen may not have enough outlets. Is there room for larger or more appliances? Will you be adding additional lighting which requires more wiring? Electrical issues will need to be dealt with at the outset of the planning and design.
Does the plumbing need to be moved or are you keeping the kitchen sink in the same location. Do you need additional sinks, like a prep sink or a bar sink? Have you given thought to what type of sink and faucet you want? A one-bowl, two or three-bowl sink? Do you need a filter system? Sizes and locations of these items determine the size of the cabinets.
Cabinetry - Storage
Is there enough storage in your cabinetry? Are you replacing all your cabinetry or do you want to repaint existing exposed doors and gables? If so, are the cabinet boxes in good enough shape to allow you to do just that? If you have a bulkhead running along the ceiling do you wish to remove it so you can install taller cabinets? Do you need additional storage? Do you have a pantry? Do you wish you had one? Is there a kitchen island or peninsula or do you wish to have one in your new digs?
Are you ok with a standard shelving system in your cabinets or do you prefer fancy accessories? How about drawers? Do you have enough now or do you wish to have more in your new kitchen? I always recommend base cabinets have drawers in a variety of depths. . It is so much more efficient to store kitchen utensils, mixing bowls, pots and pans etc, in drawers.
Wall and Floor Coverings
If you are changing your plumbing, your appliances, the size and location of your cabinets keep in mind that the floor will be affected by these decisions. It is most of the time unlikely that you will be able to keep your existing floor. Only if the existing foot print is copied will you be able to do that. Depending on what floor covering you choose you may have to level the old floor first or at a minimum install a new plywood subfloor.
By removing old backsplashes and cabinetry or bulkheads remember that the drywall will be damaged. Even just taking off a countertop can seriously damage the walls. Walls need to be repaired before new finishes can be applied.
Will you be entertaining in the kitchen? What is the frequency of your entertaining? Will you need more space to accommodate entertaining friends and family? Does this mean that you may need an addition to your house? What type of entertaining do you like to do? Prepare elaborate dinners or catered parties? Space and efficiency is critical here.
No need to elaborate how important budgets are. A small budget will limit what you can do in a renovation. It will also mean serious compromises and a lot of sweat equity. The larger the budget the fancier the renovation can become, the better appliances you can purchase and the more exclusive finishes you can choose. Regardless, whatever budget you have in mind, it is wise to increase it because during the process of selecting appliances, cabinetry, faucets, sinks, backsplash and floor coverings and all those other wonderful things, you will like the better and more beautiful products much more than the good old time-tested but boring standard ones. It happens every single time!
Once these requirements have been established, the time has come to discuss styles and colours. Personal preferences in short. At this point I ask the client to show me any images they have saved. Today people use Houzz a lot to get ideas and inspiration. I always recommend buying 3 or 4 design or decorating magazines and pull out anything they like, be it a colour, a gadget, an image of a beautiful room (even if it is not a kitchen) because these tear sheets will show me in great detail what the client likes, what colours are preferred, what personality they are looking to showcase in their new kitchen. And, then it is off to the drawing board to get the process started.
NOTE: Cover Image - Design by Helmut Dietrich Lech