Washtenaw Woodwrights

Remodel Your Kitchen?
Here's Where to Start

By Katherine Gilbert, CKD, CBD
Designer, Washtenaw Woodwrights

So you're thinking it is finally time to do something about your dated, cramped or inconvenient old kitchen? You want nicer finishes, more storage, more counter space, more light, or all of the above. You have an idea about how to fix the problems in your kitchen …or maybe not. You might have an idea of how much you can expect or afford to spend …or maybe not. Sooner or later, you walk into a showroom somewhere and the inevitable question comes up: "How much do you plan on investing in your kitchen?"

Good question.

Often when I meet with people who are just beginning to explore a kitchen renovation, they aren't sure exactly what they want, what it will entail, or how much it will cost. Sometimes people have a dollar amount in mind, but are reluctant to reveal it because they fear the designer will spend every last cent of it and more. On the other hand, most people realize that their budget can greatly affect their kitchen design. Not only will it help determine the types of materials you will choose but it will also impact the layout of the new space. Does your budget include enough to move gas and water hook-ups, walls, windows or doorways? Are there enough dollars available to take out the soffits or change the ceiling?

Good kitchen design is about giving you what you need and want for a price that leaves you feeling like you got good value for your investment. If you have a budget or a list of needs and wants in mind, share this information. As a designer, I can use it to present ideas that will give you as much of what you desire for the dollar amount you would like to spend. Or conversely, I can tell you if what you're thinking about is unrealistic and give you other options you might consider. My formal training as a certified kitchen designer and my experience with a large variety of kitchen renovations provides me with insight that will work to your benefit. When you team up with an experienced kitchen design company, you will not waste time on ideas that do not present value to you. Experienced kitchen designers often work to develop more than one kitchen design and budget for people with many ideas but no concept of what they will ultimately feel is a good value for their investment.

When you are ready to start the process of remodeling your kitchen, here is a list of questions I recommend you answer:

  • Why have you decided to remodel?
  • What don't you like about the design of your current kitchen? What do you like?
  • What do you really want to see included in your new kitchen design? Is one of those things the "wow" item that will set the tone for the design (and maybe be the splurge item in your budget)?
  • What things are not as important to you? For example, if the floor looks like the stone you like, but is really ceramic tile or a nice vinyl, would that be alright?
  • Are you doing this for resale or strictly for your own purposes?
  • And of course, the obvious … do you have a budget in mind and if so, how did you arrive at that budget?

Answers to these questions are starting points for the kitchen design process. They get the ideas and thoughts flowing. From there, when working with an experienced kitchen designer, you will begin to narrow down what you really need so you end up with a kitchen that gives you what you want at a price you can afford.