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Here in Colorado we have a huge event twice a year, the Home and Garden Show.
The show runs at Denver Conventional Center and is centered on whatever you might need in your home or – you guessed it – garden.
As a member of ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) I usually participate.
I’ve been asked a number of times to speak at the event covering different topics. This year’s show, I gave a talk about kitchens.
The talk was designed to help you start putting together a kitchen remodel without unnecessary steps and distractions; To help put priorities in order, and not to spend too much/too little money.
Following multiple requests to repeat the talk or post it online, I am doing just that. I want to apologize beforehand for not marking all the sources of the photos. Despite all my efforts I just could not find where the photo came from.
Here we go.
When you think about such a big thing as creating a Kitchen of your Dreams it is very important is to do just that, create a kitchen of YOUR dreams. You need to think not about how good the kitchen of your neighbor looks, not about how adorable the kitchen in the magazine is, you need to think in terms of:
- how do you cook,
- how exactly would you like to store your belongings,
- how many people will be in the kitchen, working simultaneously,
- when you entertain do you like your guests be right there in the kitchen with you?
And so on, and so forth.
So, the very first step would be
- answer the questions above
and many other questions such as:
- What is it that drives you crazy about your existing kitchen?
- Are you happy with the traffic patterns?
- What would you like to have in appliances?
This is a fun list:
La Cornue – gorgeous, gorgeous appliance.It is expensive, but hey, if this is your dream, you can start with La Cornue,
Steam ovens are very popular today,
You can style the space in sooo many ways now: in the left bottom corner is a dishwasher with an antique styled panel, for instance.
I like the little blue kitchen. The stove shown on the photo is a vintage Wedgewood, restored by Chuck’s Appliance Service in South Pasadena, California. The source of the photo is here. Let me show you an example:
This is a before photo of a kitchen that we remodeled couple of years back. Despite nice quality cabinets, kitchen did not age gracefully. It gives out its age. Nobody does soffits like this anymore, you do need ventilation for your stove, and the layout is inefficient as well – the peninsula blocks the way to the patio door, and in our sunny state outdoor entertainment is a big deal. And above all, this particular lady owner had a personality that did not match the dark and gloomy space: she craved color, light, and a big working surface for her multiple craft projects.
Now, when we set up needs:
DRAW IT – CREATE A FLOOR PLAN.
I do insist on the order given. First you have to lay out your future space. This step has to come prior the look, prior that important decision of what color should your cabinets be. You need to avoid such pitfalls as:
In a scenario like this an accident waits to happen. Eventually you will trip over this dishwasher door. So: No Dishwasher door behind your back!
Another common mistake is to place important appliances in a corner in such a way that appliance’s doors are overlapping when open. The oven and the dishwasher placed this way most often. Every door (whether it is an appliance or an interior door) deserves the right to open and close without slamming into a neighboring door. No intersecting Doors!
Mistake of not providing the door with enough space to open is very common as well.
Here the dishwasher door will slam into the door trim, sometime a little door-knob can be on a way of opening neighboring drawer. All doors need to open!
CHOOSE the LOOK
Listen to the emotion you want to prevail in your kitchen, think what mood do you want to come to every morning for your coffee,
this traditional kitchen by Brownhouse Design, has a wonderful light and airy feel.
This kitchen by Superior Cabinets has an airy feel as well, but is much more streamlined, an energy pulsates here.
Valerie Pasquiou designed this contemporary kitchen; she added texture and fun chairs to tame the otherwise very modern and cold space.Now, when you know how everything going to fit in the kitchen, and know how you want the space to feel it is time to allocate the necessary budget for it.
WORK OUT the BUDGET
I found this chart on Houzz.com. It gives us an idea how much on average people spend for a kitchen remodel all around the country.
How much shall you spend?
5% of the house cost – devaluing
10% – you will return the investment
15% – means that you are staying in the house 5-10 more years to enjoy the remodel, it is likely that you will return the investment
25% – considered overspending and not recommended
The information above is about how to calculate the budget basing on the price of your home.
Most common figure that is spent for the kitchen remodel is 15% of the cost of the house. (with the house value $400,000 the new kitchen shall cost you in the vicinity of $60,000).
If you want to remodel to sell – then do not spend more then 10% of the cost of your home.
With just 5% spent – most likely you are not doing yourself any favors in the long run, the house price will drop because your kitchen will look too cheap for the house it is in.
How to figure what portion of the budget goes to what item?
The following chart represents my take on the national data.
Based on my experience this is what you will expect in the remodel.
So, you know what you want, and now you are in tears because the dream is bigger than the budget?
No need to be.
Create unique elements.
Some times great ideas are born from the restrictions.
In this little cutie designed by Sally Wheat, she opted to remove the doors from the upper cabinets. Though you would not be able to save a lot of money omitting the doors, but you will save some, and the look will be different.
This Dallas kitchen is door-less. Donna Brown is a dealer of French antiques, so her residence has a distinct Provence flavor. Note the lack of upper cabinets.
Jane Moore designed this non-kitchen kitchen filled with Swedish antiques and freestanding furniture.
Some times, using antique pieces of furniture like this dresser can create a unique look and be budget friendly.
Work by Rom architectural studio.
Every room needs one or two focal points (depends from how many rooms the kitchen is visible)
Simple, light, and open, this traditional design is centered on the window. (by Dillard Pierce)
This room designed by Bellacase has two focal points – the hood and the window.
Do your homework. You need to understand what are you paying for. There are no miracle kitchen cabinets that cost much less, but have the very same quality as a more expensive competitor. ( I take it back, sometime you pay for the brand). You will get what you paid for, I know, you’ve heard it before.
But there are some drastic differences how cabinets are made, how thorough the factory is in achieving good uniform color, how they choose the wood, how they finish the wood (will your doors show a white stripe all around the perimeter of the panel when the winter comes and wood shrinks?).
What will you do if in 2 years one of the doors gets badly damaged?
Research your appliance models online. You need to understand the maintenance levels, ease of repairs, warranty policies, manufacturing practices.
And, please, research the crew that is going to work in your house! People are very important: do they come when they promised to come? do they clean after the end of the day? are they polite and courteous? Do not hesitate to ask for phone numbers of people they worked for before, call and ask was it comfortable on an emotional level to work with them.
DECIDE on LIGHTING
There are two types of lighting you should be aware of. Ambient light is responsible for how you and your guests perceive the room. Well lit places tend to read as more inviting and safe. We need Task lighting in order not to cut our fingers off working on the salad.
Could not find who designed this little gem, but note how they add some task lighting even where there are no walls? They do have plenty of Ambient light as well. I bet this kitchen is light and inviting at night as much as during the day with all that light streaming from the windows.
This I consider to be a mistake. Thought there is enough ambient light, it is not pretty: I try to avoid creating Swiss Cheese out of the ceiling. Maybe the navigating strip of can lights leading to the hallway serves the purpose of guiding a person with failing sight, but if you can, avoid the landing strips like that. Instead place the recessed light more strategically: illuminate both sides of your sink and stove, so you do not cast yourself shadows when you lean forward; place the light at the center of the refrigerator and big storage cabinets, so when you open those doors, they are not going to block the light.
There are tons of ways to provide light where it is needed: under-cabinet LED lighting does not get hot and has a slender profile; inside-cabinet light can aid the choice of dinnerware, and provide fun lighting option when you party.
Sometimes there are no upper cabinets. These architectural wall mounted arm lamps provide a great design element as well as flexible and effective task lighting. The diver figure on the right sets up the informal mood and balances the visual weight of the “pendants”.
RECHECK YOUR BUDGET
Decide where to save and where to splurge.
It is time to add these 15% back.
Let’s say you did a fantastic job planing and deciding, by now we know there is are no hidden disasters behind the walls and now with the 15% back in the game you can afford yourself a necessary appliance, like as a Wine dispenser (every woman needs one of these).
Or, maybe this enchanting damask from Timorous Beasties (photographed by Amelia Hallsworth) is withing reach now?
SCHEDULE AND PURCHASE
Assuming you do not want to stay in this stage for weeks –
Be prepared to a schedule delays:
- know that it will take 6 to 28 weeks to produce Custom cabinets for you.
- Appliances are usually in stock, but custom combinations can be as far as 12-24 weeks out.
- Italian tile usually is 8 weeks out, unless you try to purchase in August. Nobody works in Italy during August. Your 8 weeks can turn into 16 in a the blink of an eye.
- Good grew is always busy, – let them know ahead of time the dates when you’ll need them, so they can plan appropriately.
- Schedule your countertop installation ahead of time! Great installers are booked weeks ahead, if you do not wish to live with finished kitchen without countertops. Start work with stone guys on the dates as soon as you know them (the dates).
- Remember – big renovation takes time!
INSTALL and ENJOY
Hello there, this is my first post on a new platform with my improved and revamped website.
As many of you know, I am an Interior Designer, motivated by strong belief that people should not be shy to live in homes that are created specifically for them.
I am serious: let’s talk about you. Are you a minimalist? Less is more, clean uncluttered spaces and great lines? Maybe not, maybe you are totally not minimalist and love exuberance, colors and tons of details. Are you romantic? Or more of an outdoor-loving, rustic-style-appreciating person?
It doesn’t matter.
I am always surprised just how many people live in nondescript environments, delaying creating a true home for later in life…. “later, when kids go out of the house,” “later, if we have more money (oh I love that if),” “ later, when I will have more time,” later, later….
I have some news for you. We only live ones. Sad but true.
Please, embrace your personality, your way of living, your way of entertaining, cooking, sleeping, relaxing. Your home has to greet you when you enter, support you when you need it, provide you comfort and good rest. It has to be yours. I am not talking about the color of the pillows (well, the color is important too). I am talking about a living room with enough sitting groups to accommodate you when guests come over, about a bedroom with the desired level of privacy, comfort and sexiness, about a kitchen that serves your family well, about surfaces that fit your aesthetics and are on your level of comfort with necessary maintenance.
There is way too much worry about when it comes to how such a home will sell. Well, make conscious and educated decisions while working on your home. Decide how many years you are going to stay in it, try to understand who is your future buyer, how your community will look like at the time you are planing to move and plan your actions accordingly. Take a risk.
The art of Interior Design is not about showing the world how much money you are capable of spending. It is about personalization in a beautiful and functional way. About you and your family, your habits, quirks and desires, weaknesses and strong sides. Your travels. Your dreams.
Lack of money at the moment is no excuse, because on every level of wealth, every budget, there are ways to provide yourself with better living. Maybe hiring a designer is not what you want or can do now – this is fine.
Start yourself, put your heart, your thought into a project, be brave.
Allow your persona to emerge from behind that facade of appropriateness, and “everybody lives this way.” If white walls drive you mad, change them; display your treasures (in a tasteful way, it is better to rotate them than create a clatter), hand up those pictures, always try to think a bit above your comfort zone…
Of course, everybody’s tastes and preferences change with time. So will yours, and then you will have an opportunity to change your environment. In a way that is comfortable and supportive to you again.
Create a home (an office, a store) you’ll love. You do not have to live or work as your neighbors do or as your grandma did. Even if she had amazing taste, it was her taste.
Make your own nest, or castle, or ranch, or whatever you need to be happy, when you are coming home.
Right now start small: Remove that plastic from the couch.
To learn some tips and designer tricks that will help on your journey home, subscribe….
This is how the Living Room above looked before. To check more Before and After photos take a look here.
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