Years of designing and redesigning has taught me that the best way to begin any renovation is with adequate and thoughtful PLANNING.
Unfortunately, it’s much more fun to jump into paint colors, accessories, and fun finishes, than it is to focus on the nitty-gritty: prioritizing needs, good layout and budget calculations. That is why home design shows and websites, and E-retailers heavily feature spectacular reveals of their newly transformed kitchens and bathrooms – acres of polished designer finishes, splashy high-end appliances and exotic details.
Contrasting images of the “before”: all poor lighting, inadequate storage, dated cabinets, and wasted space with the magical “new” is very seductive, but ignores the most basic and important aspects of good design.
Ready to Get Started?
If you think you are ready to get started on your own remodel, because you’ve listed everything you hate about your space, and have meticulously catalogued, clipped, pinned and dream-boarded every fantasy product and arrangement you cannot live without, I’m telling you, you are heading in the wrong direction. Fully understanding your current space is key. You cannot manufacture space where none already exists and making the best use of space can be confusing. Even if you think you have enough space to work with and have reasonable expectations, being able to accurately visualize the space as a “whole” is key.
Smart Consumers Consult a Pro
And this is where the rubber hits the road and smart consumers consult a Professional: Professional designers and contractors do the planning, thinking and heavy lifting for you, while keeping design rules, scale/proportion, and building codes in mind. They help you distinguish between your “WANTS” and your “NEEDS”; delineate work zones, strategically place appliances, plan for adequate storage, and ensure there’s enough room to comfortably move around.
In the same way you probably would not rip out and re-plumb your bathroom yourself, jumping into a design project without adequate planning or research is a huge mistake. After all, no one has enough time, money, or patience to spend making and fixing mistakes. Hiring a professional designer to assist with planning your space and project is prudent, is ALWAYS BEST!
Still Not Convinced?
Still haven’t convince you to at least CONSULT a professional designer? Ok. Then let’s get you well prepared. Get ready to measure, sketch out floor plans on graph paper, be realistic about minimizing movement of previously installed fixtures (plumbing, electric, gas) and tweak your design to ensure you stay within budget, style and time frame (consider how long it takes to get materials ordered, delivered and checked to ensure correct quantity and quality). Find a good space planning app to make your life easier, or work with a cabinet company that provides detailed renderings.
DIY With a Designer
Consider hiring a pro designer to guide you in your DIY project
• Begin with the LAYOUT.
• Understand Your Options.
• Clarify Your Vision.
• Enumerate your NEEDS.
• Embrace non-negotiables and unpredictable.
In kitchen design, starts with an understanding of how you REALLY use your kitchen and a solid work triangle (the sink, refrigerator, and stove) spaced to allow the cook to move efficiently through food prep, cooking, and cleaning. Sketch ideas out in an overhead, “birdseye” view to start with. It’s important to visualize how you are going to really use the space and seeing the kitchen from an overhead view is the easiest way to map it all out.
Ultimately, the perfect kitchen is personal. Think about your habits and planned usage, listen to everyone who will be using the kitchen or are decision makers and learn about the appliances and materials you are leaning towards. Consider the real cost in time and money of maintaining certain finishes and appliances or the cost of replacing trendy styles. Take the time to inventory and MEASURE your small appliances, dishes, pots, everything that will live in the kitchen and make sure not only that there’s a place for everything, but that where you plan to store items is convenient and reasonable based on frequency of usage and your tolerance for clutter.
Wish Lists are Just That!
Remember, wish lists are just that, and the course of true kitchen love rarely runs so smooth. Unless you are building from scratch, expect your space to throw up lots of roadblocks and hurdles. Size restrictions and quirky structural features—not to mention budget—will all influence a kitchen’s final form.
The trick is finding clever solutions to address pain points and make the most of what you’ve got. And the best way to do all of this is HIRE A DESIGNER! Or at very least, hire one to oversee or review your plans and decisions as a consultant – it’s a relatively small cost that can save BIG in the long run!
by Denise Gianna