Kitchen: a room where food is prepared and cooked and family gathers

Written by Emily Warne

Kitchen Designer Christine Hedley TLC Kitchen and Bath

There are no shortage of reasons why LBI dwellers may be considering kitchen renovation—maybe your space is too small for family gatherings, or the appliances a little too outdated for the elaborate beach feasts you’re dreaming up. Regardless of your motivation, once you’ve decided to invest in a designer kitchen that works well and looks great, you may be excited but not exactly ready! Here are a couple of steps to consider before taking the plunge.

You have decided to move forward and have a designer kitchen. One that works well and looks great. You’re all excited so now what, what steps do you consider?

First, create a budget. Money Magazine estimates that the right amount to spend on a kitchen project is ten to fifteen percent of the house value. Decide if this is a realistic goal, whether you’re renovating or building new, and proceed according to your construction priorities.

Next, consider the space. Will it be a remodel or will you do a total gutting: moving walls, adjusting plumbing and electric, and so on, etc.? Dramatic renovations can cause prices to soar, but are worth it if it completes your vision without destroying your budget. And about that budget—keep in mind that anytime you move plumbing, electric, and walls, you will need a permit, and maybe even an architect or engineer.

You should also consider contacting your licensed contractor or builder to see what they recommend and what is possible. If you don’t have a contractor, ask your kitchen designer if they can recommend one. They will have worked with many local construction and would most likely have a good fit for you. Sometimes it’s a good idea to meet the contractor and designer together at the house for their input and to get a glimpse into their working relationship.

It’s also important to be realistic about the timeframe. It’s never a good idea to rush a construction firm project, especially one as complicated as a kitchen. Most quality designers and contractors are very busy—be patient and try not to rush the process. Keep in mind that your contractor will most likely have to bring the trades to your home to evaluate, which can add to the timeline.

This may be overwhelming, but don’t forget to have fun! Don’t lose sight of your vision: what do you want your designer kitchen to look like? What kind of events will you host, and what kind of meals will you cook? Spend some time browsing through home renovation magazines or the internet to discover what you like. Print out a few and show them to your designer— it will give them an idea of your style and how to combine your favorite ideas all together.

While browsing through styles, don’t forget appliances! Your kitchen designer will need this information before they can design the space for you and your vision. Not all appliances are the same size—width and depth is important when considering refrigerators, microwaves, and so on. Refrigerators, what size? Think about width as well as depth. Do you want a fitted kitchen? Think about your cooking style as well—do you prefer a range over a cooktop and double ovens? Sometimes one option is unable to accommodate some preferences, so you may have to give that or some other ideas up depending on your space. Other appliances that often go overlooked include dishwasher placement and size, range hoods, microwaves, and sinks. Are you interested in a double bowl, single bowl, undermount, or the very-stylish and trendy farm sink? Please note most farm sinks need a special sink base and a skilled carpenter to accommodate them.

Now it’s time to talk color. If this is your summer house, feel free to have some fun. You can introduce a nautical or beach-themed color, like a powdered blue or even elements like weathered wood. You also need to consider paint vs. stain—stained woods are more durable than a painted finish, but a beautiful crisp white kitchen is hard compete with. Consider the fact that you may only be in your home using your kitchen for three-to-four months out of the year, so you may get a longer life out of a painted finish if you have your heart set on it. Regardless of your choice, make sure it’s a color you can live with! You’ll be looking at those walls for a long time.

Now, let’s have some fun and talk about kitchen gadgets. It’s important for a floor plan to be ergonomically correct to accommodate room flow as well as interior accessories. Maximize your space for storage efficiency and comfort for your body—you don’t want to have to get on your knees to pull out a pot!. Accessories such as a pantry cabinets or base cabinets with roll out shelves or some full extension pot drawers by the range can prove to be tremendously valuable. Other items to consider include double waste cans, double wood-tiered cutlery dividers, built-in spice racks, charging stations, coffee pod drawers, a smart phone charging station, and more.

Next, ask yourself… “Do I want…”: A granite counter top or quartz? Tile backsplash or countertop material? Flooring: tile, or wood? Under cabinet lighting, ceiling light, or maybe even some interior lighting in some cabinets with glass doors? The possibilities are endless, but make sure to discuss them with your designer or contractor! Lighting makes a huge difference in a kitchen.

Last, and most importantly, consider making a list of needs and wants. This is your kitchen: think about what your need and really want. Unfortunately, we can’t always design everything to your specifications within your budget, but if you work closely with a competent designer, your chances at creating the kitchen of your dreams increase exponentially!

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