Keep Efficient Use of Space in Mind When Updating Kitchen

By Jennifer Hicks, CKD, Kitchen and Bath Designer, MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers]

Kitchens have evolved from utility rooms to multi-purpose spaces. It’s understandable why so many homeowners want to remodel them for the way they live or for future home resale value.

Here are some things to consider before you begin the remodeling process. Nearly one-third of your budget will go for cabinets and hardware, and 14 percent will be spent on appliances.

Q: Rather than building an addition, how can you gain space for a kitchen renovation?

A: Always explore the adjacent spaces. Do you have a formal dining room or living room that only gets used several times each year? Do you use those spaces in the most efficient way? Sometimes a small change, like opening up a space to another room, can make a big difference.

Q: What’s the most unnecessary thing clients ask for?

A: A kitchen that is too large. Bigger isn’t always better. I firmly believe that form follows function. When you address all your primary functions first, the rest should fall into place naturally.

Q: What’s the trick to creating an efficient work space?

A: Examine who and how many people will use the space and how it will be used. Then plan for those needs. Work with someone who is familiar with the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s Kitchen Guidelines. Years of research went into crafting them. The guidelines will help you stay safe and have a functioning space. (http://www.nkba.org/Design/Professionals/Guidelines.aspx)

Q: If you have a limited budget, what’s worth the splurge?

A: Go for the one item you have your heart set on. It could be a cool faucet or a beautiful light fixture.Too many people try to compromise to save money. In the end, they regret not going with their favorite item or first choice.

Q: What’s your advice for surviving a kitchen renovation?

A: Do your homework prior to the start of construction. Try to make all your selections and purchases as soon as you can so you don’t have to worry about them after construction begins. Things will always come up, but if you’ve already made a majority of the selections (i.e., appliances, decorative fixtures and hardware, countertops, etc.), you won’t get into a situation where you feel pressured to make a decision or, even worse, delay the project.

You will be temporarily losing an important room in your home. Try to plan ahead and think about what you will be using as a make-shift kitchen.

Q: How can you make a kitchen more functional?

A: Evaluate how the space is laid out and who will work in the space. Too many times the main work areas are spaced too far apart, too close together or just in a bad location. That’s when the NKBA guidelines come in handy.

Q: How do your prioritize on a budget?

A: What is your greatest need? Why did you decide to renovate in the first place?

Make a list of needs or “must-haves” vs. wants or “would be nice.” Make sure you address your primary goals first. If you have additional funds left, use those for your “wants.”

Q: When renovating a kitchen, should the new version always tie into the character of the rest of the house?

A: Not always. Every style or period of home has unique characteristics. It’s nice to try to have your home flow together. Unless you want the shock and awe factor, make sure you pay attention to the rest of your home or at least have a master plan if this is your first step in updating your home.

Q: What are some of the trends in kitchen design?

A: You can look thru hundreds of magazines and find all the trendy items, like retro tiles or funky-colored cabinetry and appliances, but beware that you can quickly date yourself. Kitchens aren’t areas of the home that are updated or replaced every few years. Make sure the big ticket or permanent items you select are something you can live with for a while.

Classic and timeless doesn’t mean white and boring. Add a few of the current trends in the paint or decorative lighting and hardware.