Start with a plan
Making a plan so that your kitchen remodel is exactly what you want is the best place to start. Unless you’ve given your contractor free reign to make all the decisions, a plan will take you through the decision-making process in an orderly and efficient manner. Here are simple steps to building your kitchen remodeling plan that are provided in greater detail in our blog, ”Your Dream Kitchen: If You Can Dream It, We Can Build It.”
First, Take a Step Back and look at your kitchen with a critical eye, identifying all it’s positive points and all its negative ones. Record everything you see.
Then you’ll want to perform a Lifestyle Review, which is a listing of what each family member does in the kitchen routinely and occasionally. Also note what problems each person encounters and possible changes needed.
Your next step is to define your family’s Priorities and Possibilities with all the things you absolutely must have as well as things that would be nice but that you could live without.
Once those lists are complete, you can take one more step and create a Wish List of things that you really want, but that aren’t on either the priorities or the possibilities lists. Think “the sky’s the limit!”
Finally, create a Book of Dreams, a folder or scrapbook that can hold all the above lists you have made as well as any photos, clipped magazine pictures or any other printed material showing an aspect of your new kitchen to be. Also keep a running list of questions to ask your contractor no matter how insignificant they may seem.
If you download our “Definitive Remodeling Guide to Your Dream Kitchen,” below, you will also receive our Worksheet Toolkit that includes all of the items mentioned above, "Take a Step Back," "Lifestyle Review," "Priorities and Possibilities," "Wish List," and they will help you stay on track with your plan.
Even if you don’t want or need to stay on a budget for your kitchen remodel, most people want to know they’re getting the best their money can buy. As a result, creating a budget can benefit you by helping to guide your redesign, the components you select, and the size of the project. Knowing how much you spent can also guide your future remodeling and purchase decisions by letting you track and assess if a certain purchase was worth the cost.
Learn more about building your remodeling budget in our blog, “Understanding Your Kitchen Remodel Budget.”
Choosing the Right Contractor
There’s a saying in the world of remodeling: “The most expensive remodel is the one you have to do twice,” meaning it’s better to research your contractor up front than end up with a company that fails to meet your expectations. Choosing an experienced and competent contractor who will go the extra mile to do a great job while keeping you and your family’s comfort in mind is key. Take these steps to ensure you make the right choice:
- Get references and check them.
- Find out what each contractor’s remodeling process is.
- Look closely at the scope of work from each contractor; the more detailed it is, the better.
- How good is the warranty? The industry best is 36 months so don’t settle for less.
- Has the contractor received awards, certifications or other recognition? All are signs of excellence.
To find out more about choosing a contractor, read our blog, “Choosing the Right Remodeling Contractor: What to Look For.”
Understanding Your Kitchen Remodel Timeline
No two kitchen remodeling projects are alike, but there are similarities that help experienced contractors create a timeline that includes milestones from start to finish. Every project’s timeline will vary depending on, for example, how long it will take to build your custom made cabinets and how much demolition and reconstruction is involved.
Another thing that can slow a timeline is changing your mind about something major. Take the time to understand your design options and only commit when you are 100 percent satisfied. Also essential to staying on track is the quality of your contractor and subcontractors. When a contractor or subcontractor doesn’t show up for work during a tightly scheduled remodel, the whole project stops. So be sure your contractor‘s track record is top tier.
For a more detailed overview of a kitchen remodel timeline, read our blog “Kitchen Remodel Timeline: What Can I Expect?” and see the main milestones you will reach as your project progresses.
Kitchen Remodel Realities
A major kitchen remodeling project is something to look forward to and prepare for. Construction inside your home, no matter how careful your contractor is, will make life a little difficult. So it’s best to prepare your family and your home in advance. Here are some key steps:
- First and foremost, understand that you will not be able to use your kitchen at all so you will need to set up a temporary kitchen.
- Define a space to become your new family eating area and rearrange furniture accordingly.
- Plan to eat out more often.
- Expect dust and noise during demolition and construction.
- Make the most of it, and take lots of photos to show how the project is progressing.
For a more detailed explanation of how to carry on during your kitchen remodeling project, check out our blog, “How to Survive a Kitchen Remodel.”
As you near the end of your remodel there will definitely be a few things that need a touch up or other fix. Of course, the more reliable and professional your contractor, the fewer you can expect, but every construction project should be finalized with a punch list walk-through, turning over all product and materials warranties to you, and a thorough cleaning of the kitchen and any other areas impacted by the construction dust and dirt. Our blog, “Kitchen Remodel Project Wrap Up - Your Final Frontier,” provides tips and a link to a punch list template.