Remodeling a kitchen is a big undertaking. A lot of things need to be considered before taking the plunge. Frankly–a lot of fun things need to be hashed out. For me–I would probably have to just step back, and be relegated to doing the labor. Anything other than that–my wife would decide. She has literally hours of experience, so it is natural she would make the remodeling decisions, right? (Plus–she is a woman. It is a kitchen. I am not being sexist, I’m being a realist. No decision of mine will last longer than 89 seconds–80 of those seconds my wife is thinking of a smart-aleck retort to my awesome suggestion).
Let’s do a list. I love lists. Plus–they look all organized and stuff. If you think about it…most things in a home happen around the kitchen. The obvious: Cooking, eating, entertaining. The not so obvious: Cleaning tools in the sink (Shhh!), drinking beer, and late night staring sessions into the wondrous land of the fridge. Sometimes these forays eventually lead to a snack. Our new fridge has a door water/ice dispenser and the dog now thinks ice cubes are some magical treat. Hey–if she’s happy. So am I. Untreated Labradors lead to destruction and possibly death of some important shoe/dress/purse/entire living room ensemble. Homeland Security obviously missed the Labrador as a weapon of mass destruction.
Onto the list. Things to consider before you rip up the kitchen.
Need vs. Want: Obviously you need a refrigerator, microwave–but do you really need a trash compactor? Setting clear goals of what will come out of the project cost will help you predict total cost and timelines of the project.
Skill vs. “Sounds Easy”: An admitted Achilles heel of mine. We are all boss DIYers here–but somethings are best left to the professionals. There are certainly things that you can do yourself to save money: (demo, light framing, sheetrock, etc.) After a decade of pounding nails for my primary profession, I figure I could take on most of a kitchen remodel–but I would not bother with the plumbing, or electricity. There are just things I don’t know how to do. Clean-up can surprisingly save you money too. Some contractors are receptive to the idea of coming in, making a mess–and leaving the clean-up to you. Keeps them on the saws longer, and trust me…carpenters hate cleaning up. They will love you for it.
Budget: Hopefully my wife doesn’t read this–because I can hear her peals of laughter already. Make a budget for your kitchen remodel, and stick with it. Like–to the letter. Part of the budget process is sound planning. Come up with a design and stick with it. I am not opposed to changing plans mid-flight, but it does drive up your cost. Going forward, only to go back because something wasn’t thought out costs you time, and money. Your kitchen is pretty much the center of your home. Find a lay-out, appliances, cabinets, counter-tops that you love (and can afford) before you start–then you can streamline the process avoiding overages.
More Planning: Unless you feel like eating out every day–you’re going to need something temporary to make/eat food while you’ve destroyed your usual space. For those of you with additional humans in your homes–this is even more important. Kids still need lunches/dinners and whatever else they eat. I hear CPS frowns on people not feeding their kids. Even for a remodel. Having a temporary kitchen area planned out before you start will just ease the process.
Do you want to Supersize that?: Nothing in the DIY manual says you have to rip out the entire kitchen and start over. Ugly, old cabinets can be replaced. A simple re-do of the counter tops and backsplash can alter the look of a kitchen dramatically. Again–it is going to depend on your budget, time, and skill. If the old green formica counter tops that were installed in 1965 are driving you nuts–start there. You can always take a break and get back at it when the energy and coffers are re-filled. Bite sized chunks are sometimes good.
As remodels go–doing a kitchen is probably one of the more complicated, and certainly expensive. It also tends to be the focal point of potential buyers, so a good-looking, useful, and well planned kitchen can really drive the value of your home.
This list is certainly not meant to be comprehensive–but gives you food for thought (Haha! Oh man…I kill myself.) before you embark on your kitchen destruction remodel.