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Summary: Most remodeling projects require some planning, and the best ones are typically planned far enough ahead so that the details can sink in: how you use and live in a space should dictate the design, scope and cost of your project.
Are you itching to breathe new life into an outdated or poorly-functioning kitchen? Hold on. Put down the phone. Before contacting a remodeling professional, you’ll need to do a little soul-searching and research first.
Measure twice, cut once – any sensivle carpenter will tell you this. “Planning is the first phase of any project, and most of the time it’sthe phase that’s ignored,” says Everett Collier, president of theNational Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). “The more pre-planning that one can do, the better off they are.”
CREATE YOUR STYLEBOOK
If you’re even thinking about a kitchen remodel, odds are you have been leafing through design magazines. Both are great ways to jumpstart the process, but to getthe most out of this step, you’ll need to do more than turn pages andprogram your TiVo.
While looking through magazines, tear out photos of kitchenst hat appeal to you and write what you like about the room in the margin. Then slip the page into a clear sheet protector and insert that into a three-ring binder to create a stylebook.
The internet is another source for kitchen inspiration. Why not start by looking in the gallery! Simply print the photos and add them to your stylebook. As your stylebook grows, a clear picture of your desired style of kitchen will emerge. That’s helpful for you, but it’s also helpful for the remodeling professional you will eventually hire.
DEFINE YOUR GOAL
There’s obviously a reason you want to remodel your kitchen. What is it? Perhaps you want a kitchen that will help with resale in a few years. Maybe you desire a kitchen built for entertaining or one that allows several people to cook at once. This is the time to think through your needs and wants. Make notes about how you plan to use the remodeled space, then try to distill all that information into a one- or two-sentence goal such as, “My casual and open kitchen will be a place for family and friends to relax and enjoy healthy meals.”
CREATE YOUR BUDGET
To get a general idea of how much you have to spend on a kitchen remodel, you will need to crunch some numbers. NARI offers a worksheet that makes the math easy. Are granite countertops a must-have? Howabout stainless steel appliances? Do a little research into the costs of your wish list items and compare them with your preliminary budget. Are you on target?
SET A TIME BUDGET
When most people hear the word budget, they automatically think of money. However, when remodeling, it’s also important to budget time. Isthere an event on the calendar that would be affected if your kitchen was under construction? Discuss your time budget when interviewing potential remodelers.
HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Above all else make sure you have reasonable expectations when it comes to your kitchen remodel. Talk to people who have been through the process before.
It’s going to take a certain amount of time. It’s going to have a certain amount of mess. It’s going to be a financial stress, and if you don’t know all this ahead of time and you go in with rose colored glasses, then that takes all the fun out of it.
And, youknow, it should be fun.