What to Expect From the Kitchen Remodel Design Process

Chances are if you’re preparing to shell out several thousand dollars on a kitchen remodel, you’re probably not going to demolish a few walls, rip up your floor, and tear out some cabinets before sitting down and asking yourself, “Now, how do I want my new kitchen to look?”

As much as we often wish we could begin a kitchen remodel right away, it is best to plan out the entire renovation before the project begins. The best way to ensure you have a successful remodel that meets your budget is to create a detailed, thorough design plan.

Now, if you’re thinking to yourself, “But I don’t even know where to begin designing a kitchen,” then worry not. As a company that specializes in designing and constructing home remodels, Lamont Bros. has guided hundreds of Portland homeowners through the kitchen remodel design process.

In this article, we’re going to share some industry practices about the kitchen remodel design process with you. By the time you’re done reading, you should have a strong understanding of what to expect when planning your kitchen remodel. Whether you work with our team at Lamont Bros. or with another contractor, any remodeling company with an effective design process will follow a process similar to the one described below.

Step 1: Defining Your Kitchen Concept (Weeks 1-3)

Congratulations! You’ve decided to remodel your kitchen, and now it’s time to start planning. The design process officially begins once you’ve hired a professional designer or contractor to begin drafting the design plans for your new kitchen.

At this point, you should already have signed a feasibility or design contract with your remodeler. If you’re still not sure how to find the right contractor for your kitchen remodel, download and read our 3 Step Guide to Choosing a Contractor before continuing this article.

Week 1 – Asbuilt Survey

The first step in designing your kitchen remodel is to take measurements of the current kitchen. Doing so will provide your design team with the information they need to begin planning for your new kitchen.

We call this step the Asbuilt Survey. Your design team will conduct a detailed on-site evaluation to understand the kitchen’s current layout and structure. This process involves taking precise measurements of the floor plan, cabinetry, and utility lines such as plumbing hookups and electrical outlets. The team will also take several photos of the space to further assist in the design process.

Your designers will use the information from your asbuilt survey to create an accurate model of the kitchen to serve as a starting point for the kitchen remodel design process. This survey is vital in a kitchen remodel as it ensures designs are tailored to fit within the original kitchen’s structure. It also prevents mistakes, inaccuracies, and unnecessary expenses resulting from making assumptions about the existing layout.

Week 2 – Feasibility Study

Following your asbuilt survey, you and your design team will begin to explore the feasibility of your proposed kitchen remodel.

A Feasibility Study is a critical investigation undertaken before drafting design plans for your kitchen remodel. Its primary goal is to determine if the envisioned kitchen is both constructible and aligns with the homeowner’s budget.

This process involves evaluating the existing structure of the home, assessing any applicable construction code restrictions, and considering potential construction challenges or the need for specialized contractors. The study provides a clear project scope, budget, and design roadmap.

A feasibility study typically lasts about 1 week. It is essential for avoiding costly mistakes, ensuring the proposed remodel is practical, and confirming a viable budget range.

Week 2-3 – Concept Review & Selection

Based on the findings of your feasibility study, your design team will present you with several options on how to proceed with your kitchen remodel. This comes in the form of 2-3 Design Concepts for how your new kitchen could look.

These design concepts are typically presented as 3D renderings. During this phase, you can explore different layout arrangements and placements for your appliances and cabinetry. You’ll also be able to experiment with different design styles to find the one that best fits your tastes. The end goal of this step is for you to select a general concept from which to develop the design for your kitchen.

The concepts phase will typically consist of at least two meetings to discuss and refine the options presented to you. Your feedback is crucial — it will guide your design team as they refine the concepts based on your preferences.

Keep in mind that these concepts are starting points and not finished designs. They don’t need to capture every detail that you have envisioned for your new kitchen. Rather, they set a direction for the remodel and will later be fine-tuned to align with your specific needs, preferences, and budget.

remodel design meeting
During the concepts phase, you’ll be asked to choose from several concepts for your kitchen remodel.

Week 3 – Sign Your Design Contract

Once you’ve selected a concept and are ready to move into the design phase, your contractor may ask you to sign a design contract before moving forward.

Some contractors will separate the feasibility contract from the design contract and ask the homeowner to sign each before beginning their respective phases. Others will roll both into a single contract that you sign at the very start of the process.

Concepts Phase Review

Now that you’ve reached the end of the Concept phase, you should have a pretty good idea of:

  • Budget – A range of how much you can expect to spend on the full project.
  • Scope – All the changes you can expect by the end of your remodel.
  • Timeline – When you can expect to start using your new kitchen.

Step 2 – Designing Your Kitchen (Weeks 4-10)

The design phase begins once you have established a clear concept that defines the scope of work for your project. During this stage, you’ll go from the bird’s eye view provided by your concept to a focused, detail-oriented design process where you’ll define the specifics of your new kitchen remodel.

Weeks 4-6 – Product & Material Selections

Now that you know the general layout and style for your remodel, it’s time to begin filling in the specific products and materials to bring your new kitchen to life.

During the Selections Phase, your design team will curate specific products and features based on your style preferences and needs you’ve communicated. Often, these options will be presented to you in the form of good, better, and best. You’ll be asked to make selections for several products and materials during this phase, including:

  • Cabinetry
  • Appliances
  • Countertops
  • Flooring
  • Backsplash
  • Lighting
  • Plumbing Fixtures

The selection phase usually takes 2-3 weeks. Often, it will involve several meetings with your design team, each one focused on a specific aspect of your kitchen remodel, such as cabinetry or countertop selections.

As part of your selections process, you’ll choose from a variety of cabinet lines and styles.

Weeks 6-9 – Finalize Designs & Project Pricing

During the few weeks after you’ve completed your selections, you won’t have much to do. However, your design team will be hard at work putting the finishing touches on the plans for your remodel.

Once the design plans are complete, your project management team will begin pricing the kitchen remodel. This phase, known as Final Pricing, is when your team uses the finalized design plans to narrow your project’s cost down from the initial budget range into a specific dollar amount. This amount will then be presented to you in your construction contract.

Week 10 – Sign Construction Contract

At the end of the design phase, you’ll be presented with a Construction Contract. This contract will outline several key agreements between you and your contractor as your kitchen remodel moves into construction.

Some of the most important topics covered in your construction contract include the cost of your kitchen remodel, the scope of work, and the roles and responsibilities of both you and the builder.

This contract also includes contingency plans for unexpected events as well as a clearly defined conflict resolution process.

It is essential to review this contract carefully and make sure you understand all its terms before signing. This contract not only signifies your approval to commence construction but also safeguards your interests throughout the remodeling process.

Step 3: Preparing for Your Remodel (Weeks 11-22)

Before beginning construction on the new kitchen, you and your contractor will need to take several weeks to plan and prepare for the project. While some projects may take shorter or longer than others, this step typically lasts between 10 – 12 weeks.

Week 11 – Submit Permits

Chances are, if your kitchen remodel involves any changes to the structural, electrical, or plumbing in your home, you’ll need permits.

Your contractor should take care of filing all the necessary permits with your local building governance. However, this still affects you directly because it often takes several weeks to get approval for renovation permits.

In some counties in Oregon, homeowners may have to wait 16-20 weeks to receive permit approval.

Week 11-22 – Preparing Your Home for Construction

It’s no secret that remodeling can be an invasive process that disrupts your day-to-day life. Fortunately, you have several weeks to prepare yourself and your home.

It’s important that you put together a plan for how your home will function while your kitchen is under construction. Not having a place to cook meals for several weeks means you’ll have to get creative.

Many homeowners set up a temporary kitchen in their home to use while the remodel is underway. Though not as convenient or stylish as a usual kitchen, a temporary kitchen with a microwave, hotplate, and refrigerator are usually enough to get you by until your new kitchen is ready.

Other times, homeowners will temporarily move out of the home to avoid the stress of living through a remodel.

Temporary kitchen set up during a remodel
A temporary kitchen can help you get by during a remodel.

Week 22 – Preconstruction Meeting

The final step before construction begins on your new kitchen is a Preconstruction Meeting.

In the preconstruction meeting for a kitchen remodel, you’ll engage in a thorough review of your project with your construction team. This may include going over finalized design plans, project schedules, and permits to make sure everyone is on the same page.

The purpose of this meeting is to make sure there are no miscommunications or unmet expectations during construction. Your team may ask for your input on topics such as site and utility access, bathroom facilities for workers, and establishing a protection plan to safeguard non-construction areas and landscaping.

The preconstruction meeting is a vital step in ensuring a smooth transition from the design process into construction for your kitchen remodel.

Want to learn more about the kitchen remodel process?

Now you’re an expert on the kitchen remodel design process, from the early design concepts phase to the start of construction. Interested in learning more about kitchen remodeling? Download our free Kitchen Remodel Buyer’s Guide, where you can find resources to help you prepare for your upcoming kitchen remodel.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your remodeling journey by speaking with an expert, click the link below to get connected with a member of our design team.