A kitchen remodel can be a complex project, so you want to make sure you plan accordingly. The first step is to answer some key questions about your remodel before you get started. In this post, we break down the 10 most important kitchen remodel questions to explore before you dive in.
1. What are my goals?
The first big kitchen remodel question you want to identify is: what are your remodel goals? At Lamont Bros. we advise clients to do this by creating 3 separate lists:
The initial list of features you want to identify are the must-haves. These are items you simply need to have in your project for you to be happy with it. Maybe it’s much more kitchen counter space, or a double oven. Whatever those key must-haves are, jot them down first, because these are the essentials. Chances are, if you can’t accomplish these critical goals, it won’t be worth going through with the remodel.
Next, you want to take note of the nice to haves — those features that you don’t consider essential, but that you would really like to include in your remodel if possible. Maybe you’d really like some unique hand-made tile as part of your backsplash. That would be great to have, but if it puts too much of a strain on your budget, you’re ok with opting for a different material. Or maybe you’d really like a state-of-the-art range, but it’s not critical. List all of these out to help you prioritize. Ultimately, you’re still likely to go through with your remodel even if you can’t fit these items into your project.
Third, write up your dream list of features. This is sort of your “if money were no object” list. These are products or features that you may think you won’t be able to afford or find space for in your home. But by listing them out, this helps the designer understand everything that you’d love to see in your new space. Sometimes they can figure out a way to include those items while staying within your budget or they can repurpose existing space in a creative way. So it’s important to think through all 3 sections.
2. What special kitchen equipment do I need?
Next, ask yourself what type of cooking you do and what sort of cooking needs you may need in your new kitchen. Maybe you’re a gourmet cook and you need a lot of storage for your specialized pots, pans, and platters. Perhaps you’re into food blogging and lots of light is important for you to take photos. Maybe you simply have a large family and you need to be able to cook large amounts of food at a time, so a six-burner stove and lots of prep space may be key. Identifying the type of cooking you do in your kitchen can help inform the designer on your project how to create a space that truly meets your needs.
3. Who will be using the kitchen the most?
Third in our list of key kitchen remodel questions is: who will be in your home using your kitchen most often? Do you have kids? Are you planning on having kids? Is a homework nook or island area important so your kids can be doing their homework while you’re cooking dinner?
Do you entertain a lot? How much space will you need if your guests typically congregate in the kitchen? Do you have pets? The answers to those sorts of questions will influence the design of your space and what types of materials may be best for you.
4. Do I have any special health issues to take into account?
It’s also important to consider any allergies or other health issues you may have before you start doing your remodel. These can include sensitivities to things like Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are substances sometimes found in types of paint, flooring, and other materials that can be released into the air as chemicals). If this is the case, you can specify that you’d like materials with low or no levels of VOCs.
Sensitivities around lots of dust are also important for the designer and crew to know about. We always use high-grade filtration systems to redirect dust and dirt particles out of the home during construction, but you want to make sure the builder you work with is doing the same.
5. How are kitchens designed in homes that are similar to mine?
Another question to ask yourself and your designer focuses on some best practices in kitchen design. Specifically, whether your designer has worked on kitchen remodels in homes similar to yours and what things worked well in those situations. Most homes in the U.S. are not custom designed, rather many have similar floor plans and features, especially within the same developments. Because of that, there’s a lot of opportunity to research other homes and see what someone with one similar to yours may have done with their kitchen. That doesn’t mean you’ll want to copy their design, but it can provide inspiration for things that were successful and give you some ideas on features you may want to avoid.
6. What is my style?
Another important question to ask yourself is, “What is my style?” The answer may be that you’re not quite sure. And that’s ok. On the other hand, you may have a very defined style. That’s great as well. What you really want to do is identify those design elements that you like and those you don’t. If you know what sort of architectural style you love, like modern or farmhouse for example, that will give your designer a head start on putting together options for your space. If you don’t, start searching online or in magazines and saving photos of things you like or colors that catch your eye. Those will all help your designer create a kitchen that you will ultimately love.
7. How long will I stay in my home?
If you plan to sell your home in a couple of years, your designer may recommend different materials than if it is your forever home. It’s not that the materials will be poorer in quality, but he or she may suggest colors or finishes that can appeal to a broad range of people, or in this case, potential buyers.
On the other hand, if you do plan to stay in the home for a long time, your design team may recommend more customizable features, or ones designed to last 20 years instead of 10 for example. You don’t want to have to replace cabinets or other items a few years down the line. So thinking about how long you intend you stay in the home is important.
8. Am I going to live in my home during my remodel?
Answering whether you plan to live through your remodel while the construction work is going on is also key. If you are, you want to plan out how you’re going to cook and do dishes during that time — essentially how to live with a temporary kitchen set up. Doing this planning and preparation beforehand is critical as you may be without your full kitchen for several weeks or even a few months, depending on the complexity of your project.
If you plan to leave your home during construction, you’ll need to plan ahead to secure housing for long enough in order for your remodel to be completed.
9. What is my timeline?
You also want to ask yourself whether there’s a particular date you need your kitchen remodel done by, or whether you have a more flexible timeline. Sometimes people like to be very deliberate during the design phase in order to explore a lot of different options and concepts. And that’s great, especially if it’s your forever home.
Others really need to have their remodels done in a certain amount of time for various reasons. Regardless, understanding your timeline can have an effect on things like what types of products you may be able to choose (some products may be back ordered for several weeks for example) or what design/build firm you’re able to work with, based on their availability.
10. What is my budget?
One of the most important kitchen remodel questions to answer is what budget you have available. Some clients fund it fully themselves, others take out a construction or renovation loan, others refinance their homes. There are several ways to fund your kitchen remodel. So you want to think about what the best options for you are. You also want to consider what your home will be worth after your remodel is complete. It’s important to know the return on your remodel investment, especially if you plan to sell your home in a few years.
If your budget is tight, you may consider breaking up your remodel into phases. Major aspects, such as removing a wall or changing around plumbing could be done in phase one, while more cosmetic tasks such as refinishing or replacing cabinets could be done later on.
You also want to ask the construction partner you’re working with whether they have a clear budgeting process, and ask to see it. If they don’t, you may be in for some surprises. If they do, then you can go into your project feeling much more confident about what you will be paying for your remodel.
Are you planning a kitchen remodel and aren’t sure where to start? We’re happy to discuss your project. Simply schedule a conversation with us!
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