Kitchen Design Process - Roll Up Your Sleeves
Step 2: Roll Up Your Sleeves
Once you’ve explored your imagination and our products portfolio, let’s start creating your space. In this part of the plan, you’ll scope the project to accommodate your needs, your wants, and your level of investment into your home.
How to Plan
When planning your kitchen project, there are four main topics for success. Taking the time to plan properly will not only save you time and stress, but will also help you make the choices that truly fit your lifestyle.
Four Topics to Explore:
- Project Scope
- Product Selection
- Design Options
- Professional Services
Generally speaking, a kitchen remodel can be broken down into two main project types:
- Remove and replace
In a “remove and replace” project there are no major modifications to the basic kitchen layout. This type of project simply involves removing old items and installing new ones in their place. For the kitchen, this typically includes some combination of flooring, countertops, cabinets, appliances, sinks, faucets and lighting.
A “remodel” project, on the other hand, includes major reconfiguring of the kitchen design for improved functional layout, additional storage, new dining space, updated electrical and plumbing needs and more. In short, major remodeling is recommended when your objectives cannot be realized within the existing four walls.
Establishing the depth of your kitchen renovation needs will help you narrow choices as you move through the remaining project planning steps.
Once design style, functional requirements, scope and investment have been established, the task of product selection will be much easier. Knowing where to splurge and where to scale back to get the most return on your investment takes a bit of thought. In our experience, it is worth considering reaching out to design professional to help you make some choices. This is a unique process and it is something that the every-day person does not do every day and the KraftMaid family has been doing kitchen designs for decades.
The strongest visual statement in your new kitchen design will be made by your cabinetry selection. It will also have the most impact on your wallet, as the largest portion of an average kitchen project is usually in the cost of cabinetry. Whether you select ours, or another brand, there are some important considerations in choosing your cabinets:
- How many options and features are available for your dream space?
- What is the warranty on the products?
- Does the manufacturer stand behind their product?
- What do you get for your investment?
Ultimately, the products you select should be of the best style and quality.
Your kitchen design choices affect the look of your home. Good design is scalable. If the level of investment is a concern, there are a number of ways to personalize while scaling back features and cost.
For example, choosing a less costly cabinet door style can still embody the look you’re striving for with thoughtful placement of details such as columns, glass doors, moldings, hardware, etc. Creative use of color and accent pieces to dress up the space will also make an impact on your vision.
If you are struggling with the design and/or planning of your kitchen project, consider hiring a design professional. They do these projects every day and can help with the hard choices.
The final consideration in your planning is who will help you with your project. The service people you employ are actually the most critical in terms of project investment because kitchens are typically built from scratch on site from a set of blueprints and literally hundreds of parts and pieces from a wide variety of suppliers.
With so many suppliers and service people involved such as your designer, cabinet manufacturer, shipper, appliance distributor, countertop fabricator, contractor/installer, carpenter, plumber, electrician, etc., any number of errors can be made during the course of your kitchen project. Such errors can add stress, frustrating delays, or considerable dissatisfaction with the overall project.
Choosing skilled professionals to design, plan and implement your project can make all the difference in delivering a successful vision.
Establishing specific parameters is an important step in the project plan. Here you’ll consider whether you’ll simply remove and replace existing kitchen cabinetry or perform a complete remodel that may alter the existing kitchen footprint.
Kitchen renovation projects generally fall into one of two categories: remove and replace, or complete remodeling. Determining which type of renovation you will be undertaking is the first step in defining scope.
Remove and Replace
A remove and replace project can be defined as the change-out of existing kitchen cabinetry without any major modifications to the basic kitchen layout. In other words, it entails the removal of old items and installation of new ones in their place. In a kitchen remodel, you might choose to replace some or all of the following elements:
- Kitchen cabinets
- Cosmetics (paint, new windows, etc.)
Some homeowners might want to tackle some of this work themselves, hiring specialty contractors for the more difficult tasks. Many suppliers also provide cabinet installation services for an additional fee. If you want more extensive help, kitchen designers, remodeling contractors and design/build firms can provide design, installation and project management services.
Major reconfiguring of the kitchen design is possible within the existing four walls of the space, enabling improved functional layout and creation of additional storage space and casual dining areas. When making such extensive changes, the creativity and functional problem-solving of a professional kitchen designer is a worthwhile investment.
In a full kitchen remodel, more drastic changes are implemented when your objectives cannot be realized within the existing four walls. Typically, the process begins with the “gutting” of the entire existing kitchen by tearing out the walls, insulation, wiring and piping down to the framing. Why go so far? Older homes often have outdated plumbing, electrical and mechanical infrastructure that can't run all the modern amenities. Extra insulation can help keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Gutting a room also provides the best opportunity to add structured wiring for all your phone, fax, Internet, television and networking needs.
Remodel work may also include expansion efforts to increase the square footage of your kitchen footprint by moving walls into adjacent spaces, removing walls to create one larger space, or by building a new addition to your home.
A project of this size requires skilled labor from several different trades, which means it also requires a project manager. If you’re not up for doing it yourself, a general contractor or design/build firm can do it for you. Some kitchen designers and architects also provide project management services.
Once you’ve established the type of kitchen renovation you’ll be doing, you’ll be able to lay out the required tasks for execution in a preliminary project plan. This, paired with your budget calculations, will contribute to the final definition of project scope. You may find along the way that alterations may be required to accommodate unplanned obstacles and new ideas, but having a defined scope and project plan in place will allow you to quickly evaluate your priorities and make adjustments when the need arises.
Plan for the Right Investment
Kitchen remodeling can range from a few hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars, but when done right, it will bring benefits for years. Depending on the amount of remodeling to be done, expenses can generally be broken down to the cost of labor, mechanical updates and new fixtures. Calculate target allocations within your investment plan and use our handy personal planner to see how much we recommend for each area.
Investing in Functionality
Kitchen cabinets, storage, and decorative enhancements are not only a purchase, but an investment that will pay dividends every day for you and your family as you use and enjoy the space you’ve created.
When making a significant purchase, it all comes down to determining what you need versus what you want. With this in mind, KraftMaid has created semi-custom cabinetry solutions that not only provide you with what you genuinely need for your home, but what you really want as well. Our extensive selection of wood species, door styles, finish techniques, kitchen storage solutions and decorative enhancements - all at varying price points - gives you the ability to mix and match the things you want with the things you need and have it all add up to the perfect room for your lifestyle at a price that works for you.
The kitchen is the most expensive room in the house to equip and, if done well, is the room that most often helps sell a house at the asking price. When planning your kitchen renovation, keep in mind that a good portion of the cost of installing a new kitchen can be recovered when the home is sold - it’s an investment in your home’s equity. Even in today’s economy, research shows that returns of 70-120% of the kitchen investment are being realized at the point of project completion.
Creating a Budget
Most homeowners have an idea at the outset of how much they want to spend. However, deciding how to allocate those dollars can be confusing, especially with all of the options that are available.
A recent national survey conducted by the National Kitchen & Bath Association offers a guideline for allocating your construction budget. They found that, on average, consumers working with a kitchen designer spent:
- 48% on kitchen cabinetry
- 18% on countertops
- 15% on appliances
- 6% on faucets/sinks/plumbing
- 5% on lighting/electrical
- 5% on flooring
- 3% on wall treatment/molding/trim
When creating a budget, keep the following suggestions in mind:
- Educate yourself on the average cost of a remodel. A rule of thumb is to not let your kitchen remodeling budget exceed 15% of your home’s fair market value.
- Plan your budget for a 10% overage in case there are unexpected expenses that occur.
- To avoid incorrect cabinetry measurements, talk with your designer about any major appliances you want to purchase before you finalize the kitchen design, since they will impact the overall measurement of the room.
- Work with your kitchen designer to understand the cost differences between the various types of material, door styles and finish techniques. Determine the aspects of your cabinetry selection and kitchen design that are non-negotiable.
- To scale back financially, ask yourself if all chosen features are necessary. However, bear in mind that what you might not miss now could be an essential feature months or years later. Avoid future disappointment by including as much functionality as possible early in the design process. This is especially true of kitchen storage solutions that need to be put in place when the cabinetry is being installed. Try our Personal Planner for a quick estimation of costs.
The Price of Expertise
When calculating renovation expenses, consider not only the quality of the products you choose, but also the quality of the professionals who will play a part in your project execution. Choosing a skilled professional with a proven track record may cost a bit more up front, but can save you a lot of money in the long term by doing the work properly and within the established timeline and budget. Learn more about choosing the right professionals for your project in the Why Work with Professionals section.
At KraftMaid, we rely on our customers’ feedback to improve our products and to help other customers make smart decisions. When looking back at their financial decisions, here are a few of the things that rose to the top of our customers’ “buyer’s remorse” list.
- Some customers wish they had hired a professional cabinet installer to visit their home and measure the space. This small investment will help you save considerably in the future. Need help? Get tips on measuring your space.
- Some wish they had replaced their aged appliances before selecting kitchen cabinetry and completing their project. If you think you are in this position, find out how to select the appliances that are right for your kitchen.
- Others wish they had evaluated their list of “wants”. While they selected the kitchen cabinets and enhancements that they needed in the room, they realize they should have budgeted for one or two “wants” to give the room that personal touch. This is an investment you may live with for years. You don’t want to look back and say, “I wish I would have…”
KraftMaid cabinetry is an investment - not just in time and money, but in the future. You’ll be the one living and working in the space, so make sure that you find the right balance between controlling costs and getting the full functionality you expect from your room.
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Sample Remodeling Budget Breakdown