The Kitchen Design Process
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 Older homes often have outdated plumbing, electrical and mechanical infrastructure that can't run all the modern amenities.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.Next: Plan For The Right Investment