Dream Kitchen Or Nightmare Project?
By Sara Busby
You have been scanning Houzz and Pinterest for months, attending every home
show and tour, purchasing every kitchen and bath magazine published and
discussing your “dream kitchen” with friends. Here are a few up and coming trends
from this year’s National Kitchen and Bath Show in Las Vegas that might have
popped up in all that research:
– Mid-tone woods used in cabinetry
with simpler styles and less
– Metals and glass in backsplashes
– Decorative hardware and lighting in
many finishes and even a little ‘bling’
– Stainless steel sinks that are warmer
in color and finish
– Faucets with adjustable spray
patterns and hands-free operation
– Smart technology in appliances and
lighting that communicate with cell
– Cooler color pallets with more taupes
Whether one opts for the latest technology and trends or prefers a more traditional
kitchen, new and remodeled kitchens are the best place to spend money for return
on investment, according to The National Kitchen and Bath Association and the
National Association of Home Builders.
This experience can be so much fun with results that will give years of joy and
memories, or it can be stressful and not quite as satisfying as hoped. Heard more
nightmare kitchen project stories than “dream come true” ones? How to ensure
the experience is the dream and not the nightmare? Start with selecting a certified
kitchen designer (CKD).
According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, a CKD “must have a
minimum of 7 years’ experience designing residential kitchen spaces. They are
highly skilled in design, space planning and product selection and have extensive
knowledge of building codes, flooring materials, appliances and mechanical systems.
They write specifications and draw plans that are easily interpreted by plumbers,
electricians and installers. A CKD must meet specific educational requirements and
pass a comprehensive academic and practical exam.”
It is the CKD’s responsibility to interview and listen, to understand and honor
lifestyle, design sense and budget. Select a designer that listens and communicates
well. You will be placing a great amount of responsibility on your designer to
interpret your dreams. This process is best approached as a give and take. Dreams
may have to be prioritized to stay within budget or for design due to space,
structural elements and schedules. Using the budget effectively, and presenting the
best products and plan for the job, is the CKD’s main focus.
Once the design is perfected, the materials selected, the contractor determined, it’s
time to start … or maybe not. These are some other key considerations which must
be addressed to have the “dream kitchen project” experience.
Establish an agreed upon means of communication with the designer and
contractor. Do you want a call, an email or text? Advised of every detail or prefer
to have the small decisions handled for you? How frequently do you want project
updates? Do you want to be out of town and come home to a clean and completed
project or to visit the jobsite regularly?
Prepare your home and your life for the renovation. Remove everything from your
kitchen and surrounding areas, clear space in the garage to stage deliveries and
plan the best location for the dumpster. Can you still get in the driveway, can the
next door neighbor get in their driveway? Where will you live while the work is
being done? Also, what hours are appropriate for work to begin and end? Some
developments have specific hours that work people are allowed in.
It is polite to alert your neighbors that there will be additional traffic in the
neighborhood, (and give them your builder’s phone number, just in case). Often the
neighbors will delight in sharing your experience and gladly help out any way they
can if you keep them informed.
You set the rules. No smoking in the house, but how about the driveway? What
about music? Which bathroom should workers use while on site? Pets may also
need special arrangements.
The project is now underway and will go through stages of: What was I thinking,
how can this make such a mess, when will these darn contractors be done, when will
the back ordered sink be here, how did the dog get that piece of drywall to chew on?
Remember that this process ends with a dream kitchen. Everyone working on your
job is a professional and will be doing their best work in a timely manner. If you can
enjoy the journey and have fun along the way the destination is amazing. Throw a
party and show off your new kitchen.
Sara Ann Busby, a certified kitchen designer, has been designing kitchens and
baths throughout the Midwest for more than 30 years. Busby previously served as
National President for the National Kitchen and Bath Association.