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The Recipe for Cooking Up the Kitchen of Your Dreams

Kitchen Remodel: Where to Start?

Everybody loves renovations. There’s a reason why HGTV is one of the most popular channels on television. Of all the renovation projects, it seems people cannot get enough of the kitchen. If you are one of those, or you are looking to remodel your own, you will first want to know where to start.

Where to Start Before You Start

First things first. Before you start the brand new kitchen remodel, you need to know what to expect. According to Kitchens.com, expect the worst. An enormous number of different things can go wrong.

Your parts and products can arrive late or damaged. Your home can have dirty secrets hidden in the walls. It is not uncommon for people to find ants, mold, mildew, asbestos, or lead paint. Not to scare you even more, but I recommend watching this quick, three-minute video. Consumer Reports walks you through some of the most common kitchen renovation mistakes.

So, first step: mentally prep yourself for the stress and disaster scenarios. Next up: make a budget, then figure out how and where you will cook and eat your meals during the renovation.

Budgeting is hard, but it is worth all the time and energy you will put into it. Make a list of the work you want done and look up the costs online. According to Home Adviser, the national average is around $22,000.

As an alternative, you can contact a design or architectural firm to get an estimate. Bear in mind that some may charge you for the consultation.

Kansas City Kitchen Remodeling, which does kitchen remodeling in Kansas City, recommends getting a mini-fridge or putting a full-sized one in the garage. You’ll need somewhere to put all the frozen meals. Also have a microwave handy in your temporary kitchen. Stock up on napkins, paper plates, and utensils. In general, pretend you and your family will be camping out in your own home for the foreseeable future. Pitch a tent in the living room if it helps. Anything to reduce the stress factor will be worth it.

Once you have all the temporary dining provisions, it is finally time to have some fun. This is where you get to go shopping for your new dream kitchen.

Put a Pin in It

If you don’t have a Pinterest account, sign up for one now. (If you’re not the techie type, pick up a copy of this book, browse through, and jot down some notes of what you like.) Now you can type all the kitchen remodeling terms into their search engine and go wild. Pin to your heart’s content. It’s like window shopping, but online. It’s magical.

Be careful, though. Keep your budget in mind as you search, lest you fall in love with something exorbitant.

Here are some suggestions for where and how to start:

  1. If you don’t have a clear picture of your remodel yet, do a quick search for something broad, like “dream kitchen”. Get a sense of what other people have done with their own kitchens.
  2. Once you have that vivid image, start to refine. Decide what elements you can’t live without. Consider the difference between wants and needs. Make a list and order all the items based on importance.
  3. Make new Pinterest boards based on these individual items. For instance, you might have a whole board devoted to backsplash tiles or cabinets or paint color.
  4. This brings us to the final point of getting started with planning. The actual labor involved, the sweat equity, is enormous. Once you’re ready to dive into the demo and reno work, you’ll want to make a plan of action.

Make a Plan and Stick to It

You have your sanity intact. You’ve got a temporary place to cook and/or eat. You even wrote a budget. You are very proud of yourself and for good reason. Your Pinterest is exploding with countertop materials and stainless steel appliances and flooring.

The next step requires you to leave the house. Go to a hardware store like Lowe’s or Home Depot and hold the physical products in your hands. It is often difficult to know for sure what you like until you see it in the flesh. It is imperative that you get a chance to see and touch it in person.

For the purposes of this article, I assume you are hiring a general contractor. In other words, you are going to use professionals to do the labor. That said, you will want to partner with the general contractor to help with the ordering process.

Keep in mind that ordering kitchen hardware may take considerable time to arrive. Pieces that are custom built, such as cabinets or countertops, can even take months. Allow for this time before you begin the actual gutting of the space.

As there is more than one way to skin a cat, so there are several ways to start a kitchen renovation. This Old House magazine has a spectacular guide that is beyond helpful in this respect. In this guide, as in this article, they do not assume you are doing the work yourself. They encourage getting a contractor and suggest several tips for doing that. For instance, try to visit one of their jobs in progress to see how they work and what they are capable of.

Further, This Old House has tips on what to look for in the best kitchen appliances. You may not have burner heat output or cooktop safety features way up high on your list, but they should be!

It’s Time to Shake and Bake

Finally, after what will likely be months and months of planning, you are ready to get started. The walls can come down. You can destroy the ants and the mold. You can unpack the granite, custom cabinets, and stainless steel everything.

Let the general contractor do his or her work, of course. Use that patience you mined at the beginning of the process. Hide in the living room tent if necessary with your microwave pizza. It will all be happening, and it will be magical.

Because, when the dust settles, you can look around at the space and do exactly what you did at the start. You can dream. Only this time, those big dreams are finally becoming a reality.