Kitchen Renovation Traps and Tips
by Designer Builder, Peter Harnischmacher of Capital Building Contractors
So the old kitchen is looking tired and is no fun to cook up a storm in.
First, ask yourself, “Why do I wish to renovate”?
Is the Kitchen renovation for you? Or, is it to achieve a better sale price? If you are looking at selling, don’t spend a lot of money on a fancy Kitchen… or anything for that matter. Just make sure all the cosmetics and maintenance is done, everything works correctly and looks fresh. If an old kitchen looks neat and tidy along with the rest of the house, prospective buyers will see nothing needs doing urgently.
‘Move in and do nothing houses’ are attractive to a broader range of buyer and only cost you a paint job and a few overdue repairs. The less money you spend on the house you want to sell the more chance you have of improving your return.
Guessing a potential buyers wants and tastes is near impossible. Too often have we seen owners spending $30 to 50K on a “Hip kitchen design” that nobody loves. Or, to find out that it needs to be demolished to make way for unforeseen, subsequent renovations.
The Kitchen is for you, your culinary nirvana for the next 10 to 30 years.
If a Kitchen is designed functionally and of good quality, it should easily last 10 to 30 years. How can a kitchen last so long without eventually looking old fashioned?
Simple answer; avoid jumping on the latest trends, the latest fashion will look out of fashion in a surprisingly short time.
1. Turn your mind to the design and the layout, style comes last, just like designing a house. Where is your kitchen to be located? In an existing design /home, there may be a better place to locate the kitchen particularly if you are adding an extra living or meals area/extension.
In our experience, the most common reason for ground floor extensions is the addition and reconfiguration of Kitchen, Meals and Living areas. If you are paying for a new kitchen anyway, moving it won’t really cost any extra.
2. Work out the best layout for the kitchen and its relationship to the meals and living areas.
Understand the kitchen triangle and your preferences for the efficient use of the space available.
3. Don’t make the Kitchen too big. It’s a waste of space and you will be walking many more miles to cook the same meal. The bigger it is, the more it costs.
4. Do you really need that butler’s pantry or do you just want one because “it’s the IN thing”?
There are more reasons not to have them: They take up more room and require more cabinetry which is expensive. Butlers Pantrys leave less room for the kitchen and are excessive in situations where space is limited. The cook is shut away in this small room, which can only be good if you can afford servants you don’t want to see! (ha ha).
The concept of a butlers pantry is not all downside as long as it serves a purpose. Usually a second fridge and extra storage for appliances and workspaces. We find having a laundry next to the kitchen and making it larger than normal provides the best of both worlds. Further, if the laundry cupboards match the kitchen it becomes a large Laundry/Pantry and works in seamlessly on those occasions it’s required, think larger functions and family gatherings.
5. Talk to a designer-builder if the kitchen is to fit in with other alteration or extension works.
You and the Designer Builder can rough out the basic design and cost centres.
At Capital Building, we have access to specialist kitchen manufacturers who then convert the kitchen concept into a precise digital layout of sizes and materials.
6. Things to resolve before the final design
– Go and visit kitchen manufacturers showrooms and find out about finishes and costs. As always, doing your homework empowers you to make good decisions around quality, cost and layout.
Imagine yourself using and cleaning the kitchen. Measure out the area and compare it with your existing kitchens strong points and shortcomings.
High-gloss finishes show every little scratch and fingerprint and can be expensive to source and maintain. Perhaps a matt finish is more forgiving?
Laminates represent best value, variety and durability for cupboards and tops.
Make sure your kitchen colour scheme compliments the rest of your house colour selection. Have a look at the colour wheel and understand the difference between warm and cool colours. If you are hoping your new kitchen will add value to the home avoid polarising colour and materials choices.
Listen carefully to your designer builder and kitchen designer. Run it past the professionals and friends and family, those whose tastes you like. If you don’t want to bend over searching through low cupboards go for draws. Go for large evenly spaced symmetrical drawers and overhead doors which line up.
Simple lines always look sharp, if it’s too busy, multicoloured, different sized draws and doors it’s not going to sing, keep it classy.
Are stone tops necessary or just a trend? Some stone wears, marks and stains easily and is expensive. Sure stone can look stunning but there are other alternatives which look just as good without the expense. Stone is certainly becoming commonplace, however, a recent client of ours opted for recycled timber tops for something different and more sustainable.
Think about using sustainable and efficient materials and appliances.
Be aware of durability, compliance and budget issues when considering glass and window splashbacks.
Choose complementary floors, lighting, bulkheads over cupboards, ventilation, recirculating range hoods and appliance choices.
Why not go all electric and aim at reducing your electricity bills to zero with solar panels and building fabric efficiencies?
So much goes into kitchens, it’s no wonder they are so expensive.
Want a great kitchen? Talk to an experienced designer builder like Capital Building. We will make sure you get a great look for a reasonable price.