The best procedure for renovating a kitchen is often different from what homeowners believe. Homeowners can mistakenly buy materials or hire professionals in the wrong order. Unfortunately, doing so usually wastes money and hurts the final result.
Below are the most common mistakes and misconceptions:
1. Hiring an architect first. Often because homeowners know that they want to remove a load bearing wall or add an addition onto their kitchen they start their project by hiring an architect. This is putting the cart before the horse. Yes, an architect or engineer may be needed for the project, however, designing the space and the kitchen is the first step, and architects are not kitchen designers. Initial drawings done by architects are usually poor kitchen designs and so the entire project needs to be reworked to create a better kitchen. Often the homeowner has invested thousands of dollars on a design that is nearly worthless. Hold off hiring the architect until the kitchen plans are nearly completed with the kitchen designer and the contractor is selected. The contractor may recommend an architect he likes to work with and the costs for the drawings needed will be less and only need to be done once. Home centers and some less experienced kitchen design firms may not be comfortable designing larger construction projects, but the more experienced showrooms and cabinet dealers will, and this is where we would recommend beginning the project.
2. Getting bids from contractors before your design with the kitchen designer is finalized. Contractors need plans to estimate a kitchen renovation. Having them bid on a project before the kitchen design is done and they can see the scope of the project will make their final estimate higher. You only get one bite at the apple getting a contractor’s most competitive estimate. The more information you give the contractor the more accurate the estimate will be. Comparing estimates between contractors is easy when everyone is bidding on the same thing.
3. Thinking it saves money and time buying everything through the kitchen showroom or cabinet dealership. Kitchen showrooms and cabinet dealers usually have several designers and carry several cabinet lines. They have samples of all the cabinetry they sell and of their design work. As discussed, this is where you should begin working on your project. However, kitchen cabinet dealers will have a poor selection of appliances, flooring, tile, and fixtures. Buying these materials through the cabinet dealer will be more expensive, and while most kitchen designers would have helpful advice, they are not the experts you need in each area. Appliance, flooring, and tile salespeople will be more knowledgeable about the products they sell, and their showrooms will offer the largest selection. Some cabinet dealers such as Main Line Kitchen Design pass on their trade discounts at these locations to their customers. Buying these products through the kitchen showroom just adds an unneeded middleman as well as the possibility of added confusion.
4. Buying natural stone countertops through the Cabinet dealer. Artificial countertops such as Engineered Quartz or Corian are usually selected from samples and so it can save time and money buying these types of tops through your cabinet dealer. However, viewing the slabs of natural stone is required when buying tops such as granite, marble, quartzite, or soapstone. Since the individual granite yards own the stone and install it themselves it makes little sense to buy the countertops from your cabinet supplier. Adding a middleman here will cost you more and increase the likelihood of misunderstandings. Some cabinet dealers such as Main Line Kitchen Design will pass on their trade discounts at stone yards to their customers.
5. Starting demolition before the kitchen design is finalized. Without a kitchen design finalized it makes no sense beginning a renovation. Work can be done more efficiently when the complete plans are available. Since any quality cabinetry always takes at least a month to arrive after it is purchased, wait until the cabinets are ordered to start construction. It won’t slow you down and it could save time, money, and big headaches.
6. Buying appliances before your kitchen design is finalized. Handcuffing your kitchen designer with appliances you purchased before you knew what design choices the designer might recommend will never help and could hurt your finished kitchen. Many people mistakenly believe that they know the design and appliances what they want before they begin working with a kitchen designer. In fact, it is often the first thing they tell their kitchen designer. As kitchen designers we know that the more certain a customer is about what they want the more likely there will be aspects of the design that haven’t been considered. Considering that 80 percent of our customers get very different kitchens from what they originally expected, buying appliances before working on the design with a professional isn’t helpful.
Hoping your renovation proceeds in the right order . . .
. . . and as always. . .
Paul, Julie, John, Stacia, Tom and Ed
Main Line Kitchen Design