Friday, November 23, 2007
How to carve out a better kitchen
By Ann Robinson and Annie Vernon
Thanksgiving wins as the holiday with the most time spent in the kitchen.
The celebration centers on a wonderful, home-cooked meal. How did your kitchen handle the four extra cooks, the turkey, rolls, mashed potatoes and yams?
It isn't realistic to design a home to handle a once-a-year event like Thanksgiving, but with it fresh on our minds (and stomachs), we thought we'd look at kitchens, just in case you are craving a remodel.
When planning a kitchen remodel there are two aspects to consider: aesthetics and function. The aesthetic inadequacies are easy to spot. You can't miss the lime green countertops and outdated appliances.
There is a wide range of options when it comes to updating your kitchen. You can choose wood or metal cabinets that are stained or painted, with flat or raised panel profiles. You can trade green counters for granite, soapstone, tile, plastic laminate, quartz, concrete or stainless steel. Then you can finish it off with floors of wood, cork, tile, stone, linoleum or vinyl.
If you're planning to upgrade your kitchen, we recommend you make functional improvements at the same time. The functional shortcomings of your kitchen, however, may be harder to spot. Are you always bumping into a counter, screaming for more storage space, piling papers on the bar or getting trapped by bad flow? If so, then your kitchen is lacking the functional design you and your family need.
To help improve the function of your kitchen, ask yourself some questions: Do you want a one-cook or two-cook kitchen? Do you want room for a table and chairs or a bar and stools? Do you want a bigger pantry and more cupboards? Do you want to improve circulation with an island rather than a peninsula? Do you need room for a desk, wet bar or laundry? Your answers will help an architect design your dream kitchen.
How much is it going to cost? In general, you are looking at spending $25,000 to $100,000 on a kitchen remodel, depending on the materials and appliances you decide to use.
Typically, cabinetry will take up the bulk of the budget. Other costs include labor, countertops, appliances, flooring, fixtures, faucets and lighting. Structural, plumbing and electrical costs will also affect the budget.
Don't forget to budget some of your resources for design fees. An architect should be involved if you are making structural changes, such as removing walls to open your kitchen, or relocating your kitchen altogether to fit in the larger design of a remodeling project.
Interior designers and cabinet designers can specialize in kitchen design and become certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. If you use the services of a professional, you will be charged either an hourly fee or a percentage of the total cost of the construction budget or the goods purchased (usually 10 percent to 15 percent).
As we have said before, the design and remodeling process takes time. So start planning now, and by this time next year you will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner in a beautiful, functional dream kitchen! As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.