Q: How should I remodel my kitchen in an open floor plan?
A: You need to consider the whole space as one. If you update the kitchen only and it looks beautiful but you’ve got old furniture within sight, it’s not going to look like the money you’ve just spent. When you hire a remodeler, they will do as you ask – remodel the kitchen — but as an interior designer, I would advise you to consider the surrounding rooms too. If you do that, you’ll get it right.
Q: How can I create a timeless kitchen?
A: By not doing the latest trend. Think of when people did pickled cabinets in the ’90s. Cabinets are permanent, and a finish like that is difficult to erase. White cabinets are huge right now, but they will lose popularity. I like a mixture of a stained island with painted cabinets — that will have more longevity. Choose finishes that will last. Styles come and go, but if your kitchen looks exactly like the trends today, it will be out of style in a number of years. Your kitchen should be like a blue blazer, it should stand the test of time.
Q: Is it a good investment to reface cabinets?
A: If you’re happy with the configuration of your kitchen, and the insides of your cabinets are still in good condition, you could consider refacing. However, if your cabinets look used and worn on inside, it’s going to look like you put a Band-Aid on the problem. Most cabinets are press board and sometimes not worth the value to reface. Painting is a lot less expensive. You can also paint inside your cabinets, just take everything out and spray. If done correctly, this technique can add many years to the life of your cabinets and costs substantially less money.
Q: What are some small ways I can make my kitchen unique?
A: A backsplash is a great place for showing your personality, and it can be changed easily enough. If you do something that’s not overly stated, you can come back in five years and do something new.
Hardware is a big deal. You can create so many different styles and make your cabinets look like pieces of furniture.
The same goes for plumbing fixtures. You can get a unique look from traditional to contemporary in style and finish. An important point: Make sure you get your fixtures from a reputable plumbing supplier and make sure they have metal on the inside. You might find the same look from big box stores, but they probably have plastic parts and calcium will deteriorate them in a few years.
Q: What do you think about quartz countertops?
A: I love how practical they are. There’s little care involved and they still look great. They do scratch a little even though it’s said they don’t, but you can use 409 on them and they’re practically indestructible.
I love granite, too, for its beauty. No quartz will ever have that. Granite will never be out of style, but it has to be sealed and cared for.
Q: How should I budget for a kitchen remodel or redesign?
A: Rob a bank like Bonnie and Clyde! It’s shocking how expensive it really is. Even as a designer who does kitchens all the time, I’m always surprised at what it costs. There is a way to budget, though. If you talk to me ahead of time and we make a plan, we can do it in phases or come up with the right range. There are so many different ways to update a kitchen. Sometimes we can update a kitchen cosmetically with a new backsplash and cabinet color. But if everything is wrong and the budget is there, you just start all over.
At a minimum, you’ll need $20,000. Start the tab by calculating appliances: a gas cooktop is $1,200; running the gas line is $500-$1,000, etc. Will you accept builder-grade cabinets? Do you have to have granite countertops? Evaluate what you need. What’s OK and what isn’t? How long are you’re going to live there? Don’t skimp on quality work, either. If paint isn’t prepped properly, it’s going to strip in six months. Because of the amount of activity that goes on in that space, there’s no inexpensive way to do it.
Q: How can I make sure my redesigned kitchen will have the best resale value?
A: That’s a hard question. If you’re going to invest, I wouldn’t be worrying about resale value; you should do what you truly love. If you’ll only be in the home five years, you don’t want to spend a lot. In that case, do the minimal that will make you happy and show the best when you go to sell: appliances, counters, backsplash and possibly a new finish on the cabinets. But if you plan to stay in your home awhile, make the investment for yourself.
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