Are you tired of that kitchen countertop that has seen better days, the cupboards that could be in the running for inclusion into the Smithsonian, or that stove with its one working burner? How about that bathroom with its drippy faucet, or the tub that is just a bit small for that fully relaxing experience? If so, maybe a do-over is in your future. With that in mind, we asked some local remodelers/builders to give us their words of wisdom on just how we can make sure those kitchen and bath remodeling projects go off without a hitch.
Tip No. 1: Plan ahead.
“It is important to fully understand the vision of the desired outcome of the client,” says Tim Iverson, president of Iverson Homes. With today’s technology and product options available to the consumer, a 3-D rendering of the space and detailed specifications of the desired product might be the way to go.
Tip No. 2: Communication is key.
Ask a lot of questions up front and along the way so you don’t get caught off guard and have to do things twice, says David Haataja, president of Fine Design Contracting Inc. Remodeling is a whole different ballgame than new construction, and everyone needs to be on the same page.
Tip No. 3: Consider the view—from every angle.
Consider the view looking out from the kitchen to the outside and adjoining rooms and also looking in to the kitchen from adjoining spaces, says Val Stuessi, certified kitchen designer at Crystal Kitchen Center. On the inside, the kitchen should look compatible when looking in from adjacent rooms—dining, living, family rooms or the foyer. Likewise, when looking out of the kitchen, appropriate style and colors are a factor to consider.
Regarding outside views, if the home is on a lake, wetlands, woods or gardens, that might be the direction you want to face while sitting at an island or snack bar, or to look at while at the sink. Or, if the neighbor’s house is very close, you might want to orient the plan away from that view.
Tip No. 4: How will your space be used?
“I tell customers to really think about how they are going to use their kitchen,” says Vladimir Shafhkin, co-owner of Cabinets for Everyone. Think about the triangle—the refrigerator, stove, and sink—and make sure they are in the most convenient spots. Consider adding in pullout cabinets, lazy Susans, spice racks, things that make everything easier to access. It might cost a bit more, but you’re going to have them for 15 to 20 years, so you will get your money’s worth.
Tip No. 5: Details, details, details!
Even the smallest, simplest projects have a ton of minute details that if overlooked can lead to added time, expense and aggravation, says Tarry Logsdon, showroom manager with RBC Tile & Stone. From the type of thinset to be used to how to finish an exposed edge or when to seal a natural stone, many projects seem easy enough to do on your own, but it’s the questions you might not know to ask that can cause the most headaches.
Tip No. 6: Remain open-minded and flexible.
Invariably there will be things you will see along the way—pictures in magazines, visits to friends’ homes—that will inspire you and bring up new ideas for your remodel, and that’s completely fine, says Gary Grimms, owner of Artisan Design Build Inc. Only 10 percent of projects actually wind up looking like you had imagined in the beginning, but in the end they always wind up better if you are open to change.