Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Elizabeth Gets a New Kitchen

Sounds like the title of a kids book doesn't it? Well, it's no fairytale. Elizabeth and Ian can quit dreaming and finally start to plan their new kitchen.

Some of you have read this blog long enough know that Elizabeth is my cousin who along with her family live a few miles outside of Boston proper. Elizabeth owns That's Neat! Organizing. She and I write about organizing and last year we collaborated on our 2011 calendar project.

Not long after their daughter Paige was born, they soon realized they were eventually going to need more space than their small duplex had. A wonderful but needs-a-lot-of-work, new-old-home with a very inefficient kitchen was purchased. After several years of planning, scrimping and saving, they're ready to undertake a serious kitchen update.

The above "before" pictures show the current kitchen, with old vinyl flooring, out-dated appliances, NO counter space, inefficient lighting, seating and heating, and LOTS of wasted room. Honestly, Elizabeth has been more than just a little patient, don't you think?

About a year ago, she asked if I'd help her plan and design the project. When we finally got started, Elizabeth confessed she had no idea where to start. I won't say I was surprised, quite the contrary. This is often the case when remodeling, but especially true with a kitchen or bath. I gave her a to-do list that would help her and I to eventually design the kitchen of her dreams.

Today I thought I'd begin to share the process of organizing a kitchen remodeling project in hopes that it might help you too.

My number one suggestion? Start with a "Good/Better/Best" list.

First, list all of the things that would be good (and essential), in your new kitchen. This list should include appliances, plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, storage, counter tops, lighting, flooring, tile (backsplash) and hardware. Think "the basics".

Next, add to the list the things that would make the kitchen an even better space. Perhaps it might include higher end appliances and cabinetry? Double ovens? A warming drawer? Maybe two sinks and an island? A walk-in pantry? You get the picture.

Finally, create a third category that includes your pie-in-the-sky, over-the-top, if-you-had-the-resources-to-have-whatever-you-want list. This might include structural changes like moving walls, windows and doors, top-of-the-line appliances and cabinetry. Would an addition make sense?

The purpose of going through this process will help make you aware of what you simply must have, what would be nice to have, and if you can swing it, would be your ideal kitchen.

Most importantly though, this will begin to help you create your budget, because to do any project, especially a kitchen, you must have a budget in mind. And, it's going to be one of the first few questions any contractor is going to ask you!

I hope you'll check back later this week where I'll give you more tips on how to prioritize and organize a kitchen remodel. In the coming months, I'll share updates on Elizabeth's entire project from beginning to end.

In the meantime, if you're thinking about a remodeling project, I'd love to hear all about your plans.

1 comment:

  1. We had a kitchen that looked similar to this one two houses ago. Your advice of how to approach this with your good/better/best list is brilliant. I was so overwhelmed with teenagers and life at the time, that any progress towards improving that space never happened. I look forward to seeing future follow-ups on this kitchen. I seem to never tire of before and afters!