Selecting the essentials for your kitchen remodel
Homeowners aren’t given a handbook. ‘What to do when’ during a remodel is completely subjective, really. But after years of evolution, an easier way of handling remodel-related matters has naturally emerged. Now, for your convenience, here is a proposed breakdown of how and when to choose fixtures and finishes during your kitchens design.
Contrary to common beliefs, designing a kitchen does not start with picking items like appliances, faucets, lighting, flooring, cabinet finishes or countertops. Well, not for the most part anyway. They should at least wait until you have a complete space plan, if for no other reason than to reduce headaches. Too many options at once may serve only to distract and confuse. There is no need to make every decision simultaneously. For example, you may desire a particular oven with a separate component, although it’s not at all right for your design. Just wait it out. Don’t commit to anything too early. You want to be free to choose and change you mind if something comes along that alters your attitude. Don’t be overly enthusiastic and never be afraid. You don’t want to be premature in purchases but you don’t want to wait too long, either. Even if you’re shy, this process is relatively short and you may never have to revisit it.
Previously I wrote of an “Idea Book”, a categorized collection of appealing kitchen images that you personally assemble. Over a short period of time it is revised to be tight and concise, reflecting what you best want for your kitchen. By showing your contractor this, he gets a better idea of what you hope to accomplish. This is a great tool, but the idea book should be put away until all preliminary plans are finished.
During the preliminary phase you will want to select your appliances and sinks, so you’ll want to record model numbers, manufacturer and sizes. This is important because the plans need to reflect the size specifications of them. For a stylistic consideration, be aware that stainless isn’t your only option. Vintage finishes and a variety of accents and enameled colors provide options that may establish a certain desired look for your kitchen. Finishing possibilities are abundant – don’t cheat yourself out of knowing everything that is at your disposal.
Also at this time, choose the amount and type of lighting fixtures you’ll need. The contractor won’t be able to provide estimates until the lighting plans are complete, it is important that he has all the necessary info. You may remain uncertain about some light styles, as long as you have determined exactly how many you need.
Focusing on resolving all lighting tasks before starting on the countertops may be a wise decision. There could be pendant lights over your island that a contractor will need to determine how many corresponding junction boxes will be needed. Such decisions need to be made before permit approvals, but more importantly, while the drywall is still open and preliminary electrical work is easily accommodated.
After, your designer may recommend a prep sink in addition to your main one. Now is the time to choose. Other last minute decisions should be made now, too. When you get to the point of final construction documents you need to be settled with your picks. You just move ahead, checking things off as you go. Just do it, don’t be apprehensive.
You may also look at the implementation of fixtures and finishes from a different perspective – each piece as a larger whole. Instead of picking woods, finishes, textures and colors separately, think of them as an overall canvas on which to be painted, in the artistic mindset of relating it all through layering, textures and colors. Soon a theme will emerge that is pleasing to the eye and – most rewardingly – all your own.
Obviously, it’s easy for someone to say they want a “plain white” kitchen, but it’s never so simple. There are dozens of shades of white to choose from, and when you work with them tastefully the result will exceed any conservative expectations. Sure, it’s a matter of simplicity; one could choose a single finish and wood as well. But when you learn to work with your options within that theme, a world of possibilities emerge.For instance, you could implement sections of decorative tile. But doing so tastefully may be a fine line to walk. Scale and proportion must be considered and your final ruling must be one you can live with. Tile is an important choice, and expensive to change once it’s up. It’s of little concern if you had done your due diligence by way of color and pattern studies and comparisons. Commence only when you are 100% sure of your choices.
Perhaps among the biggest challenges you’ll face is matching the stain color of the floor. Whether you’re working with the original floor, or an all new one, you shouldn’t expect a perfect match. And that’s ok, it’s normal. Stain tests are a common method used to get the shades to match as close as possible. But if you’re working with tile or stone flooring, try to pick those materials at the same time as your cabinets, backsplashes and countertops. The aesthetic relationship between them all is important. Done tastefully, your kitchen can appear to be the work of a master designer.
When the kitchen is under construction and there’s still old paint on the walls and the floors are covered, it’s not a good time to choose paint. It’s difficult to gauge an actual depiction. You walls should be primed white when you look at paint swatches. Pick the colors next to all of the materials, and get a sense of how they work with the floor as well.
For an eat-in kitchen, the selection of furniture is an equally important task of the design process. Bar stools, tables and chairs must be carefully selected to match the established décor. You may consider vintage pieces, and decorative items such as artwork or even decorative plate racks. It’s exciting work, see what inspires you. You’ll never know where a preliminary selection can lead – but when handled with care the best results most always fall into place naturally, creating a kitchen that is, in essence, a visual representation of your artistic process.