With the wind in their hair and excitement at their backs, most folks will naturally want to hit a kitchen head-on when buying a new home; get into the remodel portion immediately. And while it is indeedmuch nicer to avoid the dust, grudge and messiness of renovations by doing things before move in, it isn’t always the most efficient from a financial or practical perspective. Case in point, my own recent kitchen redo. Based on experience, when we bought our home, we used the time prior to move in to renovate the house as a whole. We updated and upgraded the things that were deal breakers and what we knew would be once-and-for-alls (which mind you, meant we pretty much touched every space in the house). And while we did give the kitchen a face-lift back then, it was a quick and low cost one, simply because we knew it would be smarter to live with things first and see what we liked and what we did not care for.
Fast forward some years and our wait paid off. We knew we loved the original footprint, but hated the cabinets. We understood how to set it up to make it a great entertaining space, and could now easily mark where we would shift things to create easier flow. Our lists of priorities for what we do in the kitchen more easily materialized, leaving us with a pretty quick short list of must-haves in the new space.
So what did we do? We added lots and lots of storage, all the while editing things down. For example, by taking away one wall of cabinets, we immediately brought the room in line with the rest of the home’s architecture. We opened up pass-throughs and increased height. We moved the cook top away from the central island to leave me in heaven at all times – now I can prep with tons of space and the kids can play ‘chopped’ in teams if need be. We updated lighting, and made careful but luxurious choices on materials. Our selections were classic and meant to be loved forever. As usual, I played with pattern and pushed boundaries on texture, but on this one, I kept the palette lighter and more cleansed if you will.
One could argue, get it all done right the first time, but as a designer I know that many people move into a house not yet knowing what they want, and knee-jerk at things which most often results in something much more costly. Why not use, try out and acquire an analysis of what and where your priorities are. You’ll feel more in control of what is typically a large project and feel more accomplished in the result.
Kitchens are the biggest and the most costly endeavor you’ll undertake in a home. Take your time and see where you want to place emphasis. You’ll end up with a much more educated approach and likely save money and happiness in doing so.