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What to Avoid When Remodeling your Kitchen- The HOA

Thanks for stopping by. This is a blog primarily about remodeling – but in the course of the discussions here, we’ll touch on virtually all aspects of renovating existing buildings – both residential and commercial- as well as many that can apply to new construction. First up, the kitchen:

I’m going to start with something almost every homeowner contemplates at one time or another –improving your kitchen experience. We’ll discuss other areas as we go down the road, but I’ll begin with that most essential part of our homes…

Kitchen Remodeling & Some Things to Avoid:

You’ve looked at your kitchen and decided it’s time for an upgrade. You thought about just replacing the cabinet doors, and while that would make a difference in the way it looks, not so much in the way it functions. And you’re working in a space that requires you to jump through hoops just to prepare a decent meal…and because you like to cook (or maybe it’s just that when you do you want things to go smoothly) you’re ready for your space to look and feel good. And besides, there’re lots of new ways to prepare food creatively while having fun… so you’re interested.

But… how to begin? Let’s talk about a few things to stay away from. The first thing to avoid doing is hiring or making a binding commitment to a contractor, designer or any professional before giving some serious thought to what you really want to accomplish. A good place to start is by doing some research.

Consider what you want to do in your space – how you want it to function. You might decide you need
more room – that it’s just too cramped to feel inviting, and no place should be more inviting than the
kitchen. Or, that the space is OK, but things need to be rearranged to be more efficient and taking
advantage of innovative storage and cooking methods. If you are having difficulty imagining what you
want, ask a friend, look at some magazines, or do some research on the internet to get some ideas. Keep
them in a binder, pin them to a Pinterest board, start a new idea book on Houzz, or write your ideas
down – but do so before you hire an expert.

Now you’ve decided the direction you want to take your project…so what’s the next step? Now it’s time
to talk to a designer or architect. But avoid making a bad decision by hiring a designer as a contractor, or even putting an architect in that role. It’s simply not a good idea to have the actual work performed by the designer or architect – the possibility for overpaying for your job is just too great – get some separation.

There are design-build firms that handle both of those aspects of projects, and they can operate well and simplify the process. But if you use such a company, it would be a good idea to hire an outside consultant to look after your interests. In my experience, although you should certainly expect good information from your designer and/or contractor, there is potential for a conflict of interest because designers and more especially contractors have an agenda that doesn’t generally base decisions on what works best for you. So, it really benefits homeowners to have an unbiased party involved in the project, even minimally. While it’s tempting for simplicity’s sake – to let one entity handle everything is not prudent.

So now you’re at the point where you’ve gotten some good advice and have put a bit of separation between the different professionals working for you. You have developed a plan of action and started the project. The next thing to avoid is either too much, or not enough, involvement with your project.

It’s always good to monitor and contribute input to the work, as being involved is helpful in having a successful outcome. But it’s also wise to allow the professionals you’ve hired to do their jobs. The ability to balance these two functions will be an immensely important asset to the success of your efforts and ultimately to the value of your investment.

If you follow my advice on these three aspects of remodeling your kitchen, your job will run more smoothly and you’ll have an improved result, especially with the help of an owner’s advocate. In future posts I’ll talk about some of the nuts and bolts of kitchen remodeling as well as take a look at the overall picture. Thanks for visiting and happy building!

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