Tue. May 17th, 2022

A renovator can benefit from her achievements and mistakes by sharing her story and before and after photos of her kitchen.

After years of imagining it, I finally rebuilt my kitchen this spring. Since this was my first restoration job, I put on a reporter’s hat and did a fair bit of research interviewing everyone I could think of about their kitchen repair experience. It took some hard work to learn but in the end I ended up with a dishwasher-garbage-sink tripod (a life-changing thing!), a big island, a heated tiled floor (I cried with joy every morning I walked on it).

Any restoration budget approach should include a mix of expensive and cheap products, like me. For example, I was able to upgrade to a six-burner restaurant quality range by solving it with a basic refrigerator and dishwasher, and opted for artificial quartz over real marble to go with the modern matte black cabinetry.

When it comes to the makeup itself, keep in mind that washing dishes in the tub can quickly get old and stressful and the whole thing will cost more and take more time than expected. Some things I’ve learned from my experience are:


Get expert design assistance.
Kitchen designers will know tactics you don’t know, so ask about their fees. Do you have a markup for the design and everything you buy and can order to save money? (Ask the contractor the same question.) Also, look for design assistance in unexpected places. After three design mistakes, I found out that Riverhead Building Supply in East Hampton, New York has a kitchen design center and the design is free. Fantastic (thanks, Cori Schramm!). I ordered them a mid-priced semi-custom cabinetry and counter tops and I was able to buy everything else (often on sale) alone at other stores. The expert will probably make suggestions you never thought of. E.g, copper range hoodAnd I absolutely loved the idea.

Accept the fact that living without a kitchen would be extremely uncomfortable.
Every morning I sat under the stairs in the living room, brewing and pouring coffee, lamenting the lack of a kitchen. However, for the most accurate measurements of the new kitchen, the old kitchen must be demolished in advance. “We’re making cabinets to fit the space,” explains California-based designer Tim Clark. “We want to be able to get the most out of every inch, figure out where the hidden pipe is and get rid of it, and find and fix unexpected problems early on,” he said.

Decide on appliances and sinks early.
Home appliances have a huge impact on design. When planning, don’t simply measure the width. Check the depth and allow circulation around the door openings, especially the sides of the refrigerator, which may require up to 3 inches of space to fully open the interior drawers. Also, don’t skimp on ventilation. Many overlook ventilation requirements or underestimate the intensity required. Because sinks are just as important as appliances, it’s a good idea to find them as soon as possible.

My large undermount Franke 60-40 split stainless steel, an important choice in the early stages, forced the dishwasher to be moved from its original location. Find an appliance retailer where you can purchase in advance. However, since appliances are the last thing to be installed, keep them until you are ready to install them.


Make great design decisions only once.
Give your kitchen a character, but don’t make it a multi-spotlight circus. My main draw was a French Mediterranean style cement tile floor. So I went with a simple cabinet and countertop option and a white tile backsplash. This is especially important in compact places.

Use tiles to make dry runs.
My expensive tiled floors were causing me a lot of trouble. I was given a sample I liked, but when I pulled out the large container of the entire purchase, there were only a few items that were identical to the chalky sample. (I discovered after the incident that fabric-like tiles have dye lots and color variations.) If you have the same problem, Clark said. “Bad things can be hidden under cabinets or mixed together so that there are no lines of different shades if the tiles are different.”

Consider cleaning.
The amount of time you spend cleaning later will be influenced by your design decisions. Be careful of things that will get dirty. For example, the open shelves surrounding the scope look great, but if oil splashes, the items placed on it need to be cleaned frequently. To prevent water from staining the grout, put a silicone line over the seam between the counter and the backsplash behind the sink (make sure to match the color of the grout). Don’t forget to plan a place to put your trash and recyclables. Garbage must have access to the staging area and sink.

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