Tuesday Tips: Kitchen Remodeling
Kitchens are one of those rooms in the house that we either love or hate. People who love their kitchens probably had them recently renovated and those of us who hate ours need a serious facelift. I'm probably in the second category, considering my kitchen is way too small for a family of four. But the thought of taking on a major kitchen renovation can be daunting to even the gutsiest homeowner. So I sought the help of a designer and two local kitchen experts for tips on saving money -- and headaches -- when renovating your kitchen:
Tip #1: You know it's time to remodel your kitchen if you moved in when Reagan was in office and you were watching the Iran-Contra Affair on television. A kitchen needs a good update every 15 to 20 years.
Tip #2: If you're doing a kitchen renovation with your spouse or partner, both of you should be at the planning meeting. You'll each pick up on different ideas from the designer, giving you something to argue about for the evening.
Tip #3: Don't be too wacky with the design, even if you think bright red appliances seem like a really great idea. "I try to steer people to classic and elegant," says Peggy White Golden, a principal at Golden Interiors Inc., an interior design firm in Fairfax Station. "One day you may want to sell this house."
Tip #4: You may think you'll be saving money by re-doing your kitchen in pieces, taking on the cabinets one year and then the countertops another year. But experts say a kitchen should never be done in pieces. "If you start by doing just the floors and then later on remove the cabinets, then the floor may not be big enough to replace the dimensions of the cabinets," says Dana Snyder, a designer with Alexandria Kitchen & Bath Studio.
Tip #5: If your family eats, lives and sleeps in the kitchen, consider getting hardwood or tile floors, adds Snyder. But keep in mind that tile can be hard on your back and legs if you do a lot of standing in the kitchen. And who doesn't these days? Also, wood has the potential to get banged up if you have pets. But... "if something really bad happens to the wood, you can sand it down and stain it again," Golden points out.
Tip #6: When picking out cabinets and drawers, look for how heavy the wood feels as you open and close the cabinet doors and drawers. "The heavier the drawer, then the heavier the hardware and the better the quality," Snyder says.
Tip #7: Get as many drawers as possible. You never know if one day you'll be selling your house to a baby boomer. Word on the street is that they want easy-to-reach storage. Drawers tend to be easier to get to rather than overhead cabinets or cabinets positioned at knee level, Golden says.
Tip #8: Granite countertops have become popular in the last few years but granite is also a high-maintenance material. A sealer needs to be sprayed on it every three to six months. Snyder says quartz might be a better option.
Tip #9: It may be tempting to try moving your fridge to another side of the kitchen but consider leaving appliances and sinks where they currently are. Moving around pipes and adding gas lines can be a major expense to a kitchen remodeling project.
Tip #10: If you plan to hire your own installer, make sure that person is licensed and can offer references. "We're in a slow market and there's a lot of people who've been laid off from construction jobs," said Bob Clements, president of Bath & Kitchen Creations in Sterling. "You don't want to hire someone who all of a sudden then gets hired back at their construction job." Certified designers and installers can be found at the National Kitchen & Bath Association.
Good places to get ideas:
What have you learned from a kitchen remodeling project? Do you have big dreams for your kitchen? Post a comment and tell me about it.
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