Dreaming of a new kitchen? In order to make your dreams a reality, consider ten common mistakes to avoid in designing and remodeling your kitchen to save you time, money and aggravation.
Over-customizing and inflexibility
Unless you have money to spare, remain flexible regarding materials and design for your new kitchen. For example, you’re vacationing in southern Italy and the beautiful tiles you find in the craftsman’s shop are perfect for your new dream kitchen. You can’t live without them, even though he has to chip the marble off the mountain by hand and each one takes three weeks to make, because they have fossilized leaves imprinted in them.
If you need two hundred tiles, stop dreaming and do the arithmetic. Three weeks, each one, two hundred tiles. Forget it. Buy everything he has on the shelf and leave the store. Use the fifteen you bring home in your suitcase as accents imbedded in the floor here and there, or in the tiling around the sink and keep them a beautiful memory.
Likewise, the German track lighting with special light bulbs which cast a delicate hue of light. Those light bulbs are so special and unique that they are only available in Germany!
Avoid difficult and over specialized items so that repairs and replacements don’t turn into logistical nightmares. All appliances, plumbing, electricity, and carpentry should repairable with no more then a few local phone calls.
Changing the Plans
Once work has begun, any change will cost you money even if materials are downgraded. This is because measurements have been calculated and materials ordered. Even a small change such as a two inch longer built in convection oven could mean that the hand cut granite counter which is already installed and ready, has to be pared down on one side which means you lose a customized finish.
Be warned by the plight of those who changed so much in quest of the perfect kitchen that they abandoned their budget in the middle and ended up without the funds to finish. Living for years with an unfinished kitchen is not a very appealing option.
Spending It All At Once – Over-Budgeting
Set a budget, then plan on spending 80% of your projected figure. Remember, no one ever pays less than the estimated amount; it always costs more. That 20% you held back from your budget will be used to cover the usual unforeseen circumstances which inevitably pop up such as minor changes, previously unperceived problems and other charges.
ImproveNet offers interactive estimators and project calculators to help you estimate how much your project will cost, how much material you’ll need, and what it could look like. http://www.improvenet.com/HomeOwner/ProjectTools/index.html
Using the Wrong General Contractor
The contractor you choose should be an expert in kitchens, not roofs. Talk to people that have used a contractor you are considering within the last three months. Ask to see the work they did. Ask the right questions: Was he within his estimate? Did he finish on time? Did they keep the job clean and did they tidy up nicely afterwards? Were his workers polite, neat, clean, and on time? Are there any complaints? A little time spent on researching your contractor can save you a lot of headaches later.
Inaccuracies in Measurement
This shouldn’t be your problem at all, but frequently this common mistake is passed on to the customer’s wallet. Before you sign a contract, insist that the contractor take responsibility for any inaccuracies in measurement or factory flaws which often occur. Don’t settle for almost fits or good enough. They have to promise and deliver a finished result according to the specifications that were agreed on.
Throwing Dollars Out the Window
Don’t pay for a renovation in advance. Establish a payment plan with the majority of the balance paid after the work is completed. Evaluating the work as it progresses and testing the finished product is a great incentive for the contractor to please the customer.
Handing Over the Design of Your Kitchen to a Designer
Your new kitchen should reflect your taste, not the designers. Yes, the pink and yellow appliances are very stylish, and happy but maybe stainless steel or white is what you prefer. You are the best judge. Don’t let anyone convince you that what they want is what you need. Work with your designer to achieve the practical tasteful space that fits your needs and lifestyle. Ask to see a virtual model of the plans and stay involved throughout the design process.
Going It Alone
Ask your friends and neighbors about their renovations – what they like, what they don’t like. Solicit opinions from people you trust before and during the job. Ask the members of your family for ideas and suggestions about how to best utilize the workable space.
Investing Too Much
Yes it is your dream kitchen but practically speaking, even the most expensive kitchen renovations should not cost more than 20% of the current market value of your home. The average kitchen renovation adds only about 8% to market value. If you ever want to sell your home, an appealing kitchen is a big plus, but don’t throw all your money into it expecting an investment return.
And on the other hand, most experts agree that kitchen renovation done well is worth at least 5% of the value of your home. Under-spending may reflect in market value.
Indulging The Latest Fads
Resist the temptation to choose trendy designs which will make you queasy after you get over the pizzazz. Remember your kitchen is the heart of your home. Make wise choices with an eye on livability. The best strategy is practical, classic, timeless. We’ve all seen kitchens designed in the latest fashion. Nothing becomes as outmoded as yesterday’s modern look. Avocado green cabinets anyone? Mosaic daisies tiled into the walls? Also try to resist flamboyant displays of self expression. In the end, you will live happily ever after!