The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s one of the busiest and most used spaces in a house. But if your space doesn’t function optimally, it can be a challenge to cook for your family or entertain for the holidays. A major kitchen remodel is a complex process and if you’re discussing a potential renovation, there are several important considerations to assess before you call a Design-Build contractor.

Keep in mind that there are significant differences between a partial renovation and a major remodel. Partial renovations generally consist of cosmetic changes, whereas major remodels involve taking the room down to the studs and starting from scratch. This article focuses on major remodels and the unique considerations involved.

Understand why you want a kitchen remodel

Before you go any further, take time to understand why you want to pursue a kitchen remodel. This goes beyond the style of your cabinets or the type of counter tops you want. Your reasons for pursuing a kitchen remodel will feed into major design decisions, your project budget and the Design-Build contractor you select.

Are you planning to do more entertaining? Are you looking to improve how the space functions because you love to cook? Or are you in your forever home and you want a space you can age into?

In order to have a home renovation that truly meets your needs, you must be clear on your goals. Write them down and share them with your contractor during your initial conversations. Completing this step will ensure your new kitchen has the features you are hoping for.

Understand what you want from your remodel

When you have a clearer understanding of why you want to pursue a kitchen remodel, you’ll be able to explore what you want from the space. Define and prioritize what’s important to you. You should consider items such as:

  • Do you want more counter space? Is an island a must-have feature?
  • Do you want more storage or pantry space?
  • Do you want special features such as a pot filler?
  • Do you have strong preferences when it comes to flooring?
  • Do you want to incorporate special appliances such as a warming draw or a built-in coffee machine?
  • Do you want to address ventilation issues?
  • Are you open to removing walls and/or reconfiguring adjacent rooms as part of the remodel?

Equally important is a list of what you don’t want. For example, some homeowners want to avoid tile flooring or a specific type of cooking surface.

While homeowners are encouraged to think deeply about their wants and needs, they should avoid the temptation to design the space themselves, as they tend to have a limited view of what can and can’t be achieved. Design-Build contractors can explain what’s feasible and will have ideas that homeowners have never considered. Once you commit to a complete remodel, it’s amazing what can be accomplished! Document your wants and be prepared to share them with your contractor during the initial conversations.

Educate yourself on kitchen remodel timelines

Kitchen remodel timelines from planning to a final walk-through are probably longer than you would expect. TV shows often give homeowners an unrealistic expectation of what’s possible, and most remodeling contractors don’t use a predictable or accurate planning process, so homeowners are unsure when a project will be complete.

We have a full article on planning and scheduling construction projects for success. Here are a few key takeaways:

  • The design and planning phase typically ranges from one to three months, depending on the size and scope of the project. These phases are critical to accurately capture your vision and translate it into a realistic construction plan that can be executed by professional tradesmen.
  • The pre-construction phase can range from two to six months. Project size and scope play a factor, as does the production calendar of your contractor. This work includes tasks such as finalizing drawings and submitting them to the building department, creating a detailed construction schedule, coordinating various trade contractors, helping clients finalize fixture and finish selections, placing material orders and scheduling deliveries.
  • The construction phase can range from two to six months depending on project size and scope. During this phase you’ll often communicate with a project manager or lead carpenter who is responsible for day-to-day management of the project..

If you have decided you want to remodel your kitchen before a big holiday or the arrival of a new baby, be mindful of total time it will take to complete a project of this size and magnitude.

Understand how to budget for a remodeling project

Most homeowners begin the renovation process by guessing at a budget and calling contractors to ask for quotes. We have a full article on why this approach is a less than ideal way to plan and budget for a major home renovation.

Homeowners often seek a dollar amount early in the conversation. Contractors often find it challenging to collect enough information to provide a confident proposal, let alone perform all the design and planning work necessary to provide a true written proposal.

If you want to truly understand the cost of your renovation, first you invest in design. Design work outlines clear and complete specifications for the work to be done. Once a design is complete, then the work on the quote can begin. For kitchens, bathrooms and other major renovations, it takes anywhere from several hours to several days of focused effort to prepare a reliable and accurate quote.

Established and professional companies are compensated for their design time and expertise. This is a wise investment to ensure that your project will be built to precise standards, while remaining on schedule and on budget.

Educate yourself on the options

You may have a grand vision of the end result, but a vague understanding of the many activities that must take place along the way.

This is why the planning phase is so important. Partnering with a Design-Build contractor gives you the opportunity to explore various options and identify potential limitations. Your Design-Build contractor will place an emphasis on functional space planning and refine potential designs based on your feedback. Remember that most homeowners are not equipped to perform this work themselves.

This is also an opportunity to understand how disruptive the project will be – and it may not be as disruptive as you think. Your contractor brings years of experience and many successfully completed kitchen remodels. Homeowners can use this knowledge to make educated decisions on what’s best for their home.

Next Steps: Finding a Design-Build Contractor

Large scale, custom home renovations take a lot of planning and input from several experts. Design-Build contracting companies provide a robust range of in-house or contracted services that include interior design, architectural planning and engineering. This approach simplifies a project for the homeowner, giving them one point of contact during a renovation.

As a homeowner, you’ll need to have conversations with several design-build contractors to further understand their background and what they bring to the table

Interested in discussing your upcoming renovation project? Contact Advance Design and Remodel to request a consultation.