Expert advice for kitchen reno

Expert advice for kitchen reno

Jason and Alyssa just bought their forever home, a two-story built in 1980 that was in need of a facelift. They knew they needed an expert to help navigate their kitchen renovation adventure.

One option is to hire a registered interior designer, but you can also work directly with the cabinet manufacturer or select Co-op Home Centres that have a kitchen design expert. Working with a professional helps you to determine requirements and design the floor plan and elements of your kitchen. Jason and Alyssa knew they were purchasing cabinets from Nu-Fab Building Products, so were able to work directly with the company’s in-house design specialist.

The couple provided their designer with an original blueprint of the house. If you don’t have blueprints, you can begin with some preliminary measurements for walls, doors and windows.

A designer will start by talking about the space, including kitchen layout, windows, lighting, traffic flow, islands, plumbing, appliances and special features like pantries. He or she will want to know how you plan to use the space (everyday use versus entertaining), how many cooks in the kitchen (correct answer: too many) and cooking methods (how you move between stations).

Then it’s time to make some product selections, which can become an overwhelming process even with a designer. Work with the designer to select: door style and finish, hardware, crown moulding, drawer options, soft close features, pullouts and countertops. The designer will explain the benefits or drawbacks of each product as well as pricing differences.

By the time you are done the first meeting, the designer has collected a lot of information and decisions. He or she will take this information and space dimensions to start developing cabinet placements and scaled drawings, including floor plans, elevations and 3-D line renderings. In a follow-up meeting, you will review these plans and product selections to ensure you’re comfortable with the initial choices. If any revisions are needed, they will be completed before signing off and placing a deposit. 

After you have approved the design and product selections, the manufacturing of your cabinets begins, which can take a number of weeks. In the time between manufacturing and installation, you need to prepare the space.

Jason and Alyssa demolished the existing kitchen, including flooring. They had worked with the designer to determine that a wall between the kitchen and formal dining room would be removed and a smaller window would be installed in the dining room to accommodate cabinets. They adjusted plumbing, added electrical, added pot lighting, prepared the floor surface, drywalled and primed walls.

When the process starts, the installer assembles a 3-D puzzle based off of design drawings. Each cabinet is unpacked then placed or hung, end-gable panels attached, doors hung, crown moulding installed, hardware attached and toe kicks placed. Then the installer makes final adjustments to the doors and drawers to ensure they are not rubbing or bumping into each other. It’s detailed work that must be exact to have the optimal finished look.

Once your cabinets are installed, you’re not quite ready for the first dinner party. You will still need to finish the space around the cabinets, including: flooring, painting, countertops, backsplash, appliances and plumbing fixtures. Then you can take your kitchen for a test drive and see how it runs.

Just like Jason and Alyssa, putting the thought and detail into the design process of your kitchen will make for a better kitchen that will last the test of time.

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