6 Steps to Planning a Dream Kitchen
It’s been about a year since we started our kitchen renovation. Sadly, it’s not completely done yet! We do move a little slow. I’m going to blame this one on how crazy work has been for the past year. Hopefully, with some quiet weekends ahead, we’ll be able to put the finishing touches on it, so we can share the big reveal. Fortunately, most of the hard work is done, We’ve had a few kitchen parties already, so some of you have had a sneak peek. I thought this may be a good time to show you some of the tips and tricks I used when planning my renovation.
Set your budget:
We didn’t set an overall project budget, we were thinking around the $15,000 mark, but we knew focused more on what we wanted to spend on major components of the kitchen. Our plan was to keep cabinets under $7000, and we were going to handle the installation on our own (and with the help of a friend). We made plans to purchase our appliances around Boxing week, so we could take advantage of sales, coming in at around $3500 and countertops we wanted to keep under $4000, we had a friend get us a great deal on the countertop and he even offered to install it for us.
What we hadn’t budgeted for were all of the incidentals and finishes that we were going to need. Backsplash tile, plumbing, electrical and lighting and a few miscellaneous cabinet storage items added up.
All things considered, we are a bit closer to the $20,000 mark, but renovating the whole main floor at the same time has pulled in some expenses in other areas as well.
Since your kitchen is one of the most used spaces in your home, you need to make sure you have the space and plan to accommodate the odds and ends you use on a regular basis. There’s nothing worse than having to dig through basement storage for the rolling pin that doesn’t fit in your drawers. In the picture of our kitchen above, you can just feel how small it is, and there really wasn't much space. I lost the function of the space above the stove, due to venting and above the fridge, because the cabinet was so hard to access. We wanted to plan for this space and make sure that things like blenders and slow cookers that we had tucked away up here were considered.
I made a list of everything we had in our kitchen to store. We had a small kitchen before, so I knew there were a few things that I wanted to build a home for. I catalogued things like baking sheets, small appliances, plastic lunch containers, mixing bowls, etc. We went back to this list once we had our full plan so I could map out where things would go, and what we may not have had space for.
Like I’ve said in some of my other posts. I’m obsessed with Pinterest, looking at real estate listings, touring model homes, and visiting different retailers to see what may inspire me. From hand crafted cabinetry, to unusual storage solutions, to built in wine racks. I was so inspired to start crafting our kitchen! I knew exactly what I thought I wanted when I went in to meet with a designer, and their creativity really helped me to turn my dream kitchen into a reality. I've saved over 200 pins on my Kitchen board on Pinterest. You can see them here for some inspiration of your own! Check out Houzz and you can see real projects from real people and contractors. Some of the most unique kitchens I’ve ever seen have been shared on Houzz, with custom features, unconventional floor plans, and most creatively, colour! It really made me wish I was going with something a little less white, and a bit more creative, but we knew if we were planning to flip our place (ever) we needed to play it a bit safer.
Create a wish list:
Having worked with a number of kitchen cabinet manufacturers, buyers and designers over the past year, there are a few things I’ve learned about planning a kitchen renovation. People are worried about buyer’s remorse when it comes to planning their kitchen; people often build their kitchen and wish they would have added other features. This is where the wish list comes in handy. Some of these features really don’t add a whole lot to the price of the reno, but they may need to be done before you start.
I broke my wish list down into two columns: the “must haves” and the “want to haves”. In the must-have column, we added things like garbage storage, I didn’t want a visible garbage can, I wanted everything clean and in place. Secondly, we added storage for baking sheets, cutting boards, muffin tins and all those awkward to store items. I wanted every inch to serve a purpose.
We added a breakfast bar and cabinets that go right to the ceiling to finish off the list. As far as the things I wanted to have, we looked at a built in microwave, toe-kick drawers and glass doors.
As you all know, I’m a big box retail marketer, so when it came to planning my kitchen I visited the big three. Ikea, Lowe’s and Home Depot. I also went into a few independent retailers, but with a small budget, going 100% custom was not going to work. I also liked that they don’t work off commission, so I felt like every penny I spent was going into my cabinets, not commission. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a good kitchen designer, it truly is an art, but the small budget really didn’t have the wiggle room to spend any more than what we need to spend. I found the designers that I met with were great at taking my ideas and putting them on paper, they also were able to show me some ideas I never really thought about.
Sit on it:
Every time I turned around I changed my mind on the finishes, the layout and the locations of each of our appliances. Because the expense is so large, just make sure you consider your options and think about your options.
Take the time to think outside the box. Just because your cabinets were on one side of the kitchen to begin with, it doesn't mean you have to leave them there! Take some time to ponder what the best layout is for you, think about your options and how easy it may be to move around things like plumbing and electrical.
If you're planning a kitchen reno of your own and looking for some creative ways to change up the layout, send me an email here. I love planning and getting a little crazy!