Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

4 steps to a productive kitchen remodel

by Patricia Davis Brown
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

From hiring a contractor to designing and smoothly executing the plans, a kitchen remodel -- even if you're not completely replacing the cabinets -- requires cooperation from everyone, especially you. It can turn into a big project, and the process can be daunting if you don't have a handle on it from the get-go. So roll up your sleeves and get to work hiring professionals who can cooperate and communicate well with you and each other.

1. Find a professional

The first thing to do is find a professional to create a plan before you call in a general contractor. Without a comprehensive remodeling plan you risk miscommunication with your contractor from the start. The person you need to approach first is the one who draws up the plans and writes the specifications your contractor will use to execute your remodel.

The first member of your dream team should be one of the following:

  • Architect
  • Draftsperson
  • Kitchen designer
  • Interior designer

If you want to remove or alter a load-bearing wall, contact an architect to develop the plan and sign off on it. If your remodel is completely interior, you can use one of the other professionals.

2. Develop the plan

Whatever you are remodeling do not skip this step. Work with someone who can translate your ideas into a set of plans, draw them up and specify the materials you want used. Without these documents something could be left out, meaning in the end you might be hit with an expensive change order. You definitely don't want that.

By developing a plan first, you are less likely to leave out something really important, like the lighting in your new space, for example. Dissatisfaction with kitchen lighting after completing a remodel is a top complaint from homeowners. Work with a professional who is able to develop a good lighting plan.

3. Research trends

In the planning process your professional should be able to advise you on the latest trends and newest materials. Educate yourself. You don't want your product and design choices to be out of date before you even begin your remodel.

4. Assemble your team

The last step is to create your project team. You've heard the saying, "It takes a team," and it certainly does to do a remodel. Who are your team players? They are the person who develops the plans and specifications; the individual who advises you on the latest and greatest products; and the general contractor and all of the sub-contractors who bring it to fruition.

If you work with the right people and follow these steps, you can pull off your kitchen remodel with a minimum of misunderstanding and a maximum level of satisfaction.

 Before the kitchen remodel

Before the kitchen remodel

After the kitchen remodel

After the kitchen remodel

About the Author
Interior designer Patricia Davis Brown specializes in kitchen and bath renovations, and is the owner of Patricia Davis Brown Designs. Brown's work has garnered 15 national and several state awards and been recognized in numerous national publications over her 26 years in the design industry. In 2010, she took her mastery of space planning and design national by launching a virtual design company, ProfessionalKitcheandBathPlans.com and her online store PDBhomestore.com. She also blogs about all things design at www.digthisdesign.net.

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