Kitchen Improvements – A Puzzle Solved

I know from counseling couples that remodeling can be stressful. Specially the kitchen. A couple has to balance taste, cost and functionality and do it by choosing from different views, designs and options. Then there are friends, relatives, other homes the couple has seen, guide books, internet, TV shows…..the availability of options is mind boggling. No wonder a lot of couples end up stressed, conflicted, adversarial and utterly confused.Here are some basic rules to avoid all that.1. Start with a base design and modify it as you decide on options, spacing etc. At no time should the design reflect anything other than your style and personality; add to it but make sure, that addition reflects your style and your taste. Listen to your friends, designers, experts, neighbors, relatives—but plan should reflect you and your spouse. For example, stay away from top of the line over-priced appliances and gadgets—expert s will tell you it increases “resale” value. That is inaccurate and I am talking from experience of owning and selling a number of homes. What sells a kitchen is its access and design—not the furnishings and appliances. Yes, they should be elegant and not look cheap and short-lived but no need to pay a huge premium for some European or designer name. It is doubtful it can mask a badly designed kitchen so that is the beginning and end of your quest. If you ignore it, you will regret it and in the meantime, you will have spent a lot of money and not necessarily made your kitchen accessible, friendly and warm or added any real value.2. Settle the model between you as a couple. You are the one that will have to live with it—the advice givers and the TV experts will be long gone. Make sure3. Do prepare a budget and stick to it.4. Begin with a basic list and add to it only for a defined and agreed purpose.5. Remember, shop wisely, but do not skimp or be penny wise and pound foolish. Kitchen is a long term investment. Remodel it and furnish it with items of lasting quality.6. You will most likely grow into your kitchen, so keep an eye for the long term. If you lived in the home for the next five years, would you still love your kitchen?7. Do get the opinion of the ones who are likely to visit your home the most–nearest relatives, children, in-laws and friends.8. Do not just listen to the advice. Question it–get behind it. For example if your friend says you should only buy a particular brand, ask them why? Do they have experience with that and other brand and why are they preferring one over the other? What is wrong with a competing brand. Maybe they are foisting their personal choice upon you. Maybe they are snobbish–both are wrong reasons to choose a particular brand.9. Prepare a “Must Have” and a “Nice to have” lists. This will help you stay within budget.10. Not a good idea to use porous material or wood in the Kitchen. Marble or high grade granite brings richness and warmth.11. To point number 5, do leave some room for expansion, if you can, in the kitchen. For example, do not buy cabinets that go to the ceiling–maybe you will want to add storage later on.GOOD LUCK.

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