kitchen remodel white cabinets, white island, transitional

A Family Renovation Challenge

Tackling a kitchen remodeling project may leave you feeling like a contestant on Survivor. Like you’ve been dropped in the Australian Outback with one luxury item and a team of strangers! Showers and home cooked meals are scarce and voting out a few tribe (or family!) members may sound appealing. In this case you aren’t competing for $1 million in prize money. You’re vying for a beautiful new kitchen with your sanity still intact!

Here’s the way to play the game to win.

Strategic Plays

  • Pick the right players to be on your team. The right team of designers, contractors and crew makes all the difference. These professionals help you problem solve and manage your project start to finish. You will be in close contact with these men and women for weeks (and possibly, months) so it will help if you like them.
  • Make all of your design decisions before construction begins. It’s very stressful to make decisions on the fly. You may regret having to make them in haste.
  • Have a sense of your project timeline and intentionally add flexibility to the plan.  Nevertheless, prepare yourself for delays. Sometimes they are inevitable.
  • Create a realistic budget and stick to it. You will enjoy your bathroom more if you don’t overspend!
  • Purchase all necessary materials in advance.
  • Have all drawings and specs ready to go on day one.
  • Keep your advisory board to a few, select experts.  Too many opinions can create chaos.

Set Up Camp

  • Set up a temporary replacement “kitchen” space. At a minimum include a fridge, microwave and place to clean up. Pack up everything in advance! Things get dirty. Dust will fly. The more you clear out and cover up, the better off you are.
  • Prepare for dust. When you shake up one room you will shake the dust loose everywhere! Make sure your crew masks off the area they are working if possible.
  • Prepare a staging space for your crew to bring in materials and tools; it can be a garage or carport area, depending on the weather.
  • Keep in mind that this is all just temporary (even if it begins to feel like an eternity). The remodel will end and it will be worth the inconvenience!

Let the Games Begin!

  • Start a collection of take-out menus and prepare some crock-pot or freezer meals. Take your friends and neighbors up on invites to dinner!
  • Work regularly with your team to manage your expectations. It will help to have a sense of what’s coming next.  Weekly updates from the construction lead are helpful so communicate your desire for that.
  • Minimize changes to your original plan as much as possible. Changes during construction will cost you lots of extra time and money, not to mention your sanity!
  • Keep an ongoing list of questions for your contractor and designers.  We love hearing your questions and maintaining open lines of communications.  We don’t know what you don’t know unless you ask us!
  • Be prepared for flurries of activity followed by what seems like little change.  Tear out is big change. Plumbing and electric installation is hard to see!
  • Countertops can take a while. They are not measured until after the cabinets are set. Prepare yourself for a pause in the remodeling during this phase.
  • Make your preferred form of communication (phone calls, email, and/or texts; copied to your spouse?) known to your team and be available for questions from them.  No amount of planning will avoid the need for them to ask additional questions during the process.  A kitchen remodel is a science and an art. We need to stay in communication with you because we always want to do what’s best for you and your family!

One final piece of advice: relax. Remember that a few weeks or months of stress and mess leads to years of enjoyment in your gorgeous new kitchen!