Five Things You Need to Know about Your Kitchen Remodel

  1. How to plan your project?
  2. Who do you need on your team?
  3. Who are the players ?
  4. What do they do?
  5. What role do you play?

The first draft I wrote about kitchen cabinets ended up so long that I split it into 3 sections.  This is a guide and information that will apply to your cabinet and kitchen remodel.  There is no “one” answer and there are plenty of exceptions to every supposed rule or guide so you’ll want to take this section as general information to help you move things in the right direction.  Should you have any questions you can always contact us through the website for additional information or clarification. 

  1. How do we plan?  Most people probably head to google and start typing in phrases or words like cabinet, contractor, designer or whatever search phrase they may think of.  Unless you start out initially, and possibly with some prior experience, knowing that you want specific personnel, this is the most common method.  The majority of people either need or want guidance to make sure the project goes smoothly and fulfills their dream or goal for their space.  Kitchens and bathrooms are the money rooms in the house and can greatly affect the future value of the home so careful planning is vital.
  2. The people you need on your team will depend on your level of remodeling experience.  A client who has never done a major remodel project may need a much larger amount of help from multiple sources.  If you have done multiple projects over the years you may have a good idea starting out of exactly what you need. 

3. Your search results, depending on the questions you asked, will typically point you into the following areas.

    • Kitchen Designer or a design person. 
    • Cabinet Store or Retail Location advertising cabinets and kitchens
    • Cabinet Shop.   
    • A Contractor.  A contractor with kitchen experience and solid qualifications in this area of remodeling.
    • A Big box store

    4. What do they do?

      • A kitchen designer or general design person is someone who has experience in the design of kitchens.   They will suggest materials, styles, colors and consider the overall design of the area.  It’s possible they either work with a contractor, cabinet supplier or shop.  They will assist in choices that may be impacted in the remodel including but not limited to countertops, backsplashes, appliances etc…In every case you have to confirm this is the right person for you to be working with.  For example, if you’re a very techy, modern and minimalist type of person you’re probably going to be at odds with a designer who is more classic, Tuscan or Spanish style.  Although a lot of us in the field can work with any style that our client prefers it’s nice to be on the same page and direction to start with.
      • A cabinet store is a retail location advertising cabinetry or kitchen and bath remodels.  Every cabinet store (including the big box locations) has agreements and licensing with different major manufacturers.  They will have certain lines and styles that they will help you choose from to design your kitchen.  Not all manufacturers have the same materials, styles, options, sizes etc but your “in-store” designer will walk you through those selections.  Not all of these locations are equal in their expertise, experience or level of service.  Again, you’re auditioning the player for your project.  Not all cabinet stores are licensed to install the cabinets you purchase so you have to identify all the players involved.
      • A cabinet shop.  The distinguishing feature here is this source will actually make the cabinets to your specifications.  In addition to a possible showroom location, you may see the actual shop, equipment and materials being used to fabricate ongoing projects.  This process will be more “hands on” and you’ll have more control because they can produce almost any style, color or material.  Again, you have to pay attention to the people.  Not all shops are created equal and the levels of service will vary.  Some cabinet shops are licensed to install and some are not.  Do not mistake a business license for a contractor license.
      • A Contractor.  You’ll want to make sure again that this is an area they are well qualified in.  There are many around and not all with the same qualifications.  The common message again is to communicate and interview your potential partners. If an issue arises during the remodel are you comfortable with the person you’re relying on to fix it?
      • A big box store.  This will usually be Lowes or Home Depot.  Same situation as a retail cabinet shop.  They have lines available to them.  Level of services such as measuring the home, providing drawings etc may vary with the expertise of the employee you’re dealing with.  They will typically have sub contractors they use for installation and you do not need to use those subcontractors, you may choose your own.

      5. What role do you play?  You’re the one who picks your team.  You need to feel comfortable  and have a level of trust with the people that are going to help you realize your dream.  You’ll wants someone in place who will direct the process, protect your investment, make sure things are done correctly and communicate with you through the job.   You don’t want to be liable for poor decisions, bad measurements, faulty installations and poor workmanship.  This is not your area of expertise and you have to rely on someone to get you to the finish line with a great product.  I like the analogy of the track and field coach (that’s you!),  I’m not going to run every step of the mile with you but I’m going to be on the sidelines watching and check in every lap to make sure we’re on track.