THE ARTICLE BELOW IS STILL IN ITS DRAFT FORM...
A common question customers will ask is what is the typical process of remodeling a kitchen? How long does it take from start to finish? What is the design process? How do we get an estimate? What happens first? In the middle? At the end? This article attempts to answer these questions and many more. We will work through a fictional project scenario so you understand how the whole process works. Your project will likely be a little different, particularly if you select different materials and/or services.
Fictional Project Scope
Measuring Your Kitchen
The Features List
The Kitchen Design
Getting a Formal Estimate
Placing an Order and Payment Terms
Material Lead times
Fictional Project Scope
Every kitchen project can be a little different when figuring out the best process of getting things picked out and completed. Based on the Project Purchasing List shown below, this article will offer a suggested way to tackle this fictional renovation most efficiently. Some of the items on the project list may not apply to your project. Selecting different materials from what is shown on the list below may also change how things get installed.
Project Purchasing List:
Kitchen Cabinets -- Norcraft
New Hardwood Floor
Remove Old Cabinets/Countertops
Remove Existing Soffit
Electrical Services -- ceiling and/or pendant fixtures, under cabinet lighting, code updates
Remove Forced Hot Water Heat, install toe kick heater
Knobs and Pulls
Install Cabinets, Countertops and Appliances
Plumbing Fixtures -- sink and faucet
Plumbing Services -- sink, dishwasher install, code updates
Subway Tile Backsplash
Measuring Your Kitchen
When making the decision to renovate your kitchen, one of the first steps in getting started is to invite a kitchen designer to your home. To do a good job, it is important for the kitchen designer to see how things are laid out in the existing kitchen and rooms adjacent. Some kitchen design firms want you to pay them for making the trip to your home. As long as you are within our service area, the Kitchen Gallery does not charge to measure your kitchen and prepare the design and estimate.
During the initial site visit, an experienced kitchen designer will offer suggestions and comment on the freezability of any project wants the homeowner has. Then of course carefully measure the kitchen space. The kitchen designer will then use those measurements to create a floor plan of your kitchen. Instead of hand drawing, the Kitchen Gallery uses CAD software to create a floor plan where we can show a 3D image of the design.
During the initial job site visit, homeowners will likely have questions and have ideas in their mind to improve the kitchen space. The best question a homeowner can ask the experienced kitchen designer is: "What would you do to make this kitchen space better?" Good kitchen designers are familiar with kitchen design guidelines and will keep those in mind when making suggestions. For example, space needed around an island. Islands set up for seating are popular, but they do require floor space to make them work.
When the Kitchen Gallery makes a job site visit, we take a lot of notes as to what a customer's wish list might be. So customers should try to think about what they don't like about their current setup. If you have a wild idea, this is a good time to throw it out there.
Reality is, every homeowner will have a budget limit for a kitchen remodeling project. At this stage, it is more important to have a customer's complete wish list, particularly the must haves. If you have looked through magazines or seen pictures on the internet that you like, share this with your kitchen designer. We can often design something that can be cost effective. The goal would be to get as much of your wish list in the renovation as possible without breaking the bank. A good place to look for kitchen design ideas is HOUZZ.
Below is a list of popular items folks want in their kitchen...
Roll Out Trays
Cookie Sheet Storage
Tip Out Tray at Sink
Trash Pull Out Cabinet
Tall Pantry Cabinet
Built In Refrigerator Panels
Wall Cabinets with Crown Molding that go to the Ceiling
What unique storage needs do you have? Starmark (one of the cabinet manufacturers the Kitchen Gallery offers) has a great brochure the helps the homeowner understand what cabinet configurations are possible -- CLICK HERE -- to have a look.
The initial job site visit usually takes about 45 minutes. Generally, the meeting is at the kitchen designer's office or showroom. During that visit we work on placing various cabinets in logical places on a floor plan around the wanted appliances. It is helpful to the kitchen designer if you share what appliances you are thinking of purchasing prior to this second meeting. Often the appliance's make and model number is all that is needed. Sometimes an appliance has been just released. When this is the case, your appliance store should be able to provide a specification sheet on each appliance that contain product dimensions.
Below is an appliance buying checklist. Some you might want, some you might not. There are many appliance options. To make the selection process easier, we advise customers to use the internet to filter down their choices. One site that is good at doing this is AJMADISION.COM, check them out. Then call up a local appliance store like State Street Discount or Appliance Warehouse and see if they have the item in their store. Some items on the appliance check list below might not apply to your project.
Appliance Check List:
Range (gas, electric, induction)
Range Vent Hoods -- available at the Kitchen Gallery
Ovens separate from range
Microwave (over the range or somewhere else)
After our jobsite visit, in a few days the Kitchen Gallery will contact you (often by e-mail) to set up a time to meet in the Kitchen Gallery showroom/office in North Hampton. At minimum, we will have the walls drawn in our kitchen design computer software and appliances placed on the floor plan. Sometimes we have worked on a few design options that we can present to you right away. Often it makes more sense to create the kitchen design on the fly in front of you so we can ask you questions as each cabinet is placed, while at the same time keeping in mind the recommended kitchen design rules and/or guidelines.
With your help and feedback, in about 30 to 45 minutes time on average the Kitchen Gallery will have a design concept that you will like. Then we start to look at selecting a cabinet manufacturer, door style, color cabinet and species wood, countertop material. After these decisions are made, it is often practical to work up a rough estimate of what your kitchen renovation will cost. Folks are usually anxious to get a financial understanding of their project, so the Kitchen Gallery tries to accommodate.
If more design work is needed to get the floor plan and cabinet materials just right, the Kitchen Gallery will follow up with a design video for your review. After you like what is in the design video, then the Kitchen Gallery will create a formal estimate. An example of what we mean be a design video can be seen by CLICKING HERE. The design video goes through each cabinet in detail so you know what is included in the kitchen design and your estimate. Kitchen and bath design explanation videos are an excellent way to communicate the details of a project.
As part of the formal estimate it is important that the kitchen designer make you aware of any cabinet manufacturer's "awareness forms". Below is a list of various "awareness" forms a cabinet manufacturer may have. The forms disclose information to the consumer so expectations about product limitations are understood prior to placing an order.
Inset Cabinet Awareness
Placing Your Order
After all your questions about the estimate and kitchen design have been answered, you are likely ready to place your order. For our fictional kitchen remodeling project the estimate might look like this one -- CLICK HERE. The estimate lists the various materials and services needed to complete the project. Each line item is clear so both the customer and the Kitchen Gallery knows what will be provided.
Often the Kitchen Gallery has provided several estimates or revised estimates during the designing phase of a project. Reality is, customers can go in different directions when it comes to choosing what materials they want and/or services they want completed. This is why it is important for the customer to sign the estimate that they agree to. During the course of the project the Kitchen Gallery refers back to this signed estimate so we know we are giving everything the customer wants.
You will receive a copy of everything you sign.
When signing an estimate for a kitchen remodeling project, customers will also provide a half deposit by personal check. Subsequent payments will work in one of two ways. A second final payment after the project is complete or progress payments.
Under the later option where there is the initial 1/2 deposit and final payment (the two payment plan)... This payment plan happens when the project is 100% complete and there were no additional materials and/or services needed to complete the project. This payment plan happens most often.
Sometimes additional materials are needed to complete a project that are not readily available. This is when progress payments will be requested. Progress payments (if applicable) most often is requested after your kitchen sink is plumbed up. The amount of this payment request (often the 2nd payment) is figured based on what project items still need to be completed.