Kitchen Renovation: 5 Things to Consider

Posted on | August 15, 2011 | 4 Comments

No room in the house has undergone as much of a transformation over the past several generations as the kitchen. Since opening the doors of Bistany Design more than 20 years ago, Charlotte kitchen designer Caren Bistany has seen kitchens continuously evolve, taking on a constantly expanding role for every family member. Today, it’s the centerpiece of family dynamics – the place for cooking, celebrating and gathering as a family. This is the place that accommodates homework for kids, serves as a sometimes home office for parents, and much, much more.

Across the Carolinas, most of the projects that Caren is actively working on are renovations. She recently shared her insights regarding  the 5 things homeowners should consider when renovating a kitchen.

Bistany Design Kitchen Renovation North Carolina Design
Image Appears Courtesy of Bistany Design

Design & Planning:
Fewer homeowners are moving these days. If they are staying put or even if they have purchased a home that is new to them and they are now looking at remodeling – the kitchen is often the first area they look to update. Whether they undertake this project themselves or work with a professional, it’s all about the details. They need to consider style preference and what the space is going to be used for. What are the traffic patterns? Is there a need for additional storage? Is an addition an option? In creating a to-scale design, these are just a few of the questions we ask. This accurate to-scale drawing is absolutely essential for everything else that will follow. If there’s going to be an addition, you are likely going to need to also bring in an architect.

When it comes to the kitchen, experience counts. It is important to know that you have personally selected every member of the team involved in creating your dream kitchen. That contractor who offered you a significantly lower price may plan on using a less experienced tile man or a lower grade of cabinets. You want a contractor with a history of reliability and quality. You should review and select every professional to be confident that you will receive the level of experience, craftsmanship and materials that you desire. Remember the expression, “The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”

Once again, there is no substitute for quality. Sometimes delaying the project, or even a portion of it, for a short time may allow you to acquire the desired quality of materials. From cabinets, countertops and tile, to flooring, lighting and appliances, you want selections that will hold up over time.

Bistany Design Kitchen Remodel North Carolina Design Online
Image Appears Courtesy of Bistany Design

Determine your budget. The first thing I ask my clients is how long they plan to stay in this house. Whether they are considering the kitchen remodel for investment purposes or they simply can’t live with the existing design – if they are going to be in that house 5 years or less – I tell them that they are not going to recoup all of their investment. Your budget must take into account how long you plan on being there. Renovating a kitchen is ultimately about enhancing the lives of your family. Even though you looked at your budget with a sharp pencil, expect the unexpected – and add another 20%.

Planning takes time – as does every phase of the project. If you are using professionals, it takes time to reach out to friends and family for referrals, research companies online, meet in person, compare ideas and check references. Should you choose to undertake the project yourself, the timeline expands depending on how focused your efforts will be. Even if you are diligent, it will take at least 8 – 12 weeks, but a personalized kitchen will be worth it.

An award winning kitchen and bath design company, Bistany Design provides homeowners innovative concepts and well-crafted cabinetry.

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4 Responses to “Kitchen Renovation: 5 Things to Consider”

  1. Ellen Reed
    August 16th, 2011 @ 9:31 PM

    beautiful images….interesting suggestions…makes me want to try it again…maybe…smiles.

  2. Liz Hughes
    August 17th, 2011 @ 4:13 PM

    Thanks Ellen! I wish someone had told me that once I had a budget I should simply add to it. It wasn’t the unforseen things that got me. It was upgrades I originally thought I could live without.


  3. Linda Parson
    October 16th, 2011 @ 5:07 PM

    Your pictured designs are beautiful.

    Excellent advice regarding high quality vs a cheap estimate, and planning on the unexpected.

    Things usually come up on any remodel project, and options may present themselves that you’ll regret no taking. Adding 20% to your estimate is a wise and safe bet.

    As a small family remodeling company in the San Diego area, we have had this situation happen several times: We bid on a project; the homeowner goes with a slightly lower bid; and then the homeowner calls us a month later asking if we can help get the kitchen renovation project back on track, and fix what the first contractor messed up.

    Cutting corners just doesn’t work in home improvements, whether you’re talking about bathroom remodels, kitchen remodels, or additions.

    A contractor having the experience to know how to do things efficiently, believing that long-term durability and functionality are important, and choosing high quality subcontractors: that’s where the value is at.

    Thanks for the step-by-step guide for remodels. I plan on emailing the link to this page to several of my clients.


    Mathis Custom Remodeling
    La Mesa, CA (San Diego area)

  4. Liz Hughes
    October 16th, 2011 @ 9:16 PM

    Thank you Linda. From the Carolinas to California, the advice for a quality kitchen renovation is still the same.

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