A kitchen remodel is a big deal—not something to be approached rashly. So before you even visit a showroom or meet with a pro, read our expert advice on creating the cook space you've always coveted.
Worth the Splurge
1) Second sink: Place it outside of the main cooking and cleanup zone so that a second chef can prep food, wash hands for dinner, or bartend during parties.
2) Paneled cabinet ends: These decorative panels, which are essentially oversize doors fixed to any exposed sides of cabinets, give your kitchen a custom-built, furniture-like look.
3) Full-extension, soft-close drawer glides: Installed under or on the sides of a drawer, they allow it to pull completely out of the cabinet so that you can reach everything inside. Plus, they eliminate slamming. Sorry…no more slamming the cabinet doors when you’re angry with your partner!
Not Worth the Splurge
1) Glazed, distressed, and crackled finishes: These can increase cabinet costs by as much as 30 percent and can start to look dated as trends change.
2) Pot filler: It does make filling the pasta pot easier, but it doesn't help with the far worse task of carting boiling water to the sink when your fettuccine is done.
3) Wine fridge: Do you really need 18 bottles of Pinot within arms reach and kept at precisely 55 degrees? If you really love the idea of a wine fridge, get it but just recognize that it really doesn’t add value to a renovation project.
What about Fridges
1. Get an in-door ice dispenser/beverage centre only if you're choosing a side-by-side configuration. Otherwise you'll forfeit fridge capacity for what amounts to a mini freezer on the back of the door.
2. With French door models, it makes it easier to organize and access your frozen foods by choosing a two-drawer configuration for the bottom freezer. Those garden peas and fish filets are too easily deep-sixed in a single drawer.
3. Even counter-depth fridges stand proud of their cabinetry housings by 2 to 4 inches to provide clearance for the door and hinges. To keep the fridge from sticking out farther, choose a model with recesses in the back to accommodate the plug and water line. Just make sure to align your outlet and water hookup accordingly. Otherwise, furr out the fridge cabinet from the back by an extra inch or so to enclose the sides completely.
4. Safeguard the computer chips that control your fridge by replacing the power outlet with a surge protection receptacle, which you can find at home centers or electrical supply shops for less than $30. Or you can guard all your electronics with a whole-house surge suppressor for about $600 installed.
The Right Way to Handle Waste
• Hide it in a rollout base cabinet within one step of the sink, or no more than two steps away if it's in an opposing island.
• Place an additional recycling bin on the rollout, or multiple bins on a second unit near the exterior door if your municipality requires sorting.
Choosing the Right Floor: Hardwood
YOU GET: Traditional good looks; a comfortable and warm surface that's gentle on dropped dishware.
BUT: Will scratch, dent, and lose its lustre over time and need refinishing.
PRICE: $8–$30 per square foot installed
Choosing the Right Floor: Ceramic or Porcelain
YOU GET: Easy cleanup and durability; wide range of sizes, colours, and textures.
BUT: Cold and hard underfoot; grout lines attract dirt and grime; dropped dishware will break and could crack tile, as well.
PRICE: $19–$30 installed
Choosing the Right Floor: Vinyl Plank Flooring
YOU GET: Easy cleanup and durability; wide range of sizes, colours; can be installed on top of most existing floors.
BUT: Can be damaged by sharp objects, can fade if in too much direct sunlight
PRICE: $10–$22 installed
If budget doesn't allow you to create your dream kitchen in one shot, don't compromise. Do it in phases.
Where to invest now:
Layout: This is the time to open the floor plan, add the island, and rearrange the flow.
Infrastructure: Get the framing, subfloor, windows, plumbing, and electrical right or all those new finishes and appliances won't perform as expected.
Cabinets: Go for quality construction, premium glides and hinges, and as many cabinets as you can afford.
Countertops: Conventional wisdom may say to phase-in upscale countertops, but demoing the old and installing new can damage your cabinets and plumbing.
What you can wait for later:
New appliances: Unless you're changing their size or configuration, your old range and fridge will work just fine until you get your next tax return.
Pricey light fixtures: Throw in cheap placeholders while you've got the electrician on hand. You can easily replace lights yourself once the wiring's complete.
Splurge-worthy faucet: You can get a decent one for less than $75 that'll tide you over for months or even years. Just make sure the drill-outs in your countertop match the configuration of your future faucet.
Backsplash: Paint the walls above your counter with a scrubbable paint to protect them while you save up for that glass mosaic. Holding off also gives new cabinets time to settle, thus preventing grout and caulk problems at the seam where the backsplash meets the counter.
Have some of your own renovation secrets? Please share them in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
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