Constructive TeamGetting started on a new kitchen or bath project is really a huge undertaking.  It is virtually impossible for even the best designer or salesperson to provide a design and quote without quite a bit of pretty basic information about your project.  Let’s take an in depth look at some of the first things that you will need.

Gather Ideas
Kitchen and bath cabinets come in literally hundreds of different styles, wood species, colors, and finishes.  With such a wide variety of options available, a good understanding of your personal style and the “look” you are trying to achieve is a great starting point. It is often helpful to create a design folder containing pictures of your current kitchen or bath layout as well as a sampling of your home furnishings to help the designer visualize your style.  This folder is a good place for magazine articles and pictures that demonstrate styles and features that are important in your new design.

Prioritize Your “Needs”, “Wants”, and “Desires”
If you want to avoid that nagging “I wish we had thought of that” feeling after your remodel is complete, it’s time to make a couple of important lists.  The first should include everything you dislike about your current kitchen.  Next, take your design ideas and make a second list of all the features and style elements that you might like to see in your new kitchen.  Draw three columns to the right of this list labeled “Need”, “Want”, and “Desire.”  For each item on your list, put a check in the “Need” column if it fixes something you dislike about your current kitchen.  If it does not, put a check in the “Want” column for something that adds value or a check in the “Desire” column if it is simply an “oh wow” item.  The challenge here is to be honest with yourself.

Measure Your Space
A good basic drawing of your design space should include wall-to-wall measurements along with door, window, electrical, plumbing, and vent locations.  Your measurements should be accurate to at least ¼” and should also include vertical measurements – the distance from the floor and to the ceiling.  This drawing will provide the essential information to your designer on the elements that will, and will not, work in your space.  Of course, all of your measurements should be verified by your contractor before the cabinets are ordered.

Determine Your Budget
You should plan to spend approximately 10% to 20% of your home’s current market value in a complete kitchen remodel.  A well-planned project in this range can return up to 90% of your investment when you sell your home.  As you develop your budget, consider if this is your “dream home” or simply a transitional home and how long you expect to live there.  You should also consider your neighborhood and local property value trends.  A good budget will include two numbers for the project – what you expect to spend and the maximum you are willing to spend.  This flexibility can be helpful should your designer have additional ideas that you might not have considered.

Armed with this information, you are now ready to transform your kitchen into a fresh new design with features that will give you years of enjoyment.