Where to start w/ renovating kitchen

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    We need to renovate our kitchen and have no idea where to start. We’ve heard we need to hire an architect to figure out what we want it to look like and if structurally it will work. Some other people have told us we need to talk with a kitchen designer, and then we were told that a good contractor can do all of that.

    Finally, how do we know who to hire to do the actual work, that they’ll stay within our budget, and complete the project within the time frame they said they would (barring any unforeseen issues). I’d appreciate any and all suggestions. Thank you!



    I would start by getting recommendations for contractors and kitchen designers and get at least a few to come out and take a look at your space. We ended up not going with a general contractor for our own kitchen remodel which had its pluses and minuses. We did some of the work ourselves to save money which allowed us to splurge in other areas (better quality cabinetry and counters). We did have a fairly clear idea of what we wanted to do with the space which helped (and also didn’t have to make a ton of structural, electrical or plumbing changes – we removed one non supporting wall and added lighting). I’ve heard great things about a number of WS contractors and also have friends who’ve used these folks with great and affordable results. http://www.smystore.org. If you really don’t have a clear vision yet, do lots of research and definitely talk to a designer. Good luck! Remodeling our kitchen was the best money we’ve spent on our house and I am sure you will feel the same when it’s all said and done! I am sure others will have recommendations for local GCs or architects who can help.



    I’d like at first ask if you have any changing of the physical dimensions of the space? If yes, you should involve at LEAST a designer if not an architect/engineer to ensure whatever you do ends up structurally sound.

    I remodeled our 40’s kitchen last year and needed to spec a bunch of beams, etc. which easily could have been overlooked or underspec’d.

    If you’re not doing anything like that, then a good kitchen designer could fit the bill. We looked at lots of books and online stuff but designed it ourselves and it came out great.

    Other things to consider: Permits. Kitchens require tons of electrical and plumbing which you’ll want to permit so you can feel good about those systems. We ran our own but you have to be willing to spend time on that process, booking and ensuring access for the inspectors, etc.

    Good luck!



    I would start with a good contractor who can tell you what needs to be done. Cotact Bill Babb at Better Builders (http://betterbuilders.com). He can give you a quick assessment of what would have to be done and, if a designer is desired, he knows a very good one. His number is 588-2075. He did the cabinets for our kitchen and, if it weren’t for his team, the Spokane company that built the cabinets would not have known how to fix a thorny fit problem.



    Architype Renovation 206.818.7742 Donna

    KC Fine Cabinetry- (425) 359-8451 Clint or Kimberly.

    We replaced all of our cabinets and all of the appliances although the basic footprint was unchanged. If you have an idea of what you want to do, Clint can handle the design. These two also did our master bath remodel.


    tom kelley

    I would suggest that you purchase a large tablet of graph paper and draw a to-scale representation of the space. Then over coffee play with it. You might even cut out scale outlines of appliances etc. Some cabinet vendors have free programs where you can enter your dimensions and design a kitchen. You tube is also an excellent resource.


    Born on Alki

    My wife and I started with a good bottle of wine and a sledge hammer one Friday night….on second thought, don’t try that.



    So you’re saying save the good stuff for opening day, cuz the cheap stuff gets you in a more “demolitiony” mood and besides, you won’t have the money to buy the good stuff later anyway??



    Getting graph paper and playing with the space is a great idea.

    Try going to websites like Houzz.com and Google/Bing to get kitchen design ideas. Use magazines, books, visit design stores. Find your style and types of things that you would like to fill your new kitchen with. Take your photos, paint chips, pieces of wood or whatever you find appealing and put it in a box. Write down what you like or hate about it.

    Think about your current space. How do you use it now? Just for cooking? Helping the kids do homework or entertaining? What do you see yourselves doing in the new space?

    Ask yourselves what do you like about your kitchen and identify the problems. Not enough counter space or a refrigerator that is to big or small for your needs?

    Next, how about a little research on different materials that can be used from the floor to the ceiling. Are you interested in going Eco-friendly? Are you on a strict budget? If you are, this can really help when taking to a designer or to contractor. Knowing the difference between products like quartz, granite or glass will help you when making decisions that are right for you, your budget and the space. You don’t have to know everything, but being familiar with terms and products never hurts.

    This last suggestion is just something I think is a smart idea if you are not planning to live in this space forever and maybe even if you are. Talk to a realtor that you trust. You don’t want to put a $75,000 kitchen in a home that’s not equal to the investment. He/she can also take a look at your neighborhood and what is trending as far as value. No crystal ball, but maybe a different perspective.

    Trust your instincts, listen and have fun. :)

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