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Top Three Kitchen Remodeling Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make Yourself


I’ll bet you didn’t expect that one from a kitchen pro, did you!?! One of the hats I wear as an independent designer is to provide a “reality check” perspective. This mistake was more in evidence during the past few years than in today’s housing climate, but I still come across part-time cooks who want $10,000 pro ranges. (Do you really need all those BTUs?) In general, a $300,000 house does not warrant a $100,000 kitchen, unless its lived in by a professional caterer or chef, or a really serious hobby cook.

While statistic show that kitchen remodels return more of their investment cost than almost any other home project, this does not hold true if you dramatically over-spend. Think in terms of a 10- to 25-percent investment level relative to what you could realistically sell your home for in today’s market, (if you’re ready to start your remodel), not yesterday’s (wistful) or tomorrow’s (hopeful).

If your home is at the starter/entry level of your market, stay closer to the 10% spending level. (Yes, that’s going to limit your material choices, but work with a local pro to get the best bang for your housing buck!) At the middle of your market, stay in the middle of that 10- to 25-percent scale. At the luxury end, you can freely venture into the 25% range if you wish. Finally, consult some real estate experts in your area to advise you on what you should be spending relative to your home’s value and community norms.


Almost every home being built today has an open layout that puts your kitchen on display to your great room, dining area and other nearby public spaces. This calls for a higher level of design integration — what I call “Open Plan Design” — than most older home’s closed-off kitchens. This means that the cabinetry finishes and styles, the countertops and even appliances need to work visually with your other nearby furnishings.

So… while you may adore a Tuscan or French country look, think hard about whether this style will work with your adjacent rooms and the architecture of your home. (If you’ve ever had friends who bought the kitchen of their dreams, only to have the rest of their space look dreadful afterward, they might have succumbed to micro vision.)

Here are some tips to avoid this mistake yourself. Consider the home’s door and window casings — or lack thereof — along with any fireplace surrounds, open archways and crown molding to “reality check” yourself on whether the look you desire will look out of place in your home. Also consider those cherished family heirloom furniture pieces and high-value, large-scale furniture pieces that you’re planning to keep after the remodel to ensure that what you’re putting in the kitchen will look great in the same open space. (You don’t need to get all matchy-matchy, but you will want to coordinate.) I’ve had clients bring a drawer or chair from their prized set to the cabinet selection room. You might try this, as well.


This relates to Mistake #2, but it goes far beyond… And can be much more costly. Don’t choose a look for your kitchen based on its current, most-likely fleeting popularity, (remember Memphis in the 80s?), but on how long you personally have loved similar styles and how successfully it works with all your other major, lasting, much-loved purchases.

You may have the budget for frequent remodels, but I doubt if you have the stomach for them.



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