How to Pick the Right Design Pro for Your Kitchen Renovation

Caesarstone 5031 Statuario Maximus quartz countertop. Photo courtesy Caesarstone

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  • Whether your cooking area needs a minor facelift or a complete overhaul, hiring the right professional for the job is key to a successful makeover.

    • 5280 Home August / September 2020

    Some kitchen renovation projects are best left to the professionals. We spoke to Jeremy Parcels, president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and designer at Christopher’s Kitchen & Bath, about when to bring in the reinforcement (and who is the best expert for the job).

    Problem: “Those stained laminate countertops are killing me.”
    Solution: If you’re unwilling or unable to invest more than $ 5,000 in upgrading the material, consider an epoxy coating, Parcels says. For less than $ 500, enterprising home improvement enthusiasts can purchase epoxy kits that give existing surfaces a shiny, long-lasting finish. However, they can be difficult to work with. So, consider bringing in professionals from a company like Denver Epoxy. Ready for Granite or Quartz? Start with a stone builder and a plumber and set aside part of your budget in case you need a carpenter to modify the furniture or touch up the finishes.

    Photo courtesy Maxwell Tielman for Design Sponge

    Problem: “I wish my kitchen wasn’t so closed off from the rest of the house.”
    Solution: Before you begin swinging a sledgehammer, have a contractor or engineer determine if the wall you are about to remove is strong. (This assessment can cost as little as $ 300, according to Parcels.) If it doesn’t, an interior designer may be able to come up with a plan of the work (plumbing, electrical, etc.) required for your project. If the wall is strong, you will need to call in an engineer or architect to add a support beam. You should definitely hire an architect to add or change the exterior of your home, and it can also be a smart move if you want to alter the inner bones of your home such as doorways or pillars.

    Problem: “Two words: pine cabinets.”
    Solution: In about a week and for about a third of what new ones could cost, a cabinet refinish can stain, paint, or redesign your existing cabinets. Larger companies often employ designers to help you choose. Before deciding which route to take, however, according to Parcels, consider the condition of your cabinets: how do the hinges work? Do the drawers slide smoothly? If your cabinets aren’t in great shape, you’d better save up to replace them – ideally by working with a custom carpenter whose design costs more than off-the-shelf units but fits your space and needs perfectly.

    Photo courtesy Annie Schlechter for Country Living

    Problem: “Who puts the sink so far out of reach? And why is the island so close to the refrigerator? “
    Solution: “If you have layout issues, that professional opinion is needed,” Parcels said, noting that homeowners can access industry safety standards and dimensional recommendations through the NKBA’s book of Kitchen and Bathroom Planning Guidelines, available on Amazon. A design-build company can be a good option for involved one-stop remodeling projects, but be prepared for serious investments (plans alone often start at $ 1,500) and life disturbances as you may be out of the kitchen for six to ten weeks are . Tip: schedule work during the fine weather months so you can cook on your grill.

    Problem: “Everything is fine – but I’m bored.”
    Solution: There are many things you can do to add visual appeal to your kitchen without spending a lot of money or tearing the place apart. One of Parcels’ most popular upgrades is replacing incandescent bulbs in recessed tins with LED versions with higher color rendering index values ​​(more like natural light). Changing the hardware on your cabinets (make sure the new pulling devices match the existing holes in your door and drawer panels); and hire a tiler to make an inexpensive backsplash look like a million dollars. Whether you choose a traditional or an online service, an interior designer can help you make your choices and create a cohesive look that you will love for years.

    It is a match!

    Now that you know which professional can do the job, how do you find the one? We asked Parcels for his top five top tips to help sort out all of those online profiles and decide when to take the relationship to the next level.

    1. Narrow your search to professionals certified in interior design by the NKBA or the American Society of Interior Designers. Also, make sure your contractor is licensed and insured.
    2. Look for a company that specializes in kitchen remodeling and has a solid list of previous customers to interview.
    3. Find someone you can get along with! The planning, approval and execution of conversions can take months or even years. When you hire someone whose personality matches yours, things will go a lot smoother.
    4. Make sure the company you choose has products with a style and feature that appeal to you and work well with the rest of your home.
    5. When interviewing contractors and their customers, get involved in the essentials. Are you on time? Do you finish jobs on time? Do you keep the construction sites as clean as possible? A good quality contractor will prioritize these things to minimize disruption in your life.

    This article appeared in the August / September 2020 issue of 5280 Home.

    Jessica LaRusso, Managing Editor

    Jessica LaRusso is the editor-in-chief of 5280.

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