A Kitchen Odyssey: Follow Along, If You Dare

kitchen1.jpgI was wondering if you might want to make a journey with me. It’s bound to take some time—maybe 6 to 9 months. Where are we going, you ask? I anticipate a trip through remodeling hell. That’s right, folks, I’m in need of a new kitchen and I hardly know where to begin. Given my relative lack of knowledge and the research I’ll need to do, I thought it might be helpful if I shared the thought, planning, and construction process with all of you. I fully expect it to be a bumpy ride, full of potholes, missteps and missed opportunities. But I think we can all learn from this process together and maybe you can even provide some wisdom that will help me as we proceed. (Other than to hire a competent but unaffordable architect or designer.)

I don’t undertake this project lightly. My kitchen is tied to my livelihood and having it torn up and unusable for any period of time will make my [other] job as a food columnist infinitely more difficult. (I might just need to rotate through all your kitchens to do my recipe testing.) So it is important to me to do all the research and make all the decisions and purchases prior to starting any demolition.

My husband and I have not yet settled on a budget, and that ought to be an interesting discussion. In any event, it is not likely to be enough to put the project into the capable of hands of a professional to design. (We will, of course, hire professional contractors to do the work.)

I don’t anticipate any drastic changes, such as pushing a wall out onto the porch, or removing the wall to the dining or living room, but it will be a complete demo—cabinets, most appliances, and the floor. The configuration will remain very close to the existing design, so I hope that will make things go more smoothly (ever the optimist). But who knows? Maybe I’ll be inspired along the way and do something radical. We’ll just have to wait and see…..

  • http://www.socalbubble.com Chuck Ponzi

    Don’t rule out a designer just yet. They may not be as expensive as you thought. It’s better to interview a few of them to show you what they have done and how much they charge. You might just end up saving money (and time) by “doing it right the first time” and not making the normal owner-operator missteps.

    It’s like letting a professional diagnose a problem with your car. It doesn’t cost as much to diagnose it properly than it does to fix something needlessly and/or

  • http://www.socalbubble.com Chuck Ponzi

    Sorry, got cut off.

    And/or ruin it by not doing it right. They also communicate with contractors and know contractors that will do it right the first time too.

    Like I said, you may end up saving money if you get a good one with plenty of kitchen remodels. Experience counts with everything.

  • http://sfbay.redfin.com/blog/author/susan.brady susan.brady

    Thanks Chuck. Good to know. It certainly can be a daunting process!

  • ellem

    oooo, goody! Hope you include lots of pics – -

    personally I would opt to design it myself, since I’d be the one using it on a daily basis, plus I;’d be afraid of being steered towards certain trends everyone seems to love but I dont — that being said, I’m a HUGE Ikea fan! A mix-n-match approach is what i’d do — so it wouldn’t look totally like one of their catalogue rooms.

    Please post before/afters, floorplans, etc., this will be interesting since we’ll probably be doing the same too after we buy . .

  • Susan Brady

    Yes, pictures will be coming too. I am walking a fine line, because if I designed my dream kitchen it would not be what would help sell the house. So I have to compromise on a lot – make it usable for my work, but palatable for buyers. A good designer would certainly temper my personal preferences, which could be good. that said, I am going to do all the footwork myself – researching every aspect and narrowing down what I want. If I have too much of a struggle, I may need to consult a designer for help and the final plans.