Great Improvements for Your Kitchen

I’ve owned four homes in my life and I’ve gutted and remodeled four kitchens. Now that I’m on my fifth residence, I’m ready to stun the close observers of my remodeling forays and invigorate this kitchen in a completely different manner.

I’m going to make the improvements one at a time rather than all at once.

Economic reality may harness your kitchen remodeling ideas…

I can hear the gasps of astonishment now. People are going to remind me of what I said many times over the years – and what is fundamentally true about remodeling projects in general: One thing leads to another.

If you’re going to rip out the cabinets, you might as well replace the countertops. If you’re going to replace the countertops, you might as well restructure the island. And as long as you’re making that big of a mess, you might as well replace the floor, too.

The calming influence of experience may help me silence the naysayers; the entire kitchen will get done eventually, just not as quickly as I might like. That’s what I will say. But this time around, I really have no choice but to tackle one improvement at a time. It’s an economic necessity.

…but force you to view them with greater purpose

I’ve never been the whiny type, so moping about this predicament would be anathema to me.  In fact, I feel grateful for this economic reality, for it has forced me to think about kitchen remodeling ideas in new ways – remembering how each kitchen improvement I’ve made over the years altered the look of my kitchen in its own distinctive way.

Yes, I was like many other people who view a kitchen in its entirety – much like they would admire a full-course Italian dinner spread out on a buffet table. But this time around, it’s invigorating to look at what I call the “big three” improvements with singular focus and purpose – akin to looking at that buffet table and deciding, “You know what? I think I can make a meal out of that fetching minestrone soup.”

Since revealing my shocking new approach to a few trusted people, I’ve tripped on another revealing insight: many people view their outdated or rundown kitchen as an all-or-nothing proposition; replace all of it or replace none of it. And when they are restrained by money, they often embark on none of it.

Not me, not ever. I’d rather make “piecemeal” improvements over time – ideally with one trusted and reliable remodeling company that will work with me (and not try to speed up my deadline). With the advantage of hindsight, I can see how each of the “big three” kitchen improvements pack an enormous aesthetic and mood-altering punch – and are worth doing one at a time.

Must-Have Kitchen Improvement: Cabinet Refacing

What experience has taught me: Some people may say kitchen remodeling begins with choosing a color or style. I think the defining element is cabinets, which set the entire tone for a kitchen. Unfortunately, I was overeager during my first two kitchen remodeling projects – ripping out structurally sound cabinets when refacing the fronts would have given me the new look I wanted while saving me a small fortune in labor costs. I will never make this mistake again.

Must-Have Kitchen Improvement: Countertops

What experience has taught me: I learned a long time ago how to make do with worn and dated counters; I covered every inch of bare space with colorful placemats. Now that counters can be resurfaced – much like cabinets are refaced – there is no dusty, time-consuming installation. The affordability factor of counter resurfacing has put the prospect of beautiful, sturdy, and stain-resistant counters not far into my future.  In my opinion, it is among the greatest kitchen improvement ideas of the last 15 years.

Must-Have Kitchen Improvement: Island

What experience has taught me: Too many kitchen islands pose obstructions – smack-dab in the way of opened refrigerator or oven doors or serving as a blockade to natural walkways. Islands can go anywhere in a kitchen, and sometimes they’re best suited up against a wall. As long as they’re contiguous to a counter, they’re close to the center of the action. A creative remodeling company will work with you so that an island is functional and doesn’t look jammed into an already tight area.

I know – and know well – the satisfied feeling of demolishing a kitchen and basically starting over from the bare walls. But I can only hope it won’t be long before I hear different gasps of astonishment – the type that convey the understanding that taking on these kitchen remodeling projects one at a time makes them stand out all the more than if they were undertaken all at once.

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