I’ve done many renovation projects for and with clients in my years of business.
I’ve come up with this list of the top six mistakes that I hear about and deal with during renovations. If you can get past these, I’m sure you’ll have a successful project!
…counting down the top six kitchen renovation mistakes…
6. Not wanting to get a permit
If you’re not moving any electrical or plumbing then you don’t need a permit. Your project falls into the ‘face-lift’ not reno category.
If your plan calls for a major design shift and we’re moving plumbing, electrical, walls, etc. don’t skimp on the permit. Depending on the scope of work, building permits currently start as low as @ $18.50 per $1000.00 value of construction.
It really is there to protect you in case of any future catastrophes. Inspectors know who’s doing good work and who isn’t. It’s in your best interest, to have as many good people on your team, to protect your investment.
Another point to consider is that your insurance company most likely will not cover you in case of a fire or flood if they consider the work to be done ‘on the sly’ or ‘under the table’.
You probably wouldn’t build a house without getting it inspected, right? Then why take the risk when you’re moving or altering important building infrastructure?
5. Not being realistic about spatial considerations
If you really want that big monster of a fridge or that professional six-burner cooktop but you’re not prepared to add on or take space from another room, something else is gonna have to give (e.g. less countertop, less storage).
That said, I cannot in good conscience create a design if we don’t even meet basic functioning standards for kitchens. The other thing I get asked a lot for is islands. There are minimum space requirements to get an island in a kitchen, and unless you meet those minimum requirements you’re probably not going to get an island.
4. Being ‘too trendy’—unless you have loads of money to spend!
Jumping onto the latest bandwagon may not be in your best interest if you’re on a bit of a budget. If you’re trying to stay ahead of ‘the Joneses’ be aware that kitchen trends last about five years max.
So while you’re falling in love with the all-grey trend, just remember it will get ‘old’ before you do.
3. Not considering adjacent rooms when selecting the ‘new look’ for your renovation
This piggy-backs on the ‘too trendy’ comment above.
If you’re living in a home where the architectural style is quite evident (e.g. Tudor, Georgian, Federal, Colonial, etc.) and you’re in need of a new kitchen (or insert other room here), it’s probably not a good idea to put in a super modern red lacquered Italian kitchen.
Nothing screams reno more than incorporating incongruous selections in this type of classic environment. Doing so will only serve to disassociate your kitchen from any and all the other rooms in the house and make it look out of place, not to mention hurt the value of your home.
So please be considerate of your home’s style. If you don’t know exactly what you’re working with or what it’s called, please call us and we’ll help you sort it out. A two-hour consultation is the least of your investment worries.
On the other hand, if you’re planning on ripping the whole house back to the studs and starting over I would still caution you to balance your home’s style with your ‘wish list’. There is a fine line, and a balance to be struck, when mixing modern and traditional elements and most people aren’t skilled at creating that yin-yang relationship.
You don’t want to end up with a hot mess, disappointed, and a lot of money down the drain.
2. Choosing the wrong finishes or colours for materials
A great example of where this sometimes goes wrong is with white or cream-coloured kitchens. Countertops, tile, marble and paint colours (just to name a few)—while all in the white or cream family—all behave differently under the same lighting. They all have different undertones that sometimes just don’t work together when so close together in a room.
It’s imperative that you look at all of your selected materials during different times of the day—or at least in the morning light and evening light—and, if you can, under whatever type of new lighting you’re putting in (LED, vintage, or other).
Choosing materials in the store does not guarantee they will look the same in your space.
Material finishes (e.g. glossy or matte) also behave differently under different types of lighting. Glossy finishes tend to reflect whatever other colour is around them. If you want a shiny white countertop and glossy red cabinet, your countertop might take on a ‘blush’ shade in certain areas when viewed from different angles or under different lighting.
Another consideration is the orientation of the windows in the room (i.e. north, south, east, west). Different light spectrums from different orientations will affect the colours of your selections for your kitchen.
…and the #1 kitchen renovation mistake I see too often is…
1. Buying appliances before the floor plan and space layout are even considered or drawn and approved
Please don’t do this. Most people do not have an appreciation for space, the actual physical footprint and the volume that appliances take up.
By all means, tell me what your preferences are and I will do my best to get you what you want, but maybe that 48” wide fridge is just not gonna fit in your small kitchen. You might have to compromise and go with a 36” fridge. The same goes for your range or cooktop.
As a designer, I must work within the appliance manufacturer’s clearance specifications for a variety of reasons:
- Complying with local building codes
- For your appliance to function correctly
- So I don’t void your warranty
- So as not to burn your house down
If you are wanting to renovate a small kitchen, click here to read about how to choose the right fridge.
Ready to renovate your kitchen and avoid costly mistakes?
Contact us to get started.