Planning ahead is the key to a successful kitchen renovation

Of all the rooms to renovate in your home, the kitchen is perhaps the most complex. Rebuilding it from scratch, however, doesn’t have to be dramatic. In fact, with the right planning, people and perspective, the five phases of a kitchen renovation can be relatively hassle-free.

Phase 1: Real talk, and then plan ahead

Measure twice, cut once. There are many good reasons why carpenters say that. Before you renovate, get into their practical mindset and ask yourself these questions:

1. What do I need in a kitchen? What do I want in a kitchen?
We all know there is a big difference between what is a necessity, and what is desirable. Consider the lifestyle that your home, and your kitchen, should support. A deep understanding of what you need in a kitchen will make the purpose of the space clear.

2. Do I need to renovate, or am I just redecorating?
Once you understand the objectives of your kitchen update, you will get an idea of its scope. A kitchen renovation encapsulates both functional and aesthetic changes. It can include everything from a demo and utility updates to structural changes and decorating.

Redecorating is only a matter of aesthetic updates. Pursuing one or the other is a big difference in terms of time and resources.

3. What am I willing to spend on this renovation?
Establishing a realistic budget ensures your renovation becomes a valuable investment in your home. Not a regret. With it, contractors, suppliers, designers and decorators can make informed decisions about how they can execute your vision. If they aren’t willing, or able, to work within your budget, find someone who can.

4. How much inconvenience am I willing to deal with to achieve my dream kitchen?
Renovations can put a strain on many aspects of life. If you’re unwilling to put up with the inconvenience right now, think about a “lighter” session of redecoration. Then, plan a better time for a full-on renovation in the future.

Don’t proceed to phase-2 until you can answer all of the questions in full. Once you can, you’re ready to start the renovation.

Phase 2: Surround yourself with the right people

To DIY or not to DIY? That is the question. Though DIY instruction abounds on TV and online, a full kitchen renovation should be done by a team of trusted and industry-certified professionals. Contractors, interior architects and tradespeople have the training and experience to make your dreams reality.

That doesn’t mean you can’t do anything yourself. If you have a real knack for organisation – and a passion for acquiring permits – you could be your own project contractor. You can also prepare your own kitchen layout online and connect with suppliers yourself. Decorating is the ideal area to let your creativity shine.

Phase 3: Prepare for the project

Working closely with your interior architect and contractor, you create a design, establish a project plan and secure suppliers and builders. If detailed and realistic, a renovation is actually straightforward. Relatively speaking. Here are some of the details you can expect to plan in advance:

• Floorplan
• Permit application
• Appliance selection
• Materials and hardware sourcing
• Supplier and tradespeople contracts

In addition, consider your living arrangements. If you plan on staying in your home during the renovation, set up a “mini-kitchen” with basic appliances and supplies in another living space. Ensure children understand any potential safety hazards. Consider adding drop sheets to other areas of the home so tradespeople may use the facilities with minimal mess.

Also, prepare yourself. A typical kitchen renovation can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months (not including the planning phase). It’s a marathon.

Phase 4: Build the vision

Here’s where the renovation gets really exciting. Though it may seem complex, for the pros a kitchen renovation is just another day on the job. Here are the steps you can expect to unfold:

1. Demolition, repair and rebuild
2. Installation of new plumbing and electrical
3. Insulation and closing up of the walls
4. Floor installation
5. Cabinetry hanging and countertop installation
6. Appliance, sink, hardware and fixture installation

Phase 5: Have fun with finishing touches

When the builders have left and everything is in place, your kitchen is ready for the finishing touches. Turn up the music, pour yourself a congratulatory beverage and tackle these last-minute to-dos:

• Touch-up the paint
• Finalize the paperwork
• Deep clean the space

True, a kitchen renovation is hard work, but you’ll feel a deep sense of accomplishment when your vision is real.