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Top 5 Tips for Your Kitchen Remodel

Interior Designer Rachel Hulan shares her top five tips for your next kitchen remodel. As an interior designer in Southern California for the last 18 years, Rachel has worked on projects as diverse as television shows, science centers, private residences and master planned communities, developing a broad base of knowledge from which to consult interior designers, architects, home owners, and real estate developers.

Tip #1 | Consider how you really live and cook

This is tip #1 for a reason; it’s so important! So many times I have met with new clients who hand me a list of all the bells and whistles they “need” in their kitchen, but when I start to ask questions about their cooking, entertaining, and eating habits, we find that they really don’t need almost half of the items on that list. For instance, just because you “need” the latest and greatest industrial strength stand mixer doesn’t mean you are suddenly going to turn out fancy homemade cupcakes for the kids every weekend once you have it. If you have a passion for baking, but have been struggling with a hand mixer for the last few years, then allocating valuable countertop real estate and funds to that sort of purchase makes sense.
By evaluating your cooking and eating habits, and designing your kitchen accordingly, you’ll achieve a more efficient kitchen flow. For example, if entertaining is important to you, consider incorporating a wet bar area near the edge of your kitchen. Add a modular beverage center or wine refrigerator, which allows guests and family to help themselves to beverages without interrupting the kitchen meal prep.

Tip #2 | Plan for “stations” with different functions

Do you make smoothies or fresh squeezed juices frequently? Imagine how convenient it would be to have all your fruits and veggies to prep fresh juices and smoothies readily available without needing to walk across the kitchen. Place a modular refrigerator filled with fruits and veggies near your prep sink to reduce messes during smoothie and juice preparation and increase the efficiency of your kitchen flow.
One way to create efficient kitchen choreography is to replace your conventional ‘big-box’ refrigerator with multiple modular refrigerators strategically placed throughout your space. U-Line offers undercounter refrigerators, beverage centers, wine storage units, freezers, and ice makers designed for creating a modular kitchen. Click here to see the full collection of products.

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Tip #3 | Find your professional team

Great design demands a great team. Once you’ve decided you are ready to take on a kitchen remodel, start asking local friends and family who have had similar work done (and were happy with the results), the names of who they worked with as designer and contractor. Then add to your list of potential team members by looking at design websites such a Houzz, as well as your local NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association) and ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) chapter websites. Narrow your list down to two or three qualified candidates, and then take the time to interview them. Remember, you will be spending a lot of time working with these people, so finding those who will listen to you and follow through is absolutely key.

Tip #4 | Measure, measure, measure!

If you are shopping for your new appliances, rather than using a designer, ensure you have accurate cabinetry measurements. Nearly all appliance manufacturers offer product spec sheets for download on their websites. Nothing is worse than getting your cabinetry installed, only to find that your newly delivered range won’t fit in the space allocated for it. This is why communication and planning are so crucial. If you know the exact appliance models you are interested in, share that information with your designer as soon as possible. This allows the designer to accurately account for the needed space, saving you heartache and money later down the line.

Tip #5 | Don’t rush into construction

The worst thing you can do with a kitchen remodel is jump right into construction. Running around from tile showroom to tile showroom, trying to find a backsplash tile you love, AND one that is in stock, all the while your cabinets are getting installed, is a stressful way to get the kitchen of your dreams.
They best way to realize your dream kitchen is through planning and communication. Begin by getting your designer, your general contractor, and all of your family who might have a say, to sit down to what the industry calls a “charrette”. This is the meeting to solidify the initial ideas and start creating a design strategy. Then, allow your designer to come up with an initial design, and review with your team. Then eventually review the final plan, including all of the materials, appliances, cabinetry, and fixture selections. Once everything is on paper, and only then, it is time to get the construction party started!

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