A Designer Shares her Strategies

As an interior designer I have a lot of experience in helping clients plan their renovations. I take a practical approach to planning and budgeting to help my clients, which I outline below. I think it’s important to get to know my clients and their property a little bit before we dive into the discussions of materials to use and the cost of renovations.

Get to Know the Project

I believe there are two important things about the home to look at before we begin to discuss a kitchen renovation:

  1. The size of the kitchen in relation to the overall home. A galley kitchen in a four bedroom home might need some rethinking; as well, a huge gourmet chef’s kitchen in a small home might need some adjustments.
  2. Real estate values in the area to make sure that the kitchen renovation doesn’t price you out of the market should you wish to sell later.

Get to Know the Homeowner

We determine the scope of the project and identify what the client’s budget is and we take some measurements. Then I spend time getting to know the client, learn about their style and how they use their kitchen. This allows me to offer practical advice.

Needs vs. Wants

Once I know the general scope of the kitchen renovation, we turn our attention to the specifics of what the client is looking for in their new kitchen. This is the time to discuss needs vs. wants. What you absolutely need in your kitchen has to be in the budget. What you want in your kitchen can be adjusted to fit your budget. If you are thinking about a kitchen renovation, I recommend you work on this list. It can be fun and it will help make decisions during the planning process.

Staying on Budget

You will find that most of the cost of a kitchen renovation is in the materials. A common misconception is that if you are paying more for something, it must be better. This is not always true. In the case of cabinets, for example, the difference between grades in a line of cabinets may be functionality rather than quality. You will pay more for unique features, but if you won’t use those features there is no need to pay more for them. Smart design and budget-friendly materials can make a great statement without breaking the bank. I help my clients evaluate options to work within the budget while getting their “needs” and, where possible, their “wants”.

Make Lasting Choices

An important way to make sure your new kitchen will make you happy for many years is to avoid choosing trendy big elements in your space. Choose classic and timeless materials for the big elements of your kitchen (e.g., flooring, countertops, and cabinets) and incorporate the trends you like in smaller ways, like paint color, decorative accents, hardware and lighting. These items can be updated more easily at a lower expense.

A Timeless Choice

One big element and timeless choice is a high quality natural stone or quartz countertop. A granite, marble, quartzite, soapstone, or quartz from The BGE Quartz Collection will give your kitchen renovation a classic look that you’ll be happy with for years to come.

Boston Granite Exchange has a variety of beautiful stones to meet every budget. The kitchen countertop and island are typically focal points of a kitchen, and Boston Granite Exchange offers many beautiful options to choose from.

Bring in the Contractor

Once we have narrowed down the design aspects and selected materials, we bring in the contractor and share all the plans. This allows the contractor to put together a clear and typically quite accurate cost estimate. I prefer to start with the overall budget rather than pricing the job by the square foot – I find the square foot method can flex too much during the project.

The “Fun” Part: Shopping

Once we put together the timeline and schedules, we get to the fun part. Shopping for specific colors and textures and the final choices that will make up your kitchen.

Then you get to sit back and watch it all come together. And once it does, you’ll enjoy your kitchen for years to come.

Colleen Farias is a Seacoast New England Interior Designer and small business owner of Cider Street Designs www.ciderstreetdesigns.com. She loves crafting beautiful spaces. Her signature looks are timeless, unexpected and affordable.