Gut Reaction



Done right….a kitchen can handle any decor you can dream up. The question is are you ready for the renovation of the most important room in your home?

Most of us have a kitchen.  Many say it is the heart of the home.  We want to suggest it is more than that…it is also the brain.  Kitchens of today have to function at warp speed.  They are our grand central stations allowing everyone to meet before dispersing for the day. They are busier than any restaurant, offering everything from a quick pop tart to a 5 course “I want to be a chef!” labor of love.  Daily homework, craft projects and bill paying take place somewhere in the vicinity.  Too many of our electronics are charging all over the counters. Pet’s are hanging around hoping someone remembers it is their kitchen too.   Kitchen’s usually are full of both laughter and tears.  We can’t think of any other room in our homes as important.  Because kitchen projects are number one on every ones to do list, it’s safe to say we might also have a little “kitchen obsession” going on.

During initial consultations, with clients centered around kitchen projects, we hear one of two things….

 “I love my kitchen and want the rest of the house to feel as welcoming!” 


(more likely)

“I hate my kitchen.  I am exhausted spending all my free time online looking at ideas.  Help!”

If you are in the later group and considering a major kitchen renovation, you are in a large group.  Full kitchen renovations are expensive. Even kitchen facelifts can be costly.  Planning and implementing a kitchen renovation requires more work that showing a contractor one of your many inspiration photos.  Here is our shameless plug…this is a good time to hire a full service designer.  Someone who will be the “glue” in the project to make sure all goes as planned.  Architectural Digest recently published this wonderful article (questions below) about what to ask yourself (or have your designer ask you) if you are considering a kitchen renovation.  Let’s  look at some great kitchen examples as we consider the “gut” of your most important space.




1. What is your objective?

“Are you planning to sell your home in three years? Are you intending to spruce up for that sale? Or are you looking to have all the bells and whistles?”


2. How long do you plan to live in the home?

“If you’re going to be living there for one or two years, you probably want to consider a different type of renovation, something that’s maybe not as costly or something that’s more timeless and traditional in the aesthetic that’s chosen by your design team.” “If you’re going to be living there a little bit longer, then naturally you’ll be spending a bit more and designing something that you really love.”

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Mommies Magazine

3. Do you have children?

“If so, where are you going to store everything? Are you going to have a kitchen with a magnetic board; do you hang your children’s artworks?” Resilient, easy-to-clean materials, whether wood or stone, are also ideal for kid-friendly kitchens.

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Rutland, UK

4. Do you have allergies and health issues to consider?

If someone in your family suffers from asthma or other breathing issues, let your contractor know. “Things that are important to stay away from if you do have any of those concerns are high-gloss lacquers and urea and phenol formaldehyde, which are used in the adhesives of most plywoods.”

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Boswell Construction

5. Will you be living in your home during the renovation?

“It adds to the lead time and the construction duration, so that’s something that’s very important to know. It also adds to the level of protection and cleanliness that needs to be maintained in the renovation.”



6. What is your budget?

“This question has to be something that’s first answered for yourself, so you understand what amount of money you want to spend, but it’s important to be honest with the people on your design team, and your contractors, about what that number is.” Once you have a number, add a 10 to 20 percent contingency.

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Westmere House

7. What have people in similar homes accomplished, and what have been their limitations?

“What I always encourage on first meetings, in New York City especially, is that you invite your building’s superintendent,”.  “Getting to the answer of ‘Can we do it?’ sooner rather than later is very, very helpful in the process.” Research local zoning laws, landmark preservation rules, and yard setbacks, too.

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HJ White

8. Can you remove that wall to open up the kitchen?

“It’s very easy to ask the building’s superintendent or other people within the building that may have completed renovations. It’s also great to schedule walk-through with those people to see what they’ve done.”

Opening closed floor plans is what 75% of owners and prospective buys want.  They’d like to be able to have each area connected to the next.  Completely removing walls can be costly.  Making openings wider or adding large passthrus can achieve open concepts without the expense of a total gut and rebuild.  Plan the openings on paper in a scaled plan before talking with a tradespersons.  This is not a good time for assumptions.



9. What’s behind those walls?

“Are there utilities that limit the amount of wall that can be removed safely?”



10. When can we get started?

“I always say that a well-planned project is a well-executed project,” “Take the time with the architecture and/or design team to properly plan everything that you’re doing. Source your long-lead materials and purchase them in advance.”

To recap, yes, we understand the kitchen is the room in our home that always pulls at our heartstrings. We want it to look great as it takes care of us everyday.  To all the kitchens out there …we say thank you for sharing your love.

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S Zarin Goldberg

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