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B*tchin’ Kitchen

Thinking of taking on a kitchen reno? Follow these steps for a seamless overhaul.

There’s a reason every great party ends up in the kitchen. It’s quite literally the life force of the home. Heck, that’s where you stash the food, right? But beyond that, the kitchen is also an integral expression point in your home because so much living happens there. “It’s where cooking, socializing, homework and a host of other events occur,” says Geri Higgins, president and CEO of Portfolio Kitchen & Home in Kansas City. To design a great kitchen, Higgins says creating the right aesthetic from the start is key. Here’s how:

1.Know yourself
Functionality and organization are two main considerations in any reno, says Higgins. You should also think about details, such as lighting, flooring, sinks and storage ahead of time. “You can make a kitchen beautiful,” Higgins says, but if it doesn’t meet your needs then it’s just a lovely, useless space.”

2.Hire a designer
It’s not that you can’t pull off a reno without design input—it’s that you probably shouldn’t. According to Alykhan Velji of Alykhan Velji Designs in Calgary, there are a lot of variables in kitchen design, many of them unforeseen until late in the renovation process. “Having someone with expertise to help determine the best layout for your kitchen ensures that the space is crafted for your needs and style from the start.” What’s more, they can even help a botched remodel. “It’s never too late to bring in a designer. They can take a space that may seem unfixable and reinvent it,” he says. (See Alykhan Velji’s kitchen designs in “Small Kitchen, Big Impact” on pg TK for a great example of a post-build design project that transformed a simple, open concept condo-kitchen and great room into a high-impact living space.)

3.Budget accordingly
Let’s face it: We all want the bells, the whistles and the shiny things. Unfortunately, they often come at gasp-inducing costs. To avoid overspending, create a list of your must-haves, from appliances and cabinets to faucets and flooring, and source prices for each. “Add these to your budget first and then decide if the frilly things are worth investing in,” says Velji.

4.Light it up
Simply put, lighting is critical for any kitchen renovation. Higgins says pot lights are great for general brightness while decorative pendants and fixtures add style to the room. As for under-cabinet lighting? “I encourage clients to consider it as it provides excellent task lighting for preparing and cooking food while also highlighting a beautiful counter and backsplash.”

5.Use statement pieces
Whether it’s an island made from reclaimed wood, a varnished concrete floor or a mixed metal faucet, make an effort to incorporate at least one unexpected piece of design in your space. “Adding pieces that differ from the general design makes a statement, and they also help transition spaces throughout your home,” says Higgins. “Having a dose of eclectic design in each room just makes a room more interesting.”

-by Liz Bruckner