Does your kitchen look like a place where June, Ward, Wally and The Beav would feel right at home? Are your Formica countertops worthy of Alice and the Brady kids gathering around?
Maybe it’s time for an update.
Let’s Get Started
To begin an Anchorage kitchen remodel, keep in mind that it is a much more complicated process than redecorating a bedroom. Shelling out a little extra money for a kitchen remodel contractor is a good investment, as he or she can help stretch your budget, maximize your kitchen’s potential and avoid do-it-yourself pitfalls.
So, why exactly do you want to remodel? Do you need more counter space? Do you want a better flow to your kitchen? Does your kitchen need to be brought into the 21st Century? Express your reasons to your designer, and then get down to your style. Cut out pictures in magazines, visit home expos, take pictures of friends’ homes that you like – anything to let your designer see your taste and style. You will also want to express your needs. Do you have a large family to cook for? Are you a gourmet cook? Do you have a handicap that requires special accommodations?
Budget…..and Stick to It
With all of your ideas on the table, it’s time to get down to the biggie – budget. Determine how much you are willing to spend on the entire project; what, if anything, you are willing to borrow; and where you want the majority of your money spent.
When working out your budget, expect to spend 10% more than you planned. Rare is the home improvement project that doesn’t have unexpected expenses. Plus, there will inevitably be some little detail that you forgot to include.
Since money is the largest hurdle for most of us, start paring down your wishes, and focus on the essentials first. You can always make upgrades later, as you can afford them. For example, opening up a galley-style kitchen by knocking down an unnecessary wall will be costly, but an eat-in kitchen will add more value to your home than a new stainless steel refrigerator. Go for the remodel first and upgrade the refrigerator later.
With that in mind, go for the best products your budget will allow, especially if you have no immediate plans of moving. Buying quality in the beginning will keep you from replacing, say, a cheap countertop, within just a few years.
To get the most for your money, the National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends the following:
- Visit a showroom to see exactly what you are buying and inspect quality.
- Have retailers, designers, contractors, etc. visit your home. Get a detailed quote in writing.
- Deposits are usually no more than 25% of the project. Get a written schedule of payments.
- Be wary of anyone that asks for full payment up front.
- Read any contracts carefully. Some “Terms and Conditions” have expensive cancellation fines.
Leave it to the Pros
When shopping for Anchorage contractors ask for references and call them. Visit, if you can. Check with your state’s attorney general’s office or the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints. Get a number of quotes. Don’t accept a flat price, without knowing exactly what each aspect of the contractor’s job will cost – in writing. Give the quote a few days. Not only do you need time to mull over the quote, the contractor needs time to properly price his work. Ask about schedules. Know when he can start the job and if it gels with your schedule on product arrivals and deadlines.
Although it is necessary to hire a professional for the major renovations, like electrical and plumbing work, you can save money by doing some projects yourself, such as removing old cabinets or flooring, and painting or wallpapering. However, be careful about tearing out walls without knowing where wiring and pipes are located, or removing old insulation, which can contain asbestos. Save on labor costs by removing everything that is in the way of the remodel, keeping the work area clean and accurately scheduling deliveries.
Make a Plan
Believe it or not, there is a simple formula to planning a kitchen. Have you ever noticed that the stove, refrigerator and sink locations are almost predictable, whether the kitchen is L-shaped, U-shaped or galley style?
Preparing food, cooking and cleaning up are the three main functions in the kitchen. The area from the refrigerator to the stove to the sink is known as the “work triangle.” Studies have shown that in the most efficient kitchens, the three legs of the work triangle add up to at least 12 feet but no more than 23 feet. The size and shape of your kitchen will determine the type of work triangle that fits best. In a large kitchen, an island is great way to keep your appliances within a workable distance.
When planning, consider your needs within that triangle. Do you need a cooking utensil drawer by the stove? Do you need a prep area by the sink? Do you prefer to have the microwave over the stove for easy defrosting? Is there adequate counter space by the refrigerator for groceries? Because the sink is used more than any other feature, it should take the center position of the triangle, if possible.
If you are starting from scratch, now’s the time to think about specialty features, like roll-out trash cans and under cabinet lighting. Measure your space to get a general idea of what cabinets you want and where you want them. Also, make sure that there is plenty of counter space next to any appliance.
To extend the life of your kitchen, or any other room you want to tackle, you may want to consider incorporating universal design – features that are versatile enough to accommodate every family member, at every stage of life. Some examples include increasing the size of walk spaces to allow for a wheelchair or installing wing-style faucets handles that don’t require wrist-twisting.
Finally, include the extras in your plan. You may have to move a window seat down to the bottom of your priority list, but at least it’s there, in writing, for a future project. And, you never know. With the right professionals, you may get everything you want and stick to your budget.
Selecting the right Anchorage construction and general contractor may seem like a challenge. There are a lot of questions to ask, and indeed many different contractors to choose from. If you are looking for a qualified construction company in the Anchorage area, contact Crighton & Cooper Construction. Please feel free to ask any of the above questions (or others). We are happy to provide you with all of the information you may need for you to feel confident in choosing us for your construction needs.