How to Plan Your Space in a Kitchen Renovation
At Ekko Custom Cabinetry & Design, our designers are often asked to design a great and effective working space. I was reminded of these expectations while reviewing a recent article in the April 29 edition of “Houzz” by Rebekah Zaveloff. The preliminary space-planning and schematic design phase is the most important part of any kitchen renovation. A kitchen can be filled with beautiful materials and finishes, but if the layout and space don’t work well, it’s not a successful design. In kitchens, more than in any other room, a good space plan and flow are critical. Anyone who has tried working in a poorly designed kitchen knows this.
Bigger is not always better. Above and beyond most other considerations, the renovation must fall within a reasonable and affordable budget. Generally, an efficient and well designed layout can be achieved within the confines of most existing spaces without having to involve a burdensome and costly addition. Experience and imagination can create some exceptional designs from existing spaces to provide unexpected utility and design in your home.
When working on a project that’s going to include moving things, opening up walls or doing an addition, I recommend that homeowners work with a kitchen designer or other professional to develop a schematic plan and get preliminary estimates on construction costs. This is a great way to keep your eye on the budget while you finalize the design. Avoid finalizing the design of
your dreams without considering a budget – most people become emotionally tied to their “dream design” and frustrated when desired details must be sacrificed to meet an affordable budget.
1.) Determine a Plan for Your Space Most clients start out with a wish list and a collection of inspiration images. This is a great help in getting started, but try to focus on the space plans before getting too caught up in what the kitchen is going to look like. Space plans can be rough — they’re all about the best layout. You or your designer should try some different options for where the appliances might go for the most efficient and functional design. Consider what is the best layout for your space ? Is your existing or expanded space best suited for an “L-shaped” kitchen with an island OR a ”U-shaped” kitchen OR a “Galley” kitchen ? Each layout possibility will entail a different layout scenario, space requirements and resulting options in your design.
Do you have the space for an eat-in / entertainment feature in your kitchen – do you want these design functions in your kitchen ? Are you moving doors or changing windows ? These plans don’t have to detail where your pots, pans and silverware are going or what colour the cabinets and countertops will be — not yet.
While you are in this preliminary planning stage, consider and research the appliances that you expect to incorporate into your design – there are hundreds of options and a myriad of functions, styles , costs and layout requirements to be considered.
2.) Get Preliminary Estimates Once you have a proposed floor plan (and a written scope of work), most contractors interested in the job will be willing to come over and give you a ballpark estimate. The more info you have, the more accurate the ballpark number. All layout details and pricing estimates are subject to change, but at least you have an idea of costs before you get too emotionally committed. At this point, you can also estimate material costs such as cabinetry, countertops, tile and flooring square footage and so on.
3.) Develop Plans, Elevations and 3D Drawings Now that you’ve got a plan you love, let your designer really detail it out. Drawings will help you visualize what the cabinetry will look like and how the space will function. Note on the plans and drawings where spices, pots and pans, silverware and utensils will go.
Once the placement details are determined, it’s no longer just about the practical and functional issues. Now is when you get to be more creative. Cabinet design is like art because - it’s about the size and shapes of cabinet doors and drawers - the way they relate and intersect. The proportions of fronts and the scale of these fronts in relation to each other, makes all the difference in creating a kitchen design that looks dynamic and interesting.
4.) Plan Materials and Finishes Now that you’re working with more developed drawings, you can visualize what materials are going to go where, as well as the proportions and relation of those materials to each other and to the overall presentation. Details like lighting, plumbing, hardware, textures, colours and the effects of adjacent spaces will be the final considerations in the creation of the space you’ve so eagerly anticipated. Congratulations, you are ready to begin – you’ve set a budget you can afford and created the space of your dreams – let the work begin !!!!
At Ekko Custom Cabinetry and Design, we strive to exceed your expectations. Whatever the reason for your renovation, consider this as an investment in your life and home – do it right the first time – you’ll be rewarded in your quality of life and the ultimate boost in your real estate value. Our custom kitchen and bath design staff can help you through a process that will give you the space you have dreamed of ……. and deserve.
T.E. (Tim) Pressey
Ekko Custom Kitchen Cabinetry and Design of Calgary
32 – 4th Street N.E.
Calgary, Alberta T2E 3R7