TIPS – Things to Never do When Renovating Your Kitchen or Bathroom

Custom Kitchen Cabinets Calgary - Kitchen Cabinets Calgary AB

At Ekko Custom Cabinetry & Design, we’ve seen a number of scenarios unfold in the kitchen or bathroom renovations we’ve participated in. There are a million and one things to consider when planning a remodeling project. Most will have a significant impact on the value of your home and your emotional well-being – now and for years to come. It doesn’t matter how functional or “current” your new space is if you don’t like and feel comfortable in that new space. It will eat at you every day!  So we put together this list of Tips - "Things to Never do When Renovating Your Kitchen or Bathroom."

An article from April 21, 2016 by Mitchell Parker ( of the “Houzz” Editorial Staff ) was recently revisited in “From Our Most Popular Stories”  files in Houzz. Many of the situations reminded me of real circumstances that we now take for granted but might be invaluable considerations for those setting out on their first big renovation.

We hope these reminders prove worthwhile and if we can be of any assistance, please contact us:

  1. Never sign a contract / agreement without reading it – read the whole agreement. Understand what you are reading and signing. If you have any questions, ask for clarification ! Make sure everything you were verbally promised appears in writing. Review all design schematics and when you are perfectly clear on the details, sign and date every page.
  2. Never let someone start a job in or on your home without a written, detailed contract.
  3. Avoid hiring relatives to help you renovate. When something does not go as expected, it can become a disaster and you probably don’t want family relationships involved – hire someone who can guarantee their work in writing.
  4. Ask for references. Check out “Testimonials” from clients who have employed this contractor. A few “issues” may not give an accurate indication BUT a significant percentage should tell the story.
  5. Never take the lowest bid to save money. Go with your “gut” – it usually knows what feels right for you. Set a realistic budget for the project you are about to undertake
  6. Don’t do “cheap”. If you can’t afford it now, wait ! In the long run you will end up saving money because when you invest in quality and plan properly,  you don’t have to replace it. When you select reputable products , suppliers and trades, you will get the renovation you expect and deserve.
  7. Never do something because it is “trendy” – do it because you love it. Trends can be exactly that …. trends – these are meant to be replaced within a few years with the next new trend.
  8. Here is a tip from “Amy Wolff Interiors” – never design by committee. Your friends, relatives, neighbours, etc. aren’t paying for it and don’t have to live in it - you are and do ! Get what you love. Also, a designer is not a personal shopper. If you are looking for the cheapest , best price or bargain, hire a personal shopper or surf the web yourself.
  9. One person’s “never” may be another’s “always”. Never assume what is right for you, your taste, your budget or your situation - is right for everyone.
  10. Never assume your expectations and vision are obvious and understood to be industry performance or design standards. Make sure you verbalize your expectations and your vision of a finished product or design … and make sure this vision is understood by the contractor you are hiring.
  11. Design your space around things you are likely to replace down the road. Make those possible intentions understood to your designer. What you consider and design for in this design exercise, can more easily be accommodated when you eventually acquire those “wished for” items.
  12. If you are creating your dream kitchen or bathroom for the next 20 years – consider access as you age. Accessibility options that may seem frivolous now, may prove incredibly practical in later years.
  13. Remember, design trends (and colours) are often just that …. trends. Remember the saying “what is old is new again” and the likelihood that the reverse can be applied. There is a massive industry solely focused on creating new trends – some are timely … some are timeless. Make selections you  love and can easily live with through all the beckoning “fads”.
  14. Do your research – whether this is a “DIY” project or you are working with experienced designers or trades-people, you should do some research before a project gets underway. Gathering ideas, selecting a colour pallet and researching aspects of your renovation project can help you envision and express your dream design.
  15. Look into building code and permit requirements , or at least make sure your contractor addresses these regulations. There will be permits you need to obtain for most electrical updating and / or for additions to existing structures. Get a Guide to Building permits for your location or municipality.

Set a REALISTIC timeline for your project !  Remember to allow a reasonable consideration for “Murphy” with some consideration for “O’toole’s Commentary”  (that is, Murphy was an optimist.)


It is much better and less stressful to plan and finalize your design before starting the work. Design shows on TV might lead you to believe that a significant interior makeover can be completed in 3 to 30 days - realistically, this process can easily take 3 to 6 months  if  all issues are resolved before starting . Consider the time between when you decide to begin construction and when the relevant trades and materials will be available. A thorough design process alone should be given 2 to 6 months.

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

(403) 263-3556

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