You have committed to renovating your kitchen, you have a design in place, appliances selected, and have considered the style and look you wish to achieve. But there are still numerous details that need to be coordinated and thoughtfully implemented to ensure a smooth, successful project.
It is an asset to have a designer and a contractor who work well together and communicate well with each other, as well as with their clients, for a seamless project with minimal hiccups and interruptions.
It is best to have a clear floor plan to work by, noting any required changes in framing, locations of walls, windows and openings. Details such as the size of trim, crown mouldings, wainscoting and baseboard dimensions are important to achieve the desired finished product. If you are taking the cabinetry to the ceiling, it is crucial to ensure that the ceiling is level.
As a designer, I will typically provide a detailed electrical plan for the contractor or customer, as I have reviewed the appliances they wish to incorporate, as well as discussed lighting and switch locations. Lighting is key both from a practical point of providing adequate task lighting, as well as setting the ambience and mood of the space. If a proper electrical plan with detailed dimensions is implemented and followed, costs (as well as timing) will be contained. These are the next details to consider, as mechanicals (electrical, plumbing and venting) are the first tradesmen in after the framing alterations are completed. Heating beneath a tile or engineered wood floor would also need to be planned for this at this stage.
Other flooring details to consider are the transitions between different materials from one space to another to keep heights consistent. What colour grout will you choose if you’ve selected tile as a material? Would you like a border or accent within the floor? If you are choosing hardwood in a kitchen, it is best to select a hardwood floor with no bevel, for ease of cleaning.
Thought also needs to be given to the ducting for the range or cooktop, how large the duct will be, how far the run will be, how many elbows and where (or whether) it will exhaust to the exterior.
When you have a completed design, consider what accessories you want to build inside the cabinetry. I advocate the use of many drawers in a kitchen design. They maximize storage space and make those spaces more accessible. The most popular items to consider are cutlery drawers, spice drawers or pull out units for spices, slide out shelves, tray dividers, garbage and or recycling centers, and whether you would like any glass cabinets or open shelves for displaying items. Do you want an area to hide your small countertop appliances when they are not in use? Do you like to have a television in the kitchen when you are working? These details need to be considered when drawing your electrical plan.
Depending on the layout of your kitchen, you may need to know what the hardware choices of the cabinetry are, to accommodate clearances in corners. Cabinet hardware needs to be functional — make sure it is comfortable and easy to open, as well as aesthetically pleasing. Consider hinges that open more than 90 degrees. Some hinges are available with a soft close feature — you just give the door a push and it softly closes.
Drawer tracks are another consideration. A full extension track will give better access to the back of drawers. Some drawer tracks are mounted underneath the drawer to allow a bit more width to each drawer. These also have the option of a soft close feature. (No drawer slamming allowed …)
Cabinet installation is a very important step in the project, as the quality of the installation is very evident in the finished product. The cabinets should be scribed to the existing walls. The installers can be creative to accommodate issues that arise on site, as there are literally hundreds of parts and pieces that make up a kitchen. (It is something like a jigsaw puzzle when it arrives at your house!)
If you have decided on a solid surface countertop (granite, marble, quartz or soapstone for example), once the cabinets are installed the countertop will need to be templated and then taken away to fabricate. Usually this adds 2–3 weeks to the length of your project.
The last detail to be completed in a kitchen renovation is the backsplash. Will you choose tile, glass, stone, granite? Often it is easiest to leave this decision until everything else is in place so you can visualize the finished effect.
Once your appliances are installed (and manuals read) it is time to get cookin’! Bon appétit!