Kitchen remodel For design phase, its worth getting expert help — The Denver Post

Kitchen remodel For design phase, its worth getting expert help - The Denver Post

Kitchen remodel: For design phase, it’s worth getting expert help

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My friend Shelley’s husband, Mike, raised an eyebrow as I hauled my collection of kitchen- dcor samples into their house: chunks of granite, mosaic and subway tile, paint chips, planks of laminate flooring and two actual cabinet doors.

As a single person, I explained, I don’t have a partner to consult on such decisions and then blame when things go wrong. Instead, I rely on family and friends.

Like the Facebook relationship status, my answer to «Who designed your kitchen?» is «It’s complicated.»

It began with a spring excursion to Ikea’s Centennial store. I liked the product range’s clean lines and good value for the money in its 2014 survey, J.D. Power reported that Ikea cabinets scored highest for customer satisfaction. They also come with a 25-year limited warranty.

So fortified with meatballs, my daughter Sara and I wandered the showrooms and decided on a door style and basic color scheme. We conferred on the bells and whistles that we liked corner carousels, a pantry with slide-out drawers.

«We like you to come in and touch and feel,» said Megan Thompson, local market specialist at Ikea Centennial. «This is going to be in your house for 20 years.»

Sarah Haigney works with an Ikea kitchen design specialist for advice on her kitchen remodel. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post )

Ikea customers can do everything themselves from measurement to installation, or they can choose from a menu of services. Home delivery in the metro area starts at $59; a measurement service is $49; and individual kitchen planning starts at $199.

Installation costs are based on the particular kitchen, Thompson said. You can order cabinets alone, add a counter and appliances or buy everything, down to the spoons.

You can also change your mind if you get in over your head, Thompson said. «We have people come in with a plan half-done. Maybe they have this corner and it’s just not working. We’ll take them wherever they are.»

In my case, independent designer Lindsay Grot of The Design Couple visited my home, took measurements and used the Ikea Kitchen Planner software to develop a couple of proposals. After I chose some ideas from Option A and some from Option B, Grot created a Kitchen Planner file that included elevations, a floor plan and a shopping list with prices.

I amended the plan ( glass doors. a fancier range hood ), then took it to Ikea in person to place my order. A kitchen employee went over the plan, made my requested changes, had it double-checked by another employee and generated a seven-page itemized invoice.

Sarah Haigney works with an Ikea kitchen design specialist for advice on her kitchen remodel. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post )

This phase, by the way, is not one where you should scrimp with your time. Allow at least four hours for the order process. During Ikea kitchen sales, waits grow long for computer stations to work on your plan and people to help you, though they’ll offer to pay for lunch while you wait.

If you’re bringing your order home, you’ll wait again while it’s pulled by a third person and checked in the warehouse by a fourth. But errors at this stage at any store or vendor cost you time, so go with the flow.

A few weeks later, a truck backed up in my driveway and delivered two pallets full of boxes containing everything from ceiling-height cabinet doors to tiny hinges.

Meanwhile, my kitchen and family-room walls were covered with multicolored squares of paint so we could see how the colors looked in changing light. Guiry’s sells Benjamin Moore paint in 1-ounce samplers, so I could dither to my heart’s content. Mt. Rainer Gray was too blue, Artemisia too yellow.

Finally, I spent an afternoon at Floor & Dcor taking smartphone pictures of tile combinations. I uploaded the choices to Facebook and let my opinionated friends weigh in.

They did not let me down: «Good colors, but I prefer shape diversity,» Jean said of the icy-blue glass. «Could look Klimt-like and gorgeous, could look brown and ugly,» Mim said of the glass-and-metalic mix. The one I chose won in a landslide.

Whether you use an independent kitchen designer, a design-build contractor, a store’s design service or your own inner circle to put your kitchen plan together, you accept an element of risk.

Before the project even began, I had thousands of dollars of material stacked in my garage. I could only cross my fingers and pray that my semi-crowdsourced kitchen design would look OK once the last door handle was on.

Contact Lisa Greim at lisa@be-crisp.com

Getting kitchen design right: Four essential steps

1. Consider your existing kitchen.

Kitchen remodel For design phase, its worth getting expert help - The Denver Post

What do you like? What makes you nuts?

In my case, I liked my east-facing patio door and garden window, my smooth-top range, which served as extra counter space, and my French-door refrigerator. The work triangle worked well (which was great, because I couldn’t afford to change it).

What I didn’t like: dark oak cabinets, dropped ceiling, fluorescent lighting, the half-wall between kitchen and family room and the white vinyl floors. Blind corner cabinets into which I used to send small children to retrieve missing items. A layout that provided only one useful workspace.

2. Use free resources.

I checked out books from the library, tore photos out of magazines and store brochures, visited model homes and haunted kitchen showrooms across the metro area. Hint: When the salesperson asks if he or she can help you, say yes and tell them about your project. Many of these folks have years of experience and product knowledge they’re happy to share.

Kelly Morisseau’s «Kelly’s Kitchen Sync» (Springline Press, 2011) was the most useful resource I found for understanding and managing the process. Based on her blog, the book is full of practical advice for creating a new kitchen, from how to choose contractors to common design mistakes.

3. Scour the Web.

The website Houzz has thousands of photos from designers, vendors and homeowners that you can save to «ideabooks,» where you can note what you like about them. Local professionals use the site to show off their work and attract customers, and the forums and Q&As had lots of useful info. Use Pinterest or Evernote to gather design ideas, products and color schemes as you surf.

The website Homewyse calculates service and material costs for more than 800 home projects, making it a good resource for budgeting and comparison-shopping. Enter the job size and ZIP code, and answer a few questions about scope and quality. Similar calculators exist on store sites such as Home Depot and Floor & Decor.

4. Get professional help.

Houzz and HomeAdvisor (formerly ServiceMagic) are great resources for designers and contractors. Ask neighbors, real-estate agents, and anybody whose home you admire for recommendations.

Lisa Greim

A kitchen display at Ikea’s Centennial store. (Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post )


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