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Our Remodeling Your Kitchen Experts

Vern Yip

Vern Yip

Designer for TLC's hit show "Trading Spaces"

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Susan Serra

Susan Serra

Certified kitchen designer and NKBA member

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Janice Anne Costa

Janice Anne Costa

Editor of Kitchen and Bath Design News

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Top 5 Things to Do

Remodeling your kitchen can be a daunting task. The detailed, often invasive process can require a vast commitment of mental energy, time and finances. It's not something you do on a whim. From catalogs to TV shows, magazines to showrooms, it's easy to get inundated with ideas and suggestions. Here are some tips to help you tackle the project and, once the dust has settled, have a space that will be functional yet inviting for years to come.

1. Have a plan.

With the seemingly infinite choices of color, materials and products, it can be overwhelming to make decisions about remodeling your kitchen. The better you prepare in advance, the more you will be able to enjoy the process. Allow your imagination to explore every possible nook and cranny of your space. But gather your ideas and information before ripping up your countertops and you'll save time, money and your sanity.

2. Find a team.

Find design and construction professionals who are proactive with their communication and whose style fits yours. Issues will be more simply resolved, your questions addressed quickly and you will hopefully build a relationship of trust with the people who are inside your domain. Give yourself the time to interview multiple design pros and contractors. View samples of their work and ask to speak to past clients. The right team will help your remodel go much more smoothly!

3. Design for your life.

Above all, be practical. The kitchen is the most functional room in many houses; make sure it works for your lifestyle. If you don't cook very frequently, professional appliances might not be the best place to put your money. But if you regularly entertain or prepare elaborate meals, have an area in which you can work comfortably. Consider the needs of your family. Your household may spend the majority of their time there, so the kitchen should be a welcoming place to socialize, study and eat. From the layout to the materials, appliance grade to storage amount, design a kitchen that fits your lifestyle.

4. Learn to communicate.

Let's face it, things happen. Neither you nor your contractor are omniscient. There will probably be delays, and something will cost more than expected. So while you obviously can't prepare for the unexpected, you can control how you handle it. Develop a system to transmit messages, whether by PDA, whiteboard, note or phone call. Be decisive and firm yet gracious throughout the process; it will create a positive and successful work environment.

5. Give yourself space.

Breathe. Throughout this process, it's easy to run ninety miles-an-hour and forget to take some time for yourself. Adjusting to a full-scale remodel can wear on a family, so inventing new ways to be together and use the other rooms in your home will help ease the transition and can be a fun way to mix up your routine. Also, giving yourself some margin in your budget will take away some of the stress and allow you to focus on what's really important.

Posted: 8/21/08