Getting Started

The Path to a New Kitchen

Where to Start:

Designing a kitchen to fit your taste, your home and your family can be fun ... and challenging. There are more options available than ever before - more varieties of cabinets, finishes, colors, decorative details, countertop materials, hardware, lighting, appliances, flooring and types of wall finishes. The number of selections in every category has exploded exponentially over the last several years. Where do you start?

1) Find a style 

Choosing a style helps make it easier to decide on other aspects of the design.
Select from Traditional, Contemporary, Transitional, Rustic, French Provincial,
Country French, and more. 

Find one or two styles that appeal to you by looking at lots of pictures. 
Look in magazines and online at sites like Pinterest, Zillow Digs and Houzz.

Organize the pictures into three categories:

1. Those you really like.
2. Those you don't like.
3. Those with a feature you like - even if you're not fond of the rest of the kitchen.

In a short time, patterns will appear. The pictures in each category will help a kitchen designer
work more quickly toward a design that fits your taste and your lifestyle.

2) Think about how you use a kitchen

  • Do you cook a lot? Mostly quick meals?
  • Elaborate dishes? Do you bake?
  • How much storage do you need?
  • For food?
  • For kitchen equipment?
  • Is the kitchen a social gathering place - as it is for many households?
  • Do you want to serve lunches and snacks at a countertop eating area?
  • Do you entertain?
  • Small or large gatherings?

3) Research appliances

Look at the larger appliance store websites, the kitchen magazines, and Consumer Reports. Visit appliance showrooms. Fitting appliances into a layout is often one of the more challenging aspects of the design. A designer will want to know what you prefer to optimize the designs. There is no need to make final decisions, but having an idea of what you like - or would prefer - will expedite the planning process.

There are many, many varieties of each basic kitchen appliance.
Being aware of how and what you cook will help you select from the somewhat dizzying array of:

  • Sinks (single, double or triple bowl, stainless, porcelain, granite/acrylic, etc.)
  • Refrigerators (size, top/bottom freezer, side--by-side, French doors)
  • Microwaves (some with convection ovens, recently with convection/steam ovens),
  • Ovens (single or double wall ovens, under-counter ovens, some with steam)
  • Ranges (commercial style, dual-fuel, large burners, grilles, double ovens)
  • Warming drawers
  • Dishwashers (basic, quieter but more expensive)      

4) Think about how you want to change the layout

5) Working with a Designer

If you have thought even generally about these aspects of a new kitchen, you are well prepared to meet with a kitchen designer. A designer will want to see the space, take measurements and look at the mechanical aspects - plumbing, electric, venting and heating requirements that must be considered in the layout. 

A designer will prepare a preliminary (sketch) plan - often with computer generated elevations and 3-D views. Then, the planning process begins in earnest. The details of style, color, decorative details, size and type of appliances, schedule, budget, etc. are worked out in additional discussions. You will see sample doors and finishes. You will look at countertop and backsplash materials. You will probably look at appliances again. A plumber and/or electrician may visit for a look at your house. There are lots of details to consider - both for you to decide and for the designer to specify.

6) The Work

At the conclusion of the planning discussions, you will be presented with a complete, detailed proposal, with plans and drawings of your new kitchen. Most kitchen cabinet orders take 4 to 8 weeks for delivery. Work in your house may begin weeks ahead of the delivery date - depending on how extensive the remodeling work is. With minimal changes, the project might take about one month. More typically - with some remodeling, a new layout, and changes of flooring and lighting - a project will take at least two months. Despite all the dust, it’s worth it. You and your family will love your new kitchen.