In the earlier post we discussed the scenario of Bob & Jen and their kitchen renovation. Now that they’ve decided which plan of action to take, the next steps are to choose which direction they want to go with colour, style and layout.
Dealing with an older home as in the case of Bob & Jen’s, there are a few things that they will need to discuss. Let’s assume they are going to gut the existing kitchen and rebuild it from scratch. Points for them to consider include:
1. Layout – A kitchen cabinet supply company can help them find the right layout for how they plan to use the space and a good contractor will have recommendations of whom to deal with. If Bob & Jen’s budget is large enough, they may opt to hire a designer to help them layout their new space. Although this is not a necessary option, some clients feel more confident going the designer route.
2. Often in older homes the concept of a pantry was nonexistent, but in today’s modern kitchens it is a staple. In the case of a pantry, they will need to talk to their builder about where in the space a built-in pantry can be placed and have it framed, wired for electrical, drywalled, add shelving and install either a man-door or a bi-fold entry to it. The other option is to have a wall unit styled pantry incorporated into their kitchen cabinet layout and is a good option where floor space is limited.
3. Appliances come in different styles and sizes. With that in mind, the cabinet layout must be able to accommodate the units Bob & Jen want to incorporate into their new kitchen. Fridges, ranges, dishwashers & microwaves can vary in width, therefore the openings for these units within the cabinet layout will need to be ascertained before the kitchen cabinet layout can be decided upon.
3. Electrical plugs & light switches will likely need to be moved and upgraded according to the new cabinet layout. Plumbing pipes might also need to be moved to accommodate where in the new kitchen the sink(s), dishwasher, fridge water dispenser, microwave & oven placements are being relocated to. At this point communication is paramount. Any discrepancy between what Bob & Jen have in mind and what their contractor thinks they want could create costly errors for both parties. Make sure that you have a written plan accompanied by a drafting plan of the layout to avoid possible issues. If your contractor spots a problem in these plans he can deal with it before the work begins. Sometimes, based on the existing conditions of the home, a designer’s plan may need to be adjusted.
4. If Bob & Jen decide to upgrade a kitchen window, or move a window to another site on the exterior wall, they will need to adjust the outside siding of the home to match that change. This might also be true for a door that exits to the outside from the kitchen space.
5. Bringing down an existing wall between two rooms to open up the new kitchen space sounds simple, but that wall may be a load bearing wall and can’t just be ripped out like they do on DIY TV shows. If a load bearing wall is the issue, structural reinforcements will not only have to be made on the kitchen level, but also follow through down to the next load bearing wall or structural member. This could be complicated and costly, and a consideration to address before any other work begins in the space.
As with any existing home, the nuances of the home will dictate what is possible both structurally & visually for the end result. Dealing with older homes can sometimes offer up a few unexpected surprises and the client nor the builder will know what they are dealing with until the work begins. Without x-ray vision, nobody knows what hides behind the walls, the floors or the ceiling. Be ready to discover the odd surprise, and be open-minded about unanticipated issues that come with renovating an older home.