The owner of a swimming pool company tells the story about his least favorite (and most often asked) question: “How much does a pool cost?” He would take a deep breath and say, “Well, it depends. Is it above ground? In-ground? How big is it? Fiberglass or tile surface? Is it heated? Is it a lap pool? Does it have a hot tub and/or pool deck?” He explained there would never be a simple answer to that question because the design and scope of the swimming pool determine the cost, every time.
Same goes with kitchen renovations. A multitude of design decisions must be made before the price can be determined. What kind of cabinets? Stock? Custom? Paint the existing cabinets? What kind of counter tops? Back splash? Flooring? Plumbing fixtures? Lighting fixtures? What finish? Is there an island? Does the island have outlets or a sink?
While a “pull and replace” upfit (new cabinets, counter tops and fixtures are installed in same spots) costs less than moving plumbing locations and/or knocking down walls, both types of projects will dramatically transform a kitchen while adding value to the home.
The motivation behind remodeling must be determined before a budget can be set. Is the kitchen renovation a precursor to putting the house on the market? What is comparable for other kitchens in the neighborhood? Are other spaces in the home to be updated as well? Do the funds available cover all of the projects or just the kitchen? According to realtors, only two rooms really sell a house: the kitchen and master bath. 1
If the kitchen renovation is for long-term enjoyment in a ‘forever home,” however, it is important to make a list of priorities. At-home chefs should budget for high-end appliances and consider a pot-filler faucet for the cook top back splash. Environmentally conscious homeowners should understand that they will have fewer options when choosing materials. Marble is a popular choice for counter tops, but often the higher costs for installation and maintenance are not factored into the budget. Even drawer pulls and cabinet knobs can affect the price; when dozens are purchased and installed, selecting hardware at a higher price point will inflate the budget.
When homeowners are designing their “dream kitchen,” they will often justify additional expenses on items that they “really want,” regardless of the possible return on investment. Some decisions are made to reflect a family’s personal style and interests. These details make a house a home.
Photo Credits: Guthmann Construction