Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Budget remodelling challenges


Jon
 Share

Recommended Posts

No, I think bungalow means the same thing out here. Here's an example of what I mean by obscene prices-a randomly selected sale from my favorite real estate agents: a cute little house on a nice street in a town w/ very good schools-but by no stretch of the imagination considered one of the most expensive neighborhoods. It sold for...

:shock: $778,000! :shock:

http://www.johnandjudith.com/sonoma1516.htm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a lovely little house; considerably more extravagant than mine, but yeow, the price! If that were down the street from me I'd expect it to sell for about one fourth of that, and probably with a bigger piece of ground attatched to it.

I just did a google image search for "Bungalow" and they're all over the map style-wise. My archetypical image of "bungalow" is a smallish storey-and-a-half, gable-roofed construction, usually with a front porch of some sort. That's exactly what we've got. Our whole first floor is only 600 sq. feet, which makes for pretty austere living. We like it, though - easy to clean.

--Jon

Edited by Jon (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Second the Fine Homebuilding Kitchens & Baths rec. I picked it up and it is the most useful of its ilk. Seems like bungalows are everywhere you look in home magazines now.

There is a great idea in the Bungalow Kitchens book that I wish worked for me--maybe it will for you. It had a breakfast nook at one end of a long, narrow kitchen with a step up into the nook so the table was at countertop height and the end could be used as an additional prep area. I also really like nooks with L-shaped benches and chairs on the other side. It saves space, gives you storage under the benches, and allows more guests to be accommodated. One of these magazines also showed a brilliant solution--instead of having the bench seats lift up, they were fitted with drawers that pull out from the ends. The family put them to good use storing thermoses, lunch boxes, etc.--bulky stuff that doesn't fit well anywhere else.

The Danby sounds great. Mr. Babyluck is against a smaller dishwasher, though. Makes me wonder why I even bother to ask sometimes.

Don't tell marie-louise but I was planning to round off one countertop, and I don't have any arches in my bungalow...

Queen of Grilled Cheese

NJ, USA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you'd like to save both the money and the space required by the small dishwasher, an alternative to the "wilting plastic dish drying rack" on the countertop is a variation on a feature that's common (or used to be anyway, I don't know how often they're still used, as dishwashers become more common) in Italy: a hidden dish rack. These were typically shallow wire shelves, wall-mounted over the sink, with an open bottom so that dishes could drip into the sink below. Once loading was finished the rack was hidden behind cabinet doors.

Anyway, your wife being short means that she wouldn't find the wall mount option very handy. But you could do a drawer option of the same idea, with a plastic tray bottom to catch drips under coated wire racks. Items could even be permanently stored this way.

Basically like those nifty drawer-type dishwashers, except that there's no plumbing.

Can you pee in the ocean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are several ideas for wall-mounted dish racks and similar ideas in the other great book marie-louise recommended, Kitchens for Cooks. It would probably be more helpful to you than Bungalow Kitchens, since it sounds like you are more interested in function than authenticity (but I also encourage you not to rip out anything you may regret later).

Queen of Grilled Cheese

NJ, USA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are several ideas for wall-mounted dish racks and similar ideas in the other great book marie-louise recommended, Kitchens for Cooks.  It would probably be more helpful to you than Bungalow Kitchens, since it sounds like you are more interested in function than authenticity (but I also encourage you not to rip out anything you may regret later).

Thanks, I'll see if I can get a copy through the college's interlibrary program. I've already read "Small Kitchens" by Robin Murrell and though it's aesthetically dated and leans a bit heavily on European appliances, I thought it was a good, concise introduction to basic kitchen design concepts. I've also got another, more general, U.K. design book that I've found inspiring.

As far as regrettable demolition goes, there's not much to worry about; the house isn't much more than walls and doors. The glass cabinets that delimit the kitchen are original -- built from leftover pine tounge and groove subfloor. They were rough constructions 70 years ago, and haven't aged very well.

--Jon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

How true is that?

I've been to all our local home improvement places and I've come to realize I want a little more style then what I think their designers and cabinet lines have to offer. (I might be able to do that myself (I have a strong art background) if I had access to their catalogs to see what's available.) But you can't talk to a designer (even at your local discount store) with-out laying out a deposit. Sooooo I'm a little stuck. I don't want to give anyone a deposit until I know:

A. I can afford it.

B. I like/trust their work.

I'm not wealthy, none of my freinds are either, so I can't ask around for reccomendations..........no one I know has used a kitchen designer. I've walked into a couple upscale kitchen design stores but they won't talk any details with-out a deposit. I haven't seen anything in a show room that told me, this is the person or look I want. Do I keep shopping?

I know I can do some shopping online and that's great, but many of them don't sell thru my local stores. So I'd have to find a source that can and that had experience with the quality of that product......and that probably means a designer, no?

Help?! This reminds me of needing experience to get a job but not being able to get a job with-out experience.........I'm stuck.

I have a small kitchen so I 'think' we might be able to afford something done by a designer. But how can I explore this if I'm not willing to hand over money just to explore the posiblity? Since I have to ask, does that mean I can't afford it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wendy,

First: get cabinet names, and then look on line. When we were starting our planning process, we were amazed at the amount of information that was available.

Second: don't discount IKEA's kitchen planning software as a planning tool, even if you don't think you want to go with their cabinets. It's a free download (if a little limiting), and it makes juggling cabinet arrangements really easy. The 3D visualizations really helped us when we were trying to figure out where to put appliances and the cabinetry around them. And you may find something in IKEA's line that could work into your idea of what you want to see in your home, either as is or with a few mods, and their cabinets are so inexpensive compared to others that you'll then have more money to spend on other things in the kitchen.

Third: when you say you want "a little more style," what exactly does that mean? If you have the time, measure out your kitchen as best as you can, make an appointment with their kitchen department (this is important), and let them tell you about what they have. The people at these places definitely vary, but you may discover a gem at yours. If you talk and they listen, you may find that they have some ideas that will get you what you're looking for, as we did. (Of course, you may also get what a friend got: someone who doesn't listen to you also. But we came in with nearly completed plans, and our friend went in with next to nothing. This seems to be a situation where chance favors the prepared.) If you have an idea of the sorts of things you're looking for, bring them along. When we were beginning our planning (and we have been planning to remodel a kitchen now for going on 5 years!) we started to keep a notebook of the things we wanted in our kitchen: everything from lists of the things we didn't like about the current kitchen and the things we liked about other people's kitchens to pictures from magazines and books (the-cabinets-here-but-the-paint-color-there sorts of things). The post-it note "flags" were particularly helpful for me, so I could make a note of a title and page number, and then stick a flag on the edge of that page to make it easy to find again.

We got lucky and were able to find a designer who works independently. After we'd juggled things for ourselves, and had a bad experience with a designer who made most of his money by selling cabinets, we found a designer who makes her money by designing. We paid her because we wanted to (1) make sure we didn't miss out on something just because we didn't know that a product was available or that you could do something (like in our case that you could put a range hood on an inside wall but vent it to the outside) and (2) make sure we didn't do something really stupid. For her fee, we got two complete designs and two other roughed-out drawings, each with completely different ideas. In the end, it looks like we're taking most of one of her complete designs, with a few tweaks described here. (That thread contains all my agonizing throughout the process, from the time last June when we realized that this project would become a reality over this summer.) And in the end, even though we took some and left some of what she gave us, we thought it was well worth the money we spent.

Good luck, Wendy, and keep us posted!

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wendy, I'm not sure what area you live in, but I recently redesigned the kitchen in my beach condo located at the Jersey shore. Two kitchen designers worked with me to come up with a plan to redo the kitchen to a more user-friendly workable place to be. I bumped out a wall and redid a laundry closet to accomodate a pantry. Both designers showed me their plans (but didn't give me a copy) without the benefit of a deposit or contract. I picked one designer over the other because:

(a) they were able to recommend a demolition contractor they had a working relationship with and would be able to coordinate the kitchen demo and (b) came up with a plan that incorporated all of my "wish list" items. I also had a better "feel" about the winning designer - don't know exactly what it was, just a gut instinct. My project came out beautifuly and I've already recommend the designer to a neighbor whose project is starting next week. I don't see why a designer won't come up with a plan for you without a deposit. That just doesn't seem right. I can see not giving you a copy of the plan without the benefit of a signed contract, but how else are you to know if you want to hire them without seeing something on paper?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should add here that the designer who we ultimately gave money to also showed us her plans (all 4 of them!) without us giving her any money. She came and measured and talked to us on one day, and then came back a couple of weeks later with the plans. She showed, but they belonged to her until we paid. Once we gave her a check, we owned the plans.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should add here that the designer who we ultimately gave money to also showed us her plans (all 4 of them!) without us giving her any money. She came and measured and talked to us on one day, and then came back a couple of weeks later with the plans. She showed, but they belonged to her until we paid. Once we gave her a check, we owned the plans.

This is a really important point. Thanks for making it Melissa. This is exactly how I work. I need to design to get an idea of price, and to see what is possible in your kitchen, and what is not. Keep in mind too that the layout portion of the design process is the most important. I always start with the design, then work on the style afterwards.

Wendy, from a designer's point of view, the best thing you can bring to the table is a budget. I know this is difficult when you likely don't know how much a kitchen costs. However, you probably do know how much you want to spend ... an investment amount you feel comfortable with. Take that number and back it off 20%. When you visit with a designer make sure they understand that's your budget and you can't surpass it. Understand that the project will likely "creep" up a bit (that's the 20%) but as far as the designer is concerned, stick to your guns on budget.

The second thing you should do is start a clipping file of some sort. Go through magazines and catalogues and start clipping out pictures of things that catch your eye and show the look you want to achieve. Use post-its to identify what it is in the picture you like ... you'll have forgotten a week later when you look at it again. This clipping file will be very useful to your designer. Not only will it help him/her with your look, but in conjunction with the budget it will help determine if the budget is realistic.

I have often told clients that their budget isn't realistic and that they should wait until they can afford what they want. Ultimately there are shortcuts, but most will yield results that are dissappointing. I forget the exact wording, but there's a saying that goes something like "The price of something is long forgotten after the quality wears out."

A.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know I can do some shopping online and that's great, but many of them don't sell thru my local stores. So I'd have to find a source that can and that had experience with the quality of that product......and that probably means a designer, no?

Er, no, actually. People who make cabinets and install them know more about their products than designers do. JMHO.

I reread your post several times and I cannot tell if you want to design this all yourself or if you really want someone else to do it for you. I get that you want it to be different than what is offered at home improvement stores.....and yes their products certainly are common and ordinary, aren't they? How much research have you done already, and how close are you to knowing what you really want? I get the feeling you already know the look you're after....in that case you're best to skip the middle man and seek out a cabinet maker who will work from your drawings.

I think you should try designing the kitchen yourself, then getting estimates to get the work completed. Nobody in their right mind would charge a fee for an estimate. And the upside of this is well is that if you do make any glaring mistakes with your design, they'll catch it and let you know. There's excellent software out there that you can use, provided you already know the basics of kitchen functionality. (ie: work triangle, etc.)

You really should also go to the library's magazine section and check out all the back issues of the kitchen/bath mags.... you'll get tons of ideas and they do list sources and suppliers, and NONE of the stuff in those mags is from box stores.

Edited by Sugarella (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should add here that the designer who we ultimately gave money to also showed us her plans (all 4 of them!) without us giving her any money. She came and measured and talked to us on one day, and then came back a couple of weeks later with the plans. She showed, but they belonged to her until we paid. Once we gave her a check, we owned the plans.

This is a really important point. Thanks for making it Melissa. This is exactly how I work. I need to design to get an idea of price, and to see what is possible in your kitchen, and what is not. Keep in mind too that the layout portion of the design process is the most important. I always start with the design, then work on the style afterwards.

And our designer was very forceful about this point! We could hang our eyes off the drawings, but we could not lay a finger on them until we paid. And we didn't mind.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

Link to comment
Share on other sites

People who make cabinets and install them know more about their products than designers do. JMHO.

I'll respectfully disagree with you on this.

I think you should try designing the kitchen yourself, then getting estimates to get the work completed. Nobody in their right mind would charge a fee for an estimate.

Would you expect an architect to do a preliminary design for free? Thanks to the big box home centres this seems to have become the norm. Of course, with big box, you get the experience you pay for.

A.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can give this design program a free test drive

Smart Draw

If you have a PC - not for Macs.

One person I know used this service kitchen design on line Because they live in Tehachapi and wanted to avoid paying a lot for travel back and forth for someone to just come there and measure the space.

They are quite happy with the results. They did have to compromise on some of the things they wanted, mainly because of their location, but all in all they felt they got a pretty good deal. They got some significant discounts on appliances and the cabinetry by going through Lowe's, after they contracted with this place. One thing they did that made a difference was to rent a storage place in Palmdale and have everything except the construction materials, delivered there until they had everything on hand, including appliances, sinks, lighting fixtures, boxes of floor tile, new windows, etc. Then when contruction was underway, Milt and his sons rented a big trailer, loaded everything in it and hauled it up to their home so the crew could pull stuff out of the trailer and into place. He didn't have to rent a truck because he has a big dualie but he could have.

This was the same thing I did when I remodeled my kitchen back in '94. With everything on hand, there were no delays while "waiting" for something to arrive or because the wrong thing was shipped. I figured the cost of the storage place saved me a heck of a lot of tooth gnashing and foot-stomping.

It took 3 1/2 weeks for the project, start to finish and it would have been 1 1/2 days less except they had to wait on an inspector.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone! I'm learning alot so far.

I'm in the Chicago suburbs and I went into 2 design places that wouldn't talk to me at all with-out making an appointment and laying out some cash, $500. I assumed that would be the case at all independent designers.......so it's not............hum. Perhaps I wasn't dressed up enough and they were blowing me off?

The Home Depot makes you give them a $500. deposit up front too! What's happening......is it my area?

How do I find an independent designer? And what kind of ball park are we talking about for their fees?

I worry when I look at a display in a store that's poorly hung or has obvious problems. It says something to me that they think it's o.k. and don't even fix it. All the Home Depot stores and Lowes have this issue.

I learned a little bit about cabinets while shopping and I don't want junk. It's sort of how we purchase everything in our lives.....we'd rather have a couple really good quality pieces that we love, then quantity. I don't want top of the line appliances so I'm not looking to save money for that. I want real wood and great design. I barely cook at home and I never bake at home. But I want something pleasant to look at, something to hold all my dishes (which I have too much of) yet it's got to have resale value too.

How to say this .........and not sound like a complete ass.....I have an extensive design/art background and many years as a professional artist.

I had a company come out to design my yards landscape and they were soooooo average and just down right poorly designed, I was really blown away. They choose the wrong sized plants (growth habits) and quantitys thru out the whole design. If I followed what they had, I'd have to replant in 3 years the whole darn thing. They also didn't listen to what I asked for and didn't take that into their design. So I took it upon myself to learn landscape design and plants for my area......and honestly I think I did a pretty good job. Nothing I'd re-do or change.

Generally, I know what I want in my kitchen, because it's a very limited space. There isn't room for any bells and whistles. I would like someone with a fresh eye to see if they could design the space better (cause yes I can design, but I'm NOT a kitchen designer and I don't want to invest years of learning like I did landscaping). I'm thinking about opening the kitchen into the living area. But if they can't do it better then me, then I'd rather do it myself.

So how do I find these designers that will draw up a couple options for free? AND about what will it cost if I want to buy their design?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you should try designing the kitchen yourself, then getting estimates to get the work completed. Nobody in their right mind would charge a fee for an estimate.

Would you expect an architect to do a preliminary design for free? Thanks to the big box home centres this seems to have become the norm. Of course, with big box, you get the experience you pay for.

A.

Oh no....I was referring to somone giving an estimate for installing cabinets etc. if she takes in finished specs. That I think should be free.

Oh no, designers don't/ shouldn't work for free!

Sorry you misunderstood what I meant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should add here that the designer who we ultimately gave money to also showed us her plans (all 4 of them!) without us giving her any money. She came and measured and talked to us on one day, and then came back a couple of weeks later with the plans. She showed, but they belonged to her until we paid. Once we gave her a check, we owned the plans.

This is a really important point. Thanks for making it Melissa. This is exactly how I work. I need to design to get an idea of price, and to see what is possible in your kitchen, and what is not. Keep in mind too that the layout portion of the design process is the most important. I always start with the design, then work on the style afterwards.

And our designer was very forceful about this point! We could hang our eyes off the drawings, but we could not lay a finger on them until we paid. And we didn't mind.

MelissaH

When my folks did a major remodel, they hired a designer, who was independent -- not associated with a place that sold stuff, which I think can be a real advantage. The designer followed the same procedure as Arne does, and Melissa's designer did. No money until you accept the plans. My folks designer also was able to take them to a few houses that had kitchen's she'd designed ahead of them embarking on the plan.

Yes, on what Arne said about the budget.

Wendy, are you thinking of rennovation or remodel? Are you going to move appliances, walls, etc., or just replace what you have in pretty much the same configuration (with differences in storage abilities of cupboards/cabinets?).

I've done two kitchen rennos, but I can call them that because we didn't move anything like appliances or walls. THought about it in this house, but realized that it would make me a cook with by back to everyone.

There are a bunch of topics here on kitchen re-dos, most notably the two topics by Varmint. And, I believe it was fifi that suggested keeping a kitchen diary of what you do, what you would find more helpful, etc.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We lived in our house for a few years before redoing the kitchen. By then I had a good idea of what I wanted. I found a contractor I liked and he suggested a cabinet builder. The cabinet guy came over and we talked about what I wanted and he made suggestions and started drawing the cabinets. It was very hands on. I got deeper cabinets where they made sense to me, pull out spice racks, a built in warming drawer, a wrap around china hutch into the dining room and so on. This guy knew his cabinets inside and out, what would fit best where, and how much room everything needed to work properly. There isn't a thing I would change and best of all, it was included in the price of the cabinets.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Home Depot makes you give them a $500. deposit up front too! What's happening......is it my area?

I can't speak for your area, only mine. But when we went into our Lowe's, we had a nearly complete cabinetry plan put together. We made the appointment stating that we had a plan, and just wanted to get a quote on the cabinets they could supply to us. When we started to work through the design on their computer system with their software, that's when the Lowe's designer gave us the very good suggestions.

How do I find an independent designer? And what kind of ball park are we talking about for their fees?

We found ours through the NKBA Web site. There's a place where you can put in your zip code and it gives you a list of designers in the area. Its default setting is for a 20-mile radius, but you can go in and change that. Once we had a list, we started making phone calls. I suspect prices may vary by area.

How to say this .........and not sound like a complete ass.....I have an extensive design/art background and many years as a professional artist.

I had a company come out to design my yards landscape and they were soooooo average and just down right poorly designed, I was really blown away.  They choose the wrong sized plants (growth habits) and quantitys thru out the whole design. If I followed what they had, I'd have to replant in 3 years the whole darn thing. They also didn't listen to what I asked for and didn't take that into their design. So I took it upon myself to learn landscape design and plants for my area......and honestly I think I did a pretty good job. Nothing I'd re-do or change.

The big thing here, as in so many other things, is to find someone who will listen to you. And the better prepared you are, the easier the process is. As Daddy-A suggests, definitely start a clipping file or scrapbook or something to record your likes and dislikes. I'm not saying that you need to start planning now for a renovation that won't happen for another 5 years (the way we did!), but the more you can figure out the specifics of how you'll use your space, your stylistic likes and dislikes, and what you want, the easier you'll make the designer's job because mind-reading is difficult at best. (Ask either my husband or my students!)

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did my own kitchen design as part of a remodel/addition to my house a couple of years ago and got exactly what I wanted. Because it was part of a much larger job I had some input from my architect and interior designer, but the real nuts and bolts came down to my contractor and cabinet maker.

The finished product (and a lot of other extraneous random stuff---just scroll through until you find kitchen pictures) is featured in my food blog from a year ago here.

I did talk to a kitchen designer (who came highly recommended) but in the end was not happy with her "we don't do it that way" approach.

About 10 years ago I did a much more basic kitchen remodel in a smaller house, and used a kitchen designer at Home Depot EXPO. I knew what I wanted, and he was able to make it happen on a very tight budget.

Can you pee in the ocean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...