8 Tips for a Better Cabinet Project

From the designer’s desk:

Most people aren’t used to tackling a major remodel or new construction project.  It’s one of those things that might crop up only a few times in the average lifespan.  We understand that completely!  That’s why I wanted to present a few tips that can make such a complex process go more smoothly.

1 – Do Your Homework:  I’ve seen people freeze when confronted by the sheer number of options in the cabinet world.  Take a little time to think over the basic look and feel that you want from your cabinets.  Contemporary or traditional?  Dark or light?  Paint or stain?  You’ll still have tons of options, but this will help me to narrow things down a bit for you.

2 – Get Your Team Involved:  Are you planning to work with an interior designer or architect?  If so, you need to get them involved from day one.  If they are choosing colors and door styles, they need to be with you at the showroom.  If they are doing the cabinet layouts, I need to know that before I spend time on unnecessary design work.  Also, establish a chain of command.  Does the designer have control of the color choices?  Is the builder in charge of giving the final go-ahead?  That will help me know who to ask when I have a specific question.

3 – Be Honest About Your Budget:  Money is a touchy subject, but it’s a major component in any building project.  How much can/will you spend on your cabinetry?  Whether your budget is $10,000 or $100,000, that gives me parameters in which to work, and I won’t end up suggesting something you can’t afford.  My job isn’t to squeeze every last penny out of your cabinet budget.  My job is to work within your budget to create the kitchen or bathroom you desire, so please be honest.

4 – Be Upfront About Your Timeline:  While we’re being honest, please let me know if you have a specific timeline.  Are you planning a holiday feast for your entire family?  Are you sharing a bathroom with your teenager while yours is remodeled?  Or are you building a vacation home that you won’t need for another 6 months?  If we know your expectations ahead of time, we can do our best to have your project completed when you need it.

5- Plan Ahead:  We’ll do our part to stick to your schedule, but this requires some planning on your part.  Most cabinets take at least 6-8 weeks to arrive from the time they are ordered.  This doesn’t include design time or installation.  Also, remember that most countertops will take at least an additional week or two after that.  If you’re ordering factory cabinets, you will need to make sure all of your necessary decisions have been made before the order goes in.  This includes appliances and sinks.  Custom-built cabinets may be a little more flexible, but timely decisions are still essential to keep your project on schedule.

6 – Be Specific…:  What is on your wish list?  Be specific about your desires for the project.  Do you have a certain type of spice storage that you absolutely can’t live without?  Do you need storage for multiple curling irons?  If you’re trying to recreate something from your current kitchen, let me know specifically how it looks/functions.  Pictures are great!

7 – …But Be Flexible:  I’ll do my best to fit everything on your wish list, but sometimes I encounter spatial or budgetary issues.  You may have pull-outs under your current bathroom sink, but a plumbing quirk may not let me do that in the new one.  Your sister-in-law might have a wine cooler in her kitchen, but it might eat up too much space in yours.  Decide what is a priority and what you can live without.

8 – Refine Your Internet Searches:  Sites like Houzz and Pinterest offer a wealth of ideas for home projects.  These are great places to get started, but you’ll need to start refining those searches as the project progresses.  Look at the pictures you saved.  What is drawing you to each one?  Color?  Style?  Design details?  Definitely send me pictures that you like, but let me know what it is about each room that you want to capture in yours.  Sending me a dozen dissimilar pictures of kitchens will only create confusion.  I agree that they’re all beautiful, but what elements are really getting your attention?

It mostly boils down to a lot of planning and good communication.  Be honest about your expectations and desires, and we’ll do our best to make your project go smoothly.  Because, in the end, we just want you to be happy with your gorgeous new cabinets!