Thursday, July 4, 2013

5 Steps for a Mindful Kitchen Remodel

One of my favorite magazines, Cooking Light, has a very interesting article that I love this month. It's about something called "mindful eating". I agree that we, as a culture, me included, eat way too much because we don't do it mind fully. Simply put it just means that if you make yourself 100% present and focused at the task at hand (eating) during mealtime you will enjoy your food more and you won't feel the need to eat as much. I happen to believe that you can easily carry this concept over to kitchen design and remodel process. These days when we are trying to get the most out of every dollar we want to know that every aspect of the complicated process of remodeling a kitchen has been well thought out. Here are five ways you can do that.

  1.     Don't be in a rush - When you impose a drop dead date such as Thanksgiving or Christmas you will be more likely to rush your choices. This is a complicated process and it must be planned properly and executed in a certain order. Collect your thoughts and ideas beforehand. This should included concept photos, and ideas for products. In this day of social media there is no excuse not to do the research. It will allow your professional partners to do an even better job for you.
  2.     Work with someone you feel good about - I don't care how knowledgeable your designer, or salesperson seems, if they don't feel right for you, you'll probably save much aggravation by partnering with someone you feel is your ally and can see your own unique vision. For example if you love sleek, modern, minimal designs don't select a designer who's work is typically very traditional. They'll probably be able to help you but it not with the insight, enthusiasm and access to products as someone who specializes in your style.
  3.     Prepare for the downtime - Always insist on a schedule for your project. This is NOT to say it won't have to be tweaked from time to time but it's always best to have a starting point. It helps keep all the players on the same page. A big part of this is to plan how you're going to get by when you're without a kitchen. Where are you going to put the refrigerator? Do you have convenient place to put your microwave? How close is your temporary set up to a sink? Keep most used cups and utensils easy to access. I wrote about this important step in my book.
  4.     Pick your battles - Everyone has a budget and for most of us we can't have it all. That said, there are usually a couple of areas where a judicious splurge can make all the difference. One biggie is springing for a counter depth model refrigerator which is nearly flush with your counter top. This makes a big difference in a small space. Although they're more expensive they're still a lot less than the super high-end true built-in models.
  5.     Don't rush to judgement - If you are living on site during your remodel, resist the impulse to go into a seizure over every nick or crooked drawer front. Again, it's a process with a million details and steps. At this point you should be trusting (if you did step 2) your professionals to do what they do. Typically all doors and drawer fronts will be aligned before your installation is finished. It is also typical practice for you and your designer to get together on a punch out list so all concerns, including touch ups are addressed before completion.

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