Kitchens are the main hub of a family home and need to be so many things at any given point in time. They also take up a large piece of the budget for a renovation or new home. So before you start tearing down walls, here are some important things to consider.
Assess what you need in your kitchen
Before you start designing your dream kitchen, you need to understand what you need. Assess how you prepare and cook food, how you need to store crockery, cutlery, glasses, saucepans, plastics, food and appliances. This is often the area that is not prepared for in enough detail, but it’s critical to drive the design to suit your requirements.
If you’re renovating, you need to determine how much flexibility you have with structural walls, windows and the impact on floorplan changes on flooring and flow to other areas.
Other things to consider;
- Budget – this will drive many aspects of what you may and may not be able to do
- Critical elements that you want in your kitchen (eg wall oven, 900mm stove top, double sink)
- Storage requirements
Kitchens can be completed within a couple of months or take up to a year to finish, depending on the size of the project and if you have a designer involved who can expedite the process. You should be able to have detailed joinery design and internal elevations, along with materials, fittings and fixture specifications within 2-4 weeks. This also depends on how quickly you come back with decisions and comments.
For your kitchen to be designed correctly, it’s advised to source your appliances early on. It means the drawings will reflect the right size appliances, but as part of the shopping experience, you may change your mind to something you hadn’t considered before.
Key appliances to order early on are your oven and stovetop as these can vary in size so much. Dishwashers are standard, as are most fridges (if you allow a fridge cavity of 1000mm).
A good benchtop has to work super hard for you because it is difficult to replace or retro fit. I highly recommend Dekton for its superior strength, stain, and fire resistance. Recycled glass is also a good option for its sustainability criteria.
For cupboards, thermal wrap would be an excellent choice as it is easy to clean and hard wearing. It is also less susceptible to chip than 2pack. Another option would be Navurban for its superior look and hard wearing Olifin finish.
Cost of Kitchens
The cost of creating a new kitchen depends on its size, materials and fittings. Other factors that can really add to the final price are things such as high end appliances (i.e integrated appliances, particularly an integrated fridge), having a timber veneer or solid timber cabinetry, choosing luxurious high end natural stone for benchtop and splashback and moving plumbing and gas points.
It’s also important to invest in excellent task lighting. Kitchen lighting can sometimes be the last consideration when it comes to designing your space, but for a kitchen to look and function well, the space must be lit properly.
Don’t underestimate the value of good quality design. Have your joinery drawings and internal elevations done by a designer, not a cabinet maker.
A kitchen needs to function super hard in any home as it needs to be so many things. A builder I interviewed on my podcast ‘Your Forever Home – The Podcast’ said that one of the biggest mistakes he sees people make is ‘under-capitalising’ on their kitchen in terms of how the space is used, as it’s not designed properly. This leads to the space being under-utilised and the kitchen is not what it could have been had it been designed properly.
Engaging with an Expert
The most important part of building your kitchen isn’t choosing your benchtop materials or appliances. It’s what happens before the project begins. Thus, it’s important to engage with experts early on.
Hire a builder to view which walls can be moved and what structural restrictions you may have. Tradespeople will not be that interested in quoting until you have proper drawings, so they can see what they are quoting on.
- Invest in good design. It will help you avoid costly mistakes and enables you to get a design that really functions and works for you.
- Get advice early on from a builder to see what can and can’t be achieved with the current structure within your budget.
- Do choose materials and fittings that you love rather than following trends. If you love it, you will not tire or it, regardless of trends coming and going.
Other related references;
Kitchen Design Essentials Podcast Season