How to Plan for a Renovation

Are you wondering how to plan for a kitchen renovation and have no idea where to begin?

Let’s start at the beginning…

  1. Timeline: The planning and design takes between 2-4 months depending on the client and how focused you are. If you are interested in a winter project, now is the time to start!
  2. Budget: Establishing a reasonable budget is vital to the reality of renovating your kitchen. Or, don’t set a budget and just move forward with exactly what you want.
  3. Scope: Be very clear about your goals for the project.
  4. Materials: There are so many options on the market so it’s important to know what pieces you will spend money on and which ones you don’t find add any value to your material selections. Select all you materials together so that you can evaluate the overall finished look as well as clarity on budget.

Two Stories:

Dreaming Big with a Small Budget

I had a potential client approach me saying that they had between $30 50K on a full-gut kitchen renovation which included removing an existing wall between the existing kitchen / dining room, new flooring, new cabinetry, new countertops and appliances. Oh, and they also wanted to renovate the mudroom. I told them initially that I didn’t see how that would be feasible, but they wanted to get everything priced which meant that they needed to start with the design. So, with the completed design in hand the cabinetry came back at $25k and construction work another $25k putting them at the top of their budget. Missing: appliances, lighting, countertops, tile and hardware (and that’s without touching the mudroom).

Big Vision with a Big Budget

I had clients who I had already done a master suite addition approach me about a kitchen renovation with an incredibly clear path and vision for what they wanted for their space. With an active Pinterest board defining materials and concept to start with, I drew up the design concept and started pricing things out from there. The custom cabinetry came back at $77k; they chose all subzero wolf appliances for $30k and a beautiful quartz countertop for $9k. The backsplash was beautiful yet not crazy expensive ($3k) and the lighting and hardware was roughly $1k each. So, the total came to $121k in materials, only they have a beautiful custom kitchen.

Here’s the reality: It’s really frustrating for everyone when a project can’t get off the ground. I ask my clients to weigh a few important things:

  1. ROI = Return on Investment: How much you have invested in the home and how much you can put into the home before the numbers are upside down. This might also be impacted by how much you have or want to spend. There are different phases to people’s lives and you need to be reasonable about where you are in life when doing a project.
  2. LONGEVITY: How long will you be living in the house to enjoy the beauty after the pain of construction? If less than 5 years, sell now and move on.

Construction is not for the faint of heart. In New England, our construction costs are in the top 5 in the country. In the last 25 years of doing business in this region, I have never seen the prices go down! It’s always good to walk in with your priorities clearly set.


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