5ive and a Half Steps to Fail Your Way to a Successful Kitchen Remodel

Henry Ford quoted: “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently”.  

Failure is viewed as the recipe to success, because you can always try again and watch out for any pitfalls that caused you to fail the first time and be more cautious on your next attempt.

This is very true, but you DO NOT want to encounter failure when you are doing a kitchen remodel. There is a reason why most homeowners remodel or upgrade their kitchen once every 25 years. Kitchens are kind of a big deal. It is a huge part of our lifestyle. It is the nucleus of every home. The gathering point and the epicenter where memories are made, where the body is healed and where the soul is enlightened. A slight disruption of that lifestyle can be nerve wracking, stressful and life changing. But why do people fail their way to a successful kitchen remodel? Here is the list of bad habits and wrong practices by some unfortunate homeowners:

One:  Poor planning – Mistake no. 1 is lack of having a plan in place.  All projects begin with a goal and a vision. Creating an overall outlook prior to beginning your project is important.  Know your expectations and limitations in terms of budget, deadline and quality.  If budget is the deciding factor, plan around your budget.  This will help you navigate your way to choosing how extensive you want your project to be; how much to spend on cabinetry, appliances and other finishes.  If you are planning to have a huge party on Thanksgiving Day with a new kitchen, plan at least 6 months ahead (or more, if you are doing a major tear-down), and finalize all purchases at least 3 months before you start the construction work.  Inadequate planning mixed with poor decision-making is a recipe for a disaster.  Plan ahead.

Two:  Going for the cheapest bidder – The most destructive of all is going for the cheapest and lowest bid.   Low prices always attract buyers but it seldom leaves satisfied customers because hidden behind the too-good-to-be-true “bargain” price are sub par materials, unlicensed practice or inexperience crew/team compounded with mediocre service and lack of follow through which can lead to dissatisfaction and extreme disappointments and oftentimes, sadly, to legal actions.  A contractor who under bid his price in order to win a contract usually does not have enough funds to pull it through.   An abandoned job is typically the consequence of awarding the contract to the cheapest bidder.  In the end, you wish you can tear it all down and start over.  Going cheap is the one mistake you cannot afford.

Three:  Procrastinating – Though it is best to take your time and weigh your options when tackling a kitchen remodel because it gives you time to organize and plan a strategy, you also need to gauge the disadvantage of putting aside a task or decision that needs attention.  A kitchen project is a link of a chain of decision-making, productivity and results.  Productivity relies on decisions made in order to achieve results.  Waiting on the last minute to order your cabinets with an 8-10 week lead time or the Italian range that takes 5 months to ship and you realized you only have 3 weeks can put your project at a grinding halt.  Time is gold.  It is something that you cannot take back.  Decide now!

Four:  Lack of Communication – The most common ingredient to a disastrous kitchen remodel is lack of communication.  This can happen from the onset or during the course of the project.  Once you signed your name on the dotted line, you, as a homeowner is a major key player.  Your decision is golden.  Your ‘nay’ or ‘yay’ is the word that keeps the project moving.  So always do your best to keep the lines of communication open.  Follow up on your designer, vendor or contractor when you need clarification or changes to your project.  Never assume that the other party understood when you implied you want the lights to be controlled by a dimmer.  Ask for a written agreement or take notes or email your contractor and have him / her confirm it.  This will save you a lot of frustration and setback.  You can never be too repetitive.  Again, you can never be too repetitive.

5ive:  Seeking Perfection – I hate to blow your bubble – but there is no such thing as perfection.  Every tile installation has a flaw, every cabinet door paint finish differs slightly from the other, every schedule is never on time and every slab of granite has the vein at the wrong place. When you seek perfection at a construction job, you are in for a great disappointment.  Don’t freak out and complain about an installation in the middle of it being done.  Or the delivery is 10 minutes past the delivery window.  Grant yourself some wiggle room.  Remember, there is one common denominator in your kitchen remodel: the human factor.  Let the expert do their work.  That is the reason why you hired them in the first place – they know their craft and they stand behind their work (that is, when you hired the right ones and didn’t go for the lowest bidder!).  But if you need to voice out your concerns, bring it to your designer or contractor’s attention.  A great designer or contractor is the one that makes your satisfaction their ultimate goal.

5ive and a Half:  “ I can be a DIYer” – If you or your significant other is quite handy and is familiar with building materials and local codes, then don’t read this part.  But if you lead a busy work and lifestyle, you will need an experienced professional who is knowledgeable, conscientious and trustworthy.  This is a huge investment.  Whether you intend to flip it or to live in it until you retire, spending a good amount of your hard-earned money is serious business.  Do not be fooled by television shows that make tearing down a wall fun and easy.  It never is and never will be.

If you can identify yourself with any of the above or in a similar scenario, stop and reflect,  then read again. Share this post to someone who you know is going through or is thinking of doing a remodel, this may help him / her make an intelligent move.

We put our customers first.  It is because of you that we are in business.


Transforming your kitchen with stile

Note:  The featured kitchen above was planned carefully 6 months prior to the start of construction.  No surprises and no hiccups.  It was a project  made in heaven. 🙂

Photo courtesy of Jason Jorgensen Photography