A Case Study: Kitchen Remodel


The purpose of this study is to give an in-depth look at a typical kitchen remodel .  To provide an understanding on how the entire process works in order to eliminate unpleasant setbacks.  The study hopes to shed light on the importance of having a plan beforehand.  That communication between the  owner, designer, contractors and vendors, is very crucial to avoid the should’ve, could’ve & would’ve.

The Situation

This 1953 California Ranch custom home in Burbank, required a lot of upgrade when the homeowners purchased this in 2012.  For the past 4 years they have been remodeling this 3 bedroom/3 baths, continuously.  The kitchen, being the most important room of the house, was the last to get an upgrade.  With the holidays just around the corner, they did not plan to have any work in kitchen done until the new year, which was 2 months away..

Kitchen then.

Things that needed consideration for the new design:

  • Incorporate the “V-groove” on the cabinet doors which can be seen as an architectural detail all throughout the house.
  • Stay within the budget.
  • Keep the existing footprint.
  • Create a modern approach to a transitional kitchen.
  • Design cabinets to anticipate appliances replacements in case of breakdown or defects. To foresee possible changes in sizes or specs by appliance manufacturers.

The Challenges

Here are some challenges during the initial design process :

  • What will the gap of the V-groove door detail be?
  • How can the white laundry machines flow seamlessly with the new stainless steel appliances and make that area a multi-purpose, catch-all, parking spot for groceries, laundry, purses and toys?
  • How to transition the wood floor in the dining room to the new porcelain tile in the kitchen without using wood reducers?
  • Can the engineered quartz, being the preferred counter top surface over granite, fit into the budget?

The K+B DECON Approach

Material swatch.

Within a couple of weeks from the initial meeting, we presented 4 schemes to the owner.  Our design schemes started from the simplest to a more complicated approach giving the owner the option to decide which among the schemes fit their long-term goals.  They approved the open layout,which was the most expensive of all the 4 schemes. Not so much as the cabinetry, but the construction became a little more challenging.  More work, more money.  The approved design set things in motion.  A more accurate bid was generated.  Materials for floor, countertop, and walls were selected.   A final color match of the door stain was produced for the client to approve.  Appliances were purchased and the schedule for construction was set.  It was a moving target but all vendors were made aware of the schedule so they can anticipate their own work load.  Each party (owner, designer and contractor) had a different task and a responsibility but all shared the same goal.  To start and finish the project on-time; per specs, per budget.  On the day of construction, all major decisions were made.  Every materials were ordered and on cue for delivery and installation.  It was just a case of implementing the design and whatever we find between the walls and beneath the floor and the ceiling were matters to be addressed at that point in time.

Kitchen during construction: Day 1
Kitchen Now: View from dining room
Kitchen Now: Built-in laundry with floating shelves above.
Beautiful glass backsplash complimented the honed quartz counter top by Caesarstone.


Open bookshelf breaks the ‘panelling effect’ of the V-grooved doors.

The Result

By managing the client’s expectations, we eliminated most of the gray areas.  We were also fortunate to work for a client who kept an open mind during the entire process.  Who trusted us and the rest of the crew to deliver our best.  We encountered some minor obstacle: new laundry machines to replace the old one due to a broken part which could cause leaks in the future.  This created a setback with the counter top installation and the cabinetry around it.  But a quick phone call to the cabinet shop, they produced and installed 3 new panels in a matter of days.  We promised the client the process will take 6-8 weeks.  They moved in after 6 1/2 weeks.

One happy client = mission accomplished!


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