With the holidays behind us where the kitchen is really put to the test, January is a time when many homeowners revisit their kitchen goals and find theirs falling short. The ideal time to renovate your kitchen is summertime when the barbeque is getting full use and you may plan to be away at the cottage or travelling. To get the jump on renovation season, I thought a post on what to consider when renovating your kitchen timely.

8 Things to Consider When Renovating Your Kitchen

What are your goals for the kitchen? Have you always wished you had a pot filler faucet right above the stove to quickly fill a pot of water for pasta? A beverage fridge is a popular add-on in many reno’s. How about a faucet that serves up boiling water on demand?

Well, we’ve officially moved into the beginning of a brand-new decade, and I have been wondering about some of the prescient inventions I saw as wide-eyed child watching the Jetsons and when they will come to fruition.  Faucets that serve up boiling water is pretty cool. I am pretty excited about some of the latest and greatest kitchen innovation showcased at KBIS (the biggest international kitchen and bathroom conference in North America).

Included in those goals is to bring you great advice, inspiration, and ways to make your own home extraordinary.

How do you use your kitchen?

Now, while that may sound obvious, you would be surprised. I’ve seen more than my share of bachelor kitchens with the drawers filled with screw drivers and wrenches where many of us would put KNIVES and FORKS!! But this is a judgement free space so let’s bring it back to your goals. What are your wants, needs, desires, and kitchen goals? Do you want a room that you can entertain in and feels classy when the boss comes over for dinner (or your MIL – again, no judgement)? Or a cozy space for family nacho nights while the kids do homework and squabble over who got the last chips? While we are at it,  what about one that helps you entertain a crowd and adds considerable value to your home, because we know kitchen renos can do that!

Eyes on Your Budget

I know budgets drive the whole process but there are ways to get a whole lot of style and not break the bank (excuse the shameless plug for a designer’s eye on the project if you will😉). A careful eye to navigate what’s mission critical and what is fluff and extra expense can go a long way. Everything starts with a plan (some call it a budget).

More than just a magical number of what you’d like to invest, a line by line plan for how to allocate your funds to achieve the dream, and a strategy to tackle those tricky questions when you want “X” and someone else (insert stink eye) wants “Y”. If you’re working with a designer, this is something they will help you with. Consider us the tie breaking vote. We will queue up a deciding rationale to sway the argument when things get heated in the kitchen.

What to Know When Hiring Pros

When it comes to hiring pros to do the work don’t be shy about asking to see their work. You can also get recommendations from others who have used them. Be prepared to drill in on what they liked and didn’t like about the process. It is a going to be an ongoing relationship, and like any good relationship, things will come up. You really want to feel comfortable with the people who are going to be spending time in your home over the course of weeks or sometimes months. Will you always agree? Personality type and conflict resolution skills are going to be part of it. Everyone works differently and it is better to know what the challenges and trade-offs are when you are making them.

Of course, if you work with us, we’ve already got some terrific people we bring to the job we are very happy with. But it is up to you to choose.

Make the Design Suit Your Needs

To design a kitchen that puts a smile on your face each time you walk in, you will need to consider a few things. First off, let’s put that self-cleaning fantasy off the list. It gets messy, somebody’s going to have to clean it. That is yours to negotiate. Early in my marriage, my husband suggested that if I was going to shop for groceries, plan the meals, and do all the cooking (I like it that way), it was only fair that he do the clean-up. Well, my heart went pitter pat …until I learned he may not get around to it until Tuesday. Screech, back to the negotiating table to talk about timing of tasks. I don’t cook in a messy kitchen.

Enough about me, here are some good questions to ask yourself in advance:

  • What currently bugs you about your kitchen? Do you need more prep space near the cooktop? More storage (who doesn’t?), room for seating, extra counter space? Are there constant traffic jams around loading the dishwasher while cooking a meal?
  • How many people use the space? One at a time cooking, or family holiday prep?
  • Do you entertain? In the kitchen? Or do you prefer a private space to prepare? Do you have children who like to get involved? 

Your design professional will ask all of these questions and many you never thought of.

Desired function, unexpected storage!

Consider Your Motivation

Realtors tell us the best way to add value to your largest investment is to upgrade the kitchen. After curb appeal, this is what home seekers are eager to see next and it can make or break a sale. Some call it the “money room” of the home, not because you sink so much money into a renovation, but because the return on investment is arguably the best you can make in your home. Investing in a kitchen (wisely, of course – we’ve seen too many cases where a pro was clearly not involved) increases property value, and brings you joy in the short-run, gives great returns down the road. 

In other words, pay attention to ROI.

Our advice for smart investing is to choose updated but timeless selections. Selections that are too new or trendy will have your home looking dated far too soon. Don’t worry, we’ve got clever ways to keep it fresh and hip while not leaving it dated when the latest trends blow out of town. Create a highly functional layout and it will also optimize your ROI.

Smart investing is an advantage to having a designer on your project. We know what styles will last, and when to save vs. splurge. We’ll guide you every step of the way.

This condo owner wanted to close off the entry to the kitchen from the front door which was where the art is now hanging on the right. By doing so, we created a kitchen that was more of a destination that a pass-through, and allowed for a proper foyer to greet guests. While at it, we changed out the backsplash since it was bringing out the wrong colour in the cabinetry and was a more cost-effective swap than having the cabinetry factory sprayed again.

Researching the alternatives is what we are on top of. Cabinets from various sources may look equally pretty but, like furniture are not all made the equal. They can range from therma-foil wrapped mdf to solid hardwood, for example. Depending on the scope of your design and your budget, you may need new flooring, countertops, appliances, plumbing, cabinets, etc. This is where the knowledge of where to spend vs where to splurge comes in. When needed, we have off-brand quartz options you may not have heard of that can save $$, and look just as pretty.

Know Your Materials

Some favourite materials for a kitchen include solid wood or very high quality MDF for cabinets, quartz, marble, soapstone, or quartzite for countertops, updated, multi-functional appliances that are efficient, save on space, or are the show-piece for your kitchen. We’ll point you in the right direction with our trade go-to’s.

Respect Your Home’s Style

Nothing irks me more than to walk into a space-age design in a vintage or historic home that wasn’t designed purposefully. Don’t get me wrongs here, tension between design sensibilities can be beautiful, and contrast can be best achieved through extremes but that’s not what we typically see. Far too often we see the result when a ‘kitchen company’ is hired to design a kitchen without consideration for the rest of the home. It should feel integrated. Like it was meant to be that way. You shouldn’t walk from one room to the next and suffer from time warp syndrome (a made-up malady but you get the point). Your kitchen style and should reflect the style of your home. This includes the home’s architecture, existing furnishings (if they are staying), color palette, and overall aesthetic. 

Kitchen Design and the Rest of Your Home

For example, if you have a predominantly traditional home and you add a ‘space age’ kitchen, it will really stick out – and not in a good way! Don’t get me wrong, you needn’t be handcuffed by your home’s style. A good designer can bridge the two styles to create an updated harmonious result. Knowing what is the right update for your home is the job of a designer. This is where professional help makes a big difference!

coffee table
Here we have a modern kitchen in a traditional home. The uniting element was the repetition of honey oak which was the flooring throughout the home, and repeating the colour of the millwork around the fireplace in the upper cabinetry in the kitchen giving an the kitchen a look that made sense in the space. It was kept white and bright but the homeowner didn’t have to reno the entire house to work with the new kitchen.

Gather Ideas for Your Aesthetic

Gather ideas for what your dream kitchen will look like. Pinterest, Houzz, and print magazines are great ways to develop and communicate ideas.  There is always growth involved. You may start out thinking you know what you want but the more you see, the more your ideas evolve (the perils of a designer for their home).

It’s important to do your research before you start. We’ve done a lot of it for you and bring that to the table but if you choose to go-it-alone you will benefit from reading up on the latest and greatest. There will always be that new shiny thing around the corner when your BFF renovates a year later. Ignore that.  We can help you make the best decisions with the options available to you. The good news? This is our favourite part. 


Be Patient

You know what I’m going to say next, Rome wasn’t built in a day. haste makes waste, and all those clichés come to mind when renovating a kitchen. We get the most calls for a kitchen renos in October/November when people start to remember the mayhem of the holidays from last year. News flash: THAT’S TOO LATE! This is why I am writing this post NOW.

Once you choose the right professionals to take on the job, your most difficult task is to sit and be patient. Designing a kitchen isn’t a situation where we open up a catalogue and pick one for you. There are many details to be ironed out over the coming months. Each decision carefully considered, and then reconsidered when we move on to the next step to see that they all still work together. It is better to do it right the first time, or wait until you have the means to hire a professional to do it right for you. Again, I have been called in to specify a paint colour on a kitchen when a pro had not been advising on the material selections. They did not have a good outcome. Training on reading colour undertones, education to know what materials are available and which will perform best in your application, what style elements to use to achieve a cohesive result are what we go to school for years to learn.

HGTV has done a lot for the design industry in creating the longing for a better home but really left the homeowner believing in a false dream. The dream that with a magic wand, a small investment, and a half hour show, magic can happen.   

Magic can happen! Here’s kitchen that inspired this post:


If you want to get your kitchen wrapped up by the holidays, be sure to start your project no later than this spring.

Whether you go it alone (and we totally get that), want a little help, or want it all done for you, we love to help with kitchens.

There are a number of ways we can help:

  • Have questions on where to go, when to start (we’ve answered that) or how to begin? Book a consultation. 
  • Ready to start planning? Download any of our design guides to help you get started.
  • Want some help with materials and finishes (hint: this is where most people go wrong), let’s talk about our “Kitchen Lite” package.
  • What the full deal? Our “Full Kitchen Renovation” Package may be for you.

Everything starts with a half hour complimentary telephone conversation. It costs you nothing to call and explore ideas.