10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start a Kitchen Remodel

From Architectural Digest

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start a Kitchen Remodel

Before you tear down any walls, look at this list

For those about to attempt a kitchen renovation—or really any renovation—the “Kitchen Renovation 101: What You Need to Know” panel at our 2016 Architectural Digest Design Show was the place to be. Moderator George Oliphant of NBC’s George to the Rescue spoke to three kitchen design professionals, including Mike Daddio, principal at Design Development NYC, about how to create the kitchen of your dreams. Daddio shared ten questions that will make your life—and your contractor’s life—easier, and we’ve got them all here. “If you have these questions answered before you call the contractor, than we’ll be able to have a much more productive, streamlined conversation,” he says.

1. What is your objective?
“Are you planning to sell your apartment in three years? Are you intending to spruce up for that sale? Or are you looking to have all the bells and whistles?”

2. How long do you plan to live in the home?
“If you’re going to be living there for one or two years, you probably want to consider a different type of renovation, something that’s maybe not as costly or something that’s more timeless and traditional in the aesthetic that’s chosen by your design team,” says Daddio. “If you’re going to be living there a little bit longer, then naturally you’ll be spending a bit more and designing something that you really love.”

3. Do you have children?
“If so, where are you going to store everything? Are you going to have a kitchen with a magnetic board; do you hang your children’s artworks?” Resilient, easy-to-clean materials, whether wood or stone, are also ideal for kid-friendly kitchens.

4. Do you have allergies and health issues to consider?
If someone in your family suffers from asthma or other breathing issues, let your contractor know. “Things that are important to stay away from if you do have any of those concerns are high-gloss lacquers and urea and phenol formaldehydes, which are used in the adhesives of most plywoods.”

5. Will you be living in your home during the renovation?
“It adds to the lead time and the construction duration, so that’s something that’s very important to know. It also adds to the level of protection and cleanliness that needs to be maintained in the renovation.”

6. What is your budget?
“This question has to be something that’s first answered for yourself, so you understand what amount of money you want to spend, but it’s important to be honest with the people on your design team, and your contractors, about what that number is.” Once you have a number, add a 10 to 20 percent contingency.

7. What have people in similar homes accomplished, and what have been their limitations?
“What I always encourage on first meetings, in New York City especially, is that you invite your building’s superintendent,” says Daddio. “Getting to the answer of ‘Can we do it?’ sooner rather than later is very, very helpful in the process.” Research local zoning laws, landmark preservation rules, and yard setbacks, too.

8. Can you remove that wall to open up the kitchen?
“It’s very easy to ask the building’s superintendent or other people within the apartment that may have completed renovations. It’s also great to schedule walkthroughs with those people to see what they’ve done.”

9. What’s behind those walls?
“Are there utility risers that limit the amount of wall that can be removed safely?”

10. When can we get started?
“I always say that a well-planned project is a well-executed project,” says Daddio. “Take the time with the architecture and design team to properly plan everything that you’re doing. Source your long-lead materials and purchase them in advance.”