Are you about to renovate your kitchen?
Sometimes I feel that I have better access to information after a decision has been made. Normally, I don’t have trouble making a decision but sadly I was in information overload. Deciding to renovate was to be more of committment than I was ready for. Apart from the cost, technology changes and new ideas are frequently on the market. The things that I’ve learnt after renovating our house I thought I’d share with you in this post.
We did a major renovation. The whole of our home was transformed even though we actually only filled an “L” shape at the back. This extra room at the back meant that we could rearrange the internal living areas and in the process now have an open plan kitchen /dining/living room.
Great, a clean slate. A friend recommended someone that had helped a couple of her friends and he was great at designing a floor plan that worked for us. Originally we had thought we had to go up into a second story to achieve the extra space we wanted. Instead, he was able to show us how by blocking a hallway and dropping a wall down in one long room we could achieve all that we wanted. The whole design was really very cleverly thought out.
By major renovation I mean totally new bathroom, new kitchen and new laundry/second bathroom. The kitchen was our major change. We now have a long island bench and I really wanted to incorporate an an item that I’d never had before: a dual zone wine fridge. My husband was a bit horrified as he is a non drinker and he questioned how useful it would be. No really. Nearly 4 years into the new version of our home and I still love it.
So here are my tips:
- before finalising your plans, really think about your “wow” design. What is the thing that you would love in your kitchen but were maybe too cautious to make happen? We’d been in our home over 25 years when we decided to renovate for a second time. This time around we were getting a big kitchen that had room for a dishwasher (yes I know, we’d never had one before). Sure, we were getting a new kitchen but the one “wow” item I wanted was a wine fridge. If money and space were not a problem, what would you have in your kitchen?
- visit all major appliance manufacturers and attend as many cooking demonstrations as you can. I don’t think anything is to be gained by visiting a retailer until you are ready to buy. Each of the major manufacturers hold cooking demonstrations where they showcase their ovens and cooktops. The more enlightened manufacturers will also have technical support at their cooking demo. Take along your plans and ask questions.
- Be brave and come out of your comfort zone a little. It can be daunting looking at the range of alternatives available. Even if you can’t see how you’d ever change from gas or electric, spend some time finding out what what Induction is or what is a Steam Oven. There are now alternatives to having a range hood over the cooktop.
I have 2 regrets and luckily both are fixable, but I also made 2 choices that have turned out to be better than expected.
At the time we looked at induction cooktops and while money was tight, it wasn’t the reason we didn’t buy one. Fear was the reason. Back then I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the number of choices we had to make each week. This renovation was a huge investment in time and money and I took the soft option and went back into my comfort zone and chose a gas cooktop. The gas cooktop is great and works fine. It is a little bit more time consuming cleaning it and thankfully that is my husband’s job. The other thing is that the bench tops are slightly high for me and the gas cooktop adds another 3-4 cm on top.
The other regret is the range hood. We have a large open plan living area and so needed a quiet range hood. I had researched this issue and had finally chosen a make and model, only to be persuaded by a retailer to purchase another one. The one we have is easy to clean as the top fits nicely into the dishwasher but forget any conversation while it is on. There are now range hoods built into the cooktop (www.bora.com.au as an example). This would open up the design features or allow more storage space. I picture a pendant light hanging above the cooktop instead of the great grey beast we have now.
The first great choice as I’ve already discussed is the wine fridge. Not only does it store my red and white wines, it also holds soft drinks and beers when needed and if space is available. So it really is a multi purpose little helper.
The second great choice was buying a Combi Steam Oven. I really no idea how to use this and didn’t really get a lot of information from the internet. I am so glad that we bought this oven. It gets used every day and our standard oven is only used for grilling or as an overflow oven.
Be brave, do an enormous amount of research and come out of your comfort zone and be open to new ideas.