Dream Kitchen

In many homes, the kitchen is the hub of the house. So perhaps it’s not surprising that kitchens are where homeowners put a lot of remodeling dollars and effort.

Over the last five years, nearly 40 percent of the money homeowners spent in home improvement went into kitchen remodels, according to a recent survey by Houzz Inc.

Creating a Plan

The purpose of a kitchen remodel will determine where a homeowner focuses the most attention, said Elle H-Millard, CKD, a 2018 National Kitchen& Bath Association (NKBA) insider and cast member of HGTV’s Design Star Season 2.

For example, a homeowner updating a kitchen in preparation for a sale of the house might add luxury materials to increase the home’s value.

If you’re remodeling for aesthetic reasons, H-Millard recommends identifying a style that best represents you and reflects the style of your home.

It’s also important to consider how you use your kitchen. Do you entertain or just cook for your family? Do you want the kitchen to be mostly a work space or do you want space for socializing? And, if you do plan to be in the home for a long time, how might you use your kitchen in the future?

“The idea of functionality seems so obvious, but it’s often overlooked,” H-Millard said. “Really dissect how you intend to use your space. Whatever the scenario, design around your lifestyle.”

Setting a Budget

Almost everything in the kitchen – from cabinets to sinks to your natural gas stove – come in a variety of price points.

“Keep in mind that kitchens are like cars: there’s a base model and a luxury end,” H-Millard said. “Determine where you want to be and decide if you have financial wiggle room.”

To determine where to invest your money, consider which upgrades increase your home’s value and how important things like technology, sustainability or minimal maintenance are to you. You’ll also want to determine the remodel’s life span.

“Is this renovation something you want to last a lifetime? Is it for a quick flip? Do you like constant change and think you get bored with it in a few years? These types of questions may determine costs and materials,” H-Millard said.

Adding Appliances

According to the Houzz Kitchen Trends study, 83 percent of homeowners replace at least one appliance during renovations.

When evaluating what to buy and how much to spend on new kitchen appliances, consider how frequently you use a particular item. If you use burners to cook most of the time, you may want to prioritize a natural gas cooktop. If you’re a baker, a natural gas stove can provide moist heat that enhances the consistency and taste of baked goods.

It’s no surprise that ranges and cooktops are popular since natural gas offers many advantages. Natural gas ranges, cooktops and ovens provide professional-level controllable heat for even amateur chefs. And, cooking with natural gas can cost about half as much as cooking with electricity.

Call in the Professionals

H-Millard recommends homeowners hire a professional for a kitchen remodel. However, if you decide to do most of the work yourself, she suggests setting aside extra funds in case things don’t go as planned.

And, finally, H-Millard said, make sure you remember the essentials.

“Where do you plan to eat during the remodel? Consider that your home will be disrupted for what could be months,” she said. “Make a plan to work through the dust.”

Dream Kitchen was written by Tonya McMurray for Natural Living, a publication distributed by Southeast Gas and published by Energy Solutions Center.