We all gather there to start the day, end the day, break bread, sip some tea, read the mail, drink some wine, and check in and out with each other. Without a doubt, the kitchen is the busiest room in the home.
Kitchens, on the one hand, haven’t changed; we still load them up with dry foods, perishable foods and various products. A kitchen’s primary function is to safely store goods and to prepare and serve them in a convenient manner – that’s what hasn’t changed.
What’s changed is that we like our kitchens to make a statement, just like our car does, and we like our kitchens to be more than just a convenient place to serve food. I’d bet we would like our kitchens to be a convenient, stylized, personalized, fun and gourmet place to prepare food and gather.
Some kitchens today have even loftier goals, such as room for two cooks, double dishwashers, two sinks, baking centers, entertainment areas, and a slew of other fun amenities and must-haves. Kitchens have gotten larger, and they have been joined more openly to all of the other rooms in the home.
So let’s start here: what can be done during a kitchen makeover to update a kitchen that’s about 25 years old?
Renovating an Old Kitchen
First, you’ll notice older kitchens might be self-contained rooms, usually flanked by a dining room. Most of those dining rooms are filled with old, dated furniture and are too small to even use. I visit many homes where the dining room is only used one or two times a year, yet it’s heated, furnished and has taxes due on it each year.
I would recommend that if your kitchen is small and joined by a dining room, you consider taking the wall down between the two and design a kitchen that’s open and re-titled “country kitchen,” my definition of a home that no longer has a wasted dining room and small kitchen.
You could further enhance the structural change by lighting the kitchen and new eating area on separate switches so that you can create semi-formal dining by lowering the cooking area lights.
The two floors, if dissimilar, should be made the same. It’s an undesirable look if one is hardwood and the other tile with a long metal demising strip. Consider making them hardwood or tile if possible so the rooms join and flow.
Painting Kitchen Cabinets
The following will help you to determine whether your cabinets can be painted, can be given new doors and drawer fronts, or simply need to be replaced. First, look at the cabinet door shape and style. If the doors are raised panel or flat panel with simple trim around them, then they can likely be painted. Also, if they are oak wood, cherry or maple, it’s fine to paint them. If they have a really strange shape with pulls in the center of the doors, doors are broken, doors have vertical design lines and are not a style you want to keep, consider replacing them.
Let’s say you want to add an island and make some of the doors glass. You could remove all of the doors and drawer faces and toss them out. Install new island cabinets and order additional door and drawer faces and paint them all to match.
That could be a good cost-saving makeover. However, keep in mind that this is a large undertaking and the time required to switch out these components, make the alignment adjustments, replace hinges and hardware and add moldings is quite large. Sometimes when you do the math, it’s better to replace the entire cabinet – even if it’s in good shape!
Replacing Kitchen Cabinets
Don’t be fooled by the temptation to do a makeover thinking you’ll save loads of money because you’re just replacing the fronts of the cabinets. Those fronts are the most expensive part. Also keep in mind that if you opt for the face lift, you’ll still have those 25 year-old cabinet boxes, the same layout and the same old drawer boxes.
If you replace the doors, then you’ll have to do the drawer faces as well. See if the faces are removable or if they are an integral part of the drawer assembly. Also, check the drawer action: are the glides ok, are they under-mount or side-mount glides, and are the drawers dove-tailed construction? Let’s face it, if the drawers are falling apart, the glides are shot and the cabinets are 30 or 40 years old, it may be time to tear them out and replace them with new ones.
Kitchen Makeover in NJ
These are just a few of the considerations of a kitchen makeover, and if you have any questions or need any advice, please reach out to me! Let’s talk about creating the comfortable cooking and gathering space you’ve always wanted.