Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Kitchens: Do them Right. Do them Once.

There is an article in the current issue of Kitchen & Bath Design News (December 2007) that details the findings of a survey of more than 800 consumers who have remodeled their kitchens.

One paragraph caught my eye and I would like to discuss it further here:

"Researchers also found that more than three out of 10 remodelers said they would spend more money on a kitchen remodel if they had to do it over, while only 7% said they would spend less. Of those who would spend more, the key things they would do differently next time are upgrading the cabinets and increasing the size of the kitchen."

Now cabinets are a big chunk of your outlay when putting together all the things you have to buy when remodeling a kitchen. They can easily amount to a quarter or half of the total budget.

So why do you think these (now) experienced remodeling consumers would spend more on the biggest part of their kitchen budgets? I think I can answer that question:

1. The cabinets are not as sturdy as they assumed, and are not holding up.

2. The shelves are not thick enough and are bending under the weight of their dinnerware.

3. The drawers are very shallow and items catch in them all the time.

4. They keep chipping plates trying to get around center dividers in two door cabinets.

5. The shelves in their cabinets are fixed and not adjustable, or the adjustments are drilled too far apart to give real adjustability.

6. The shelves in their base cabinets are 2/3 depth instead of full depth.

7. Their drawers are made of skimpy materials, like particleboard, and are breaking.

8. Their cabinets are unfinished on the insides and require shelf paper and drawer liners.

9. Their cabinet hardware items (hinges, drawer slides, etc.) are flimsy and not holding up.

10. The finish on their cabinets is lacquer, and is not holding up.

The fact is, these people assumed that the beautiful cabinets they saw in the showroom were all the same because they could not SEE any difference between the set that cost $8,000 and the set that cost $24,000. And now they have LEARNED the difference by living with their choices.

Now, I am not saying that you have to spend three times what you would like to spend to get a quality cabinet. But what I am saying is that you have to look at what you are buying with a critical eye. And you MUST do the research to know what features you absolutely must have in cabinets.

Then, you must spend whatever is needed to get a quality cabinet...Otherwise you will regret spending less, as those consumers in the study did.

They also regretted not expanding their kitchens, either by opening up the walls, or adding on...

Most people get only one shot at a kitchen remodel in their lifetimes, so these mistakes go on and on.

Don't regret. Do it right.