Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"So, Where Do We Begin On Doing A Kitchen Remodel?"

Kitchen remodels are very popular because kitchens are the principal focus of a floor plan. Whether someone is shopping for an existing home or a new home, the kitchen is one of the areas in the home that receives the most focus and attention.


Over the years, kitchens have been a prominent area in the home as a gathering place (for family, neighbors, and close friends), business center (for homework, paying bills at the kitchen table, and hearing presentations from insurance agents and others), and of course food preparation and eating areas. There are even more activities that occur in the kitchen. It clearly is one of, if not the most, multi-faceted area of the home.

There was a time, long before radio and TV, when most of the home's activities took place in the kitchen - cooking, staying warm by the large fireplace or cook stove, sitting, eating, gathering, and basic living. Thus, it's no surprise that this has continued down through the years to modern times.

So, recognizing the importance and significance of the kitchen as a focal point in the home and one deserving of attention because of its importance to the daily activities in the home, it's natural that the kitchen is an area that many people want to decorate, renovate, or redesign - depending on whether they already live in the home or they are planning it for after they move into it.

With a space as varied in activities and needs as the kitchen - even though physically it may be small - there are so many areas that can be examined and then modified.

All that said, where does one begin - in our homes or in the ones we are supervising for clients?

Obviously if there is a specific need that someone has with mobility, sensory, or cognitive issues or concerns, this would be addressed. However, assuming that remodeling is just being done to accommodate normal aging or people without any immediate physical limitations, there are so many places to begin renovations. The characteristics and physical qualities of the home may suggest some areas that require more immediate attention than others, but there is nothing from a physical needs standpoint of the occupants that suggests or demands attention.

Therefore, there are many places from which to begin. Some will be a project in themselves and may be all that is undertaken in one remodeling session. Other areas of concern may be combined and done all at once - whether everything that needs to be done in the kitchen is addressed or not.

Rather than approaching a kitchen remodel from a very aggressive, comprehensive standpoint where everything is removed to the studs and subfloor, there are so many other ways to begin. The comprehensive approach might be appropriate for some people, but just redoing the flooring, removing or refacing the cabinets, redoing the appliances, adding or changing out the lighting, putting in or removing an island, creating an eating area, adding technology, installing different windows or doors, changing out the cabinet hardware, or making other such changes to parts of the kitchen without touching other aspects of it might be effective as well.

When we think of a "kitchen remodel" there is no template or single approach that comes to mind. It can be quite simple or a total makeover. It can involve adding to the space or shrinking it. It can combine the kitchen with space from adjacent rooms. It can raise or lower the ceiling and so much more. The configuration and orientation of the space can change.

Clearly there is a lot to consider is renovating a kitchen - with budget, safety concerns, accessibility, how the space needs to be used, and the desires and personal tastes of the occupants being major factors also.


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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.