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Think of Your Kitchen as the "Heart" of Your Home

It has been said that your home is your castle, even your "cocoon," your protection. If so, then you might want to think of the kitchen as the heart of your home. If you plan to do some remodeling to your home this year, you should give consideration to the kitchen. Why? The kitchen is used by the entire family and is the focal point of many social activities. If you choose to remodel your kitchen, then, don't forget to take everyone into consideration on your planning process. Let's answer some commonly asked question about kitchen improvements:

How much will it cost? It's difficult to come up with an exact price. The cost will be based on all components that go into the kitchen job, such as quality of materials used, room size, style of lighting installed, and what type of countertops you decide to have put in. There's also the cabinetry to consider, the appliances, flooring, and, of course, the amount of labor needed for the job.

As far as labor, take into consideration that some things may be more costly than others. Moving existing water drains and water lines on a slab foundation to the other side of the room will require quite a bit of labor. Keep in mind that the decisions you make for your kitchen based on your needs and lifestyles may be labor-intensive.

How do we start on a floor layout? Think about the work space in your kitchen as a "work triangle." The points of this triangle are the refrigerator, the sink, and the range. An efficient kitchen should be designed with these reference points considered from the beginning as a basis for the whole plan on paper. And you should ensure the "work triangle" is interrupted by walk-through traffic as little as possible.

How much counter top do I need? An ideal amount of counter top would be at least twenty-one linear feet. There should be at least two feet of counter on one side of the sink and one-and-a-half feet on the other, and there should be a minimum of three linear feet of counter space for food preparation. Another twelve to fifteen inches of counter should be on each side of the cooking surface for setting down hot plates or pans. These are ideal amounts of counter space. Of course, your personal kitchen will have its own unique requirements.

Should we install a kitchen island? If you have the room, definitely. But make sure you consider your kitchen's size and the size of the island desired. You don't want to make the costly mistake of putting too large an island in a small kitchen.

The benefits of an island include extra storage space in the base cabinet and extra outlets (which should be installed to the latest codes. Islands can also have a cook top and a second sink for food preparation, and there could be extra space for dining. The average sized kitchen should allow forty-two inches of clearance on all sides of the island to maintain good traffic flow.

How long should the remodeling job take? The answer to this question depends a great degree on your kitchen. On a minor job, it might be only a few days. However, there are many time frames for kitchen projects depending on the scope of the work. Factors that impact the time frame include such things as plans, bidding, loans, ordering of materials, tear-outs, framing, plumbing, electrical, drywall, and so on. It could be two to four months for the job from first interview with the architect to the final day.

Here are some hints to avoid as many delays as possible.

1. Your plans should be specific to both parties.

2. Establish a temporary kitchen space before the job.

3. Keep children and pets clear of the workers and the area being worked on.

4. Do your homework on appliances and fixtures and have them clearly in mind. Changing your decisions during the job process could add time and cost to the project.

5. Ask how you can help out in order to keep the project on its timeline.

In the long run, your contractor should have the experience, ideas, and knowledge to honor your family lifestyle and needs. Your re-modeler should take into consideration that the heart of your home is being worked on, and that the project is taking place in an area of the house used by all members of the family. Treat your kitchen project with care and plan carefully.

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About the Author

Rudy Nino, SA Building & Remodeling, Co.
20770 Hwy 281 Nor., #108-262
San Antonio, TX 78258

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