Your commitment to a beautiful kitchen can only be completely realized if both you and your contractor can see your vision clearly, so working together to achieve the same goal is paramount. Scot Waggoner, CEO of W.B. Builders in Edina, Minnesota, offers these tips to improve the working relationship by synthesizing your kitchen makeover goals from the outset.
1. Interview a few different builders to find out where you have a rapport and a similar vision. Contractors who try to talk you into improvements that fall outside of your comfort zone should raise a red flag with you.
2. Base your contractor decision on multiple factors (such as previous work, your comfort level working together, price and a shared goal) and not just one, since “comparing contractors isn’t possible,” Waggoner says. “It isn’t an apples to apples-type of comparison, since building trust in the relationship is so important.”
3. Create a budget worksheet up front. Some contractors may suggest a low price at the outset, but then nickel and dime homeowners down the road by suggesting upgrades that weren’t originally planned. Your contractor should create a budget worksheet at the outset so you know what your costs will look like. “We would never suggest a $12,000 budget for a client who told us they only have $8,000 to work with,” Waggoner says.
4. It can be easy to leave your entire kitchen remodel in the hands of a capable contractor, but when you actually go to use your kitchen and find that your food storage bowls are in the perfect-sized cabinet that happens to be clear across the room from your stove, you might wish you’d offered more input.
5. Prior to your remodel, you should start paying attention to exactly how you use your kitchen. Do you sit by the window to enjoy your morning coffee? If so, ensure that your contractors create adequate space to keep the coffee maker and mugs nearby, thus eliminating extra steps every morning. In addition, you might want to ask the contractor to install your utensil drawers near the dishwasher so you don’t have to go far when unloading your freshly washed dishes.
6. You should also keep kids in mind when designing your kitchen—even if your family plans are still on the distant horizon. If children will be living in your home, make sure you create a child-friendly kitchen. For instance, if your original plan was to make all of the dining space accessible via tall barstools, you may also want to plan for a lower table elsewhere in the kitchen.
by Torrey Kim