Your kitchen is the heart of your home, it’s a space that gets used multiple times a day by everyone in your family. I won't sugarcoat it, taking the kitchen out of service while it gets renovated is going to be stressful. At some point, you are going to be frustrated with the process BUT remember the renovation process is temporary and at the end of the renovation you’ll be able to enjoy your dream kitchen for years and years. Here are some tips to help you survive.

Tip #1 - Set Realistic Expectations

Time and money are the two biggest stressors in a major renovation. Plan to be without your kitchen for at least 2-3 months. Your contractor will be able to give you a more accurate timeline based on the size of your kitchen and the scope of work. Be mindful of the fact that unforeseen delays will happen – cabinetry arrives damaged, walls are opened up and unexpected things are found, plumbing fixtures get backordered, etc. Your team will do their best to expedite solutions to these issues but sometimes the solutions will create delays. No one wants a delay but they will almost always happen, so add a few weeks onto the schedule that your contractor gives you, especially if you’re planning to host an event to unveil your new kitchen; that buffer of time will create less stress for everyone.

Make sure you have a clear understanding of the cost of your renovation before any work begins. Also, find out how your contractor handles changes during the project, whether those be changes you choose to add (example: while the electrician is here can they add a ceiling fan in the living room) or changes that become necessary for the project’s completion (example: the subfloor was rotted and needs to be replaced). Will the contractor issue change orders indicating the cost of the new work prior to commencing the new work? Will they be billing you at the end of the project for the added work or along the way? How and when will you know what the additional costs are?


Designed by Brick + Beam Studio l Photo by Todd Vorenkamp

Tip #2 – Prepare for a Mess

Mess is part of the renovation process but taping off the construction area will help contain some of the dust. Most contractors will do this as part of their prep process with ZipWall or plastic and painters tape. You also want to make sure that the contractor is protecting your existing finishes (floors/walls) from their point of entry into the house to the area of renovation – there will be a lot of people walking back and forth many, many times to bring each material into your kitchen. When the project is finished, bring in a construction cleaning company to do a final clean of the space, this may be something included in your contractor's scope of work, if not they can usually recommend someone. A construction cleaning company is going to do a better job of cleaning the dust than a regular house cleaner will do. If you’re having new furniture or window treatments installed as part of the project don’t have those pieces delivered until the final construction cleaning is complete.


Designed by Brick + Beam Studio l Photo by Elaine Fredrick Photography

Tip #3 – Make a Plan

Your design team will create a plan for the renovation of your kitchen but you’ll need another kind of plan to figure out how to live without a kitchen for several months. If you aren’t able to temporarily move out and live with family or friends, you’ll need to create a temporary kitchen. In New England, many of our clients prefer to do their kitchen renovations in the summer months so they can use their grill for cooking. Your microwave, slow cooker, toaster, and air fryer will become your day-to-day appliances. You’ll also want a place to keep your refrigerator. Can the fridge live in the garage or basement for a while? Can you reconfigure your dining room to serve as a temporary kitchen? It won’t be super convenient but it’ll get you through.

I’ve also had clients plan their summer vacation during construction so they’re away from the disruption for at least a week or two. A few clients have also turned their RVs into their temporary kitchens or borrowed RVs from friends during the renovation so that they can have a temporary, dust-free, kitchen setup.


Designed by Brick + Beam Studio l Photo by Elaine Fredrick Photography

In Conclusion

Be patient with your team and trust your team – they want the best experience and outcome for you and your family. Things are going to go wrong and delays will happen. I don’t say this to scare you, I say it to be super realistic. Issues will arise that are unforeseen until walls, floors and ceilings are opened up. Plus we are still dealing with Covid which has caused its own sets of delays. Remember the discomfort/inconvenience/frustration is only temporary, if you’re one of our clients, I’ll remind you of this along the way. Your team of designers and contractors will do everything possible to create the kitchen of your dreams for your family to enjoy for years to come.

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