Kitchen Renovation 101 (Part 1)

Expectations vs. Reality

For Your Kitchen Renovation Project

TV only shows you the glamorous side


With so many home design shows flooding the airwaves, it’s hard to determine which one gives you the best information on what to expect while embarking on a renovation project. In our humble opinion, not one accurately depicts what Long Island homeowners experience during this process.

The average minor kitchen renovation project on Long Island costs about $25,000 including labor, cabinetry, countertops, flooring, appliances, lighting fixtures, cabinetry hardware, backsplash and paint. That does not include relocating appliances, plumbing, or electric.  The average major kitchen remodel will set you back about $75,000, including changes to layout, relocation of appliances, upgraded materials, and structural work.

We know, that number can be shocking for some. Especially after viewing a renovation completed in Waco, TX on a tidy budget of $15,000. Keep in mind the cost of living in Texas is nearly three times less than it is on Long Island, so it’s all relative, including labor prices.

Additionally, TV shows make the process seem effortless and fun when in reality, there are so many decisions to be made. It can be extremely stressful at times and if you’re not knowledgeable in the renovation process, it’s downright confusing. Of course, the TV shows all feature fabulous designers who are part of the construction portion of the renovation as well, ensuring that the conceptual look of the space is executed properly. Most Long Island contractors do not have an in-house designer, nor do they care to weigh in on any design decisions.

So what are you to do??

Before buying your ticket on this crazy train, we highly recommend you get organized.  If you don’t have a designer handy, start evaluating what aspects you love from of those thousands of inspiration pictures you’ve pinned.  Was it the backsplash in this photo that captured you? Or was it the barstools that made you drool? Whatever the elements were that inspired you to dream of your new space, start creating an organized list.

Once you’ve identified all of the materials you want in your kitchen space, your second task will be to start sourcing these items and adding the costs into your list. This will begin your tentative budget.

Your next step will be to start visiting kitchen design centers to get ideas of the cabinetry products available, which lines meet your needs and to plan out the kitchen layout so you can see what options are available. Once you’ve decided on a tentative layout you feel best works for your space, present your contractor your concept so they can have a better handle on the real scope of work. We say this because the average homeowner brings the contractor to the home before really diving into this process. The contractor quotes the job then the homeowner starts sourcing all the aspects of the project.

Suddenly, the homeowner starts getting the endless texts and phone calls, “I didn’t quote for THIS backsplash. It will cost more to install.” “I didn’t know you wanted THIS type of molding, I am going to have to charge you extra.” It’s the classic Shoulda’-Woulda’-Coulda’ moment. NEVER ASSUME your contractor knows what you want which is why being organized and getting ahead of the chaos will be your best foot forward.

Finally, the average kitchen renovation from demolition to punch list complete is typically two to three months. I know, you feel blinded by that statement! Try to get a timeline from your contractor of what to expect during each week. Refer to that timeline to ensure that you’re ordering your products with ample time prior to installation.

We’re confident you can learn to take the creative reigns and organize your project so reality can feel much more glamorous like it does on TV. Now dive in and do your research! Check out our next blog post to get more deets about your kitchen renovation project. We will be tackling the struggle of when it is okay to make “trendy” or “classic” choices in your space.

For more design and renovation tips, feel free to check us out at Nicolette’s for the Home on Facebook!

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