Renovating your kitchen can be a challenging project, but it doesn’t have to be. Local experts provide guidance and valuable tips to help you create a luxurious new kitchen.
If you think about it, your kitchen is one of the most popular rooms in your home. It’s where you cook meals for your family. It’s where all of your tasty beverages are concocted. It also serves as a central gathering place for your friends and family. One of the first rooms your loved ones usually see when they walk into your home is your kitchen.
So, why not make the focal point of your home stand out?
There are several options at your disposal to transform your kitchen from ordinary to luxurious. It just takes the perfect combination of a dream, a plan and the right kind of guidance.
Do it Right the First Time
Remodeling your kitchen can be a tall and pricey project that could take several weeks to complete. To help streamline the process, it’s important to do get everything done right the first time. This means doing your homework, paying close attention to detail and, above all, coming up with the right kind of concept.
Before you embark on a quest to create your dream kitchen, Diane Feuillerat, owner of Kitchens by Diane, 6346 Riverside Blvd., in Loves Park, Ill., says it’s important that you have a plan in place.
“You want to think about the layout, functionally and materials in that order,” she says. “Coming up with a design is the very first thing that we work on with people. We help them figure out how they want their kitchen to be redesigned or remodeled, because not too many homes are going up with luxury kitchens.”
Feuillerat says the project will move along quicker if you bring some of your own ideas to the table, which helps speed up the design process.
“I can design a luxury kitchen, but it might not be what you have in mind because everyone’s idea of a luxury kitchen is a little different,” she says.
The majority of kitchen designs involve the cabinets. In most cases, the design and look of those cabinets will dictate how the rest of your kitchen will look.
One popular cabinet trend is tall wall cabinets that are big enough to reach the ceiling.
“Most general construction kitchens have a soffit, where you have a chunk of drywall before the cabinet starts,” Feuillerat says. “You can take that out and bring the cabinets all the way to the height of the ceiling. That look is the most impressive, and it’s what catches your eye. It also makes more of a luxury kitchen.”
By eliminating that awkward dead space, Feuillerat says, you’ll end up with more storage, in addition to a more luxurious and stylish look.
“If you see tall cabinets, you can tell someone put more thought in the kitchen,” she says.
When it comes to colors for your cabinets, Feuillerat says one style reigns supreme. Dark colors are outdated, while bright white is in.
“White painted cabinets are really hot these days,” she says. “Most people go with a painted look, but these days, more people are going with a white look instead of dark.”
One common mistake that Feuillerat notices is some homeowners taking shortcuts and putting Band-Aids on their kitchen remodels. Instead of diving into a kitchen renovation head first, a lot of people will piecemeal their project, which could end up costing more in the long run.
“They’ll take their broken-down old cabinets and put a beautiful piece of quartz countertop on top of it, and that’s not the way to fix up a kitchen,” Feuillerat says. “You’re going to end up spending more money in the long run because we’re going to eventually have to take the countertop off and risk breaking it to install new cabinets, when everything should’ve been done at the same time in the first place. It’s much better to just do everything right the first time.”
The finishing touches to your kitchen come in the form of fashionable backsplashes, which bring the look of your cabinets and countertops together. They also add another personal touch to your home: a sense of personality.
“We do tile backsplashes in luxury kitchens most of the time,” Feuillerat says. “People are getting shapes that have become a bit larger with several different designs.”
Feuillerat says the color of the cabinets and countertops usually dictate what color the backsplash will be.
“Everything has to work together,” she says.
Customize Your Cabinets
Why limit yourself to cabinets a big-box store can offer, when you can design your own cabinets any way you want?
John Kruschke, owner of Premier Woodwork, 1522 Seventh St., Rockford, can help you design and create any unique style of cabinets that fits in with your luxury kitchen. And it’s a good thing, because he’s seen some pretty creative ideas from his customers.
“After completing a unique kitchen for one of our customers, they had us take wood from an old barn that was once on the land where their home stands,” he says. “Choosing our cabinets means the options are endless because you get to choose the size, color, and any specific hardware that you want.”
Kruschke says he sees more homeowners incorporating natural wood elements into their kitchen projects. He says homeowners are also using their imagination to create solid wood shelves or even a wood accent island.
“We are also seeing some very neat engineering solutions for storage, organization and function,” he says. “We’re also able to match existing cabinets, provide solutions for custom and unique spaces, and provide an unparalleled level of quality.”
Before embarking on a remodeling project, Kruschke says it’s important to focus on the function of the kitchen. To do that, he also says it’s very important to pay close attention to every aspect of the project.
“When it comes to a luxury kitchen, it’s really important to focus on the details,” he says. “Making a kitchen look good in a photo can be rather easy. The difficult part is all the finishing touches that complete the job.”
Creating a luxury kitchen could potentially increase the property value of a home, if everything is completed correctly.
Kruschke says he always runs into people who take shortcuts, which could hurt the value of a home.
“Oftentimes, we hear that investing in our kitchens is the best way to increase the property value, but too often we see people cutting corners and skimping out on quality cabinets,” Kruschke says. “Consider the size of the investment and the importance of the kitchen. It might be worth the extra investment to choose custom cabinets.”
Between cooking and preparing meals, cleaning up, and in some cases, eating dinner, your kitchen goes through a lot each day.
To withstand the hardships you put your kitchen through, it’s important to incorporate high-quality material into your design, like a durable countertop.
Kayla Hauch, kitchen and bath designer at Benson Stone Co., 1100 11th St., Rockford, suggests using a higher-end product, like quartz or grainite, for your countertop. Quartz is a man-made material that can be more-solid in color, or have a more-controlled pattern, Hauch says. Granite is a natural stone, which lends to more variation within this natural material.
Hauch finds that homeowners typically prefer one selection over the other.
“It’s really a toss-up, because they’re both very, very durable countertops,” Hauch says.
If you want to add a “wow” factor to your kitchen, you have to think about all of the design elements, from the floor all the way to the ceiling, Hauch adds.
So, in addition to countertops, the right style of lighting can also add luxury to a kitchen.
“Layering lighting really adds to the overall function and look of a kitchen,” Hauch says. “We are adding recessed cans throughout the space, as well under-cabinet lighting. Installing a decorative pendant or chandelier over an island is another design element that we do quite often.”
These days, kitchens are being designed with more than one color of cabinets, Hauch adds. White has always been a timeless, classic color, but consider having a contrasting color or stained wood for an island.
“We do a lot of remodels where the home already has golden oak trim throughout,” Hauch says. “When remodeling just their kitchen, we take that into consideration and choose colors that will coordinate and compliment what is already there.”
Since most homes have the living room situated within close proximity to the kitchen, Benson Stone sometimes refaces fireplaces during or after a kitchen remodel to better coordinate the overall look of a home.
“The kitchen leads into other projects, like refacing fireplaces or running the same flooring throughout the house for consistency,” Hauch says.
It may not be something you’ve considered, but a fireplace can sometimes help separate two rooms while creating some additional ambiance within your abode.
It’s not a trend that’s super common, but Hauch has seen the success of adding a fireplace into a luxury kitchen.
“It’s a unique element to add,” she says.
Many luxury kitchens also have quirky accessories. Hauch says more people are installing under-cabinet tracks that house light switches and outlets. It helps to keep the kitchen looking brand new.
“This is a nice feature, so we can have a continuous backsplash tile that has no interruption from all of the outlets and switches you would typically find there,” Hauch says. “This just makes the kitchen and countertop look a little more clean.”
A lot of homes are also getting equipped with personal beverage centers, or places to house wine, glasses or spirits. While other parts of your kitchen are made for preparing food, cooking and cleaning up, the beverage center creates a designated space to display and store beverages while establishing a dedicated space to test your mixology skills.
A beverage center can be an added space for children’s drinks as well, including juice boxes and water bottles.
“We’re also installing wine coolers and places to store your bottles or wine glasses,” Hauch adds.
The Heartbeat of Your Home
Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen or starting from scratch, it’s important to have an end goal in mind. It’s also a good idea to spend a little more now to create a kitchen that you can show off for several years to come.
Simply put, you get what you pay for.
“I think a good kitchen sets the tone for the rest of the house,” Hauch says. “The whole house should flow together and the kitchen is the main gathering place. Everything starts from there.”