Edmonton Journal - - WEATHER - CHRIS STANDRING

To­day’s kitchen is more than just an area for cook­ing and eat­ing. This is where the fam­ily gath­ers and guests so­cial­ize. It’s clearly the most evolved room in the house, mov­ing from mere util­ity space a few decades ago to a high-func­tion­ing area for liv­ing and en­ter­tain­ing. Given the pace of that evo­lu­tion,it’s no sur­prise that kitchen ren­o­va­tions are in high de­mand and of­fer some of the best re­turns on in­vest­ment for home­own­ers. But be­ware of over­spend­ing on a kitchen reno, say pro­fes­sional ap­prais­ers. The value of what­ever you pull out needs to be fac­tored in with the cost of re­place­ment when cal­cu­lat­ing re­turn on in­vest­ment. That’s why it of­ten makes more sense to reface ex­ist­ing kitchen cab­i­nets, es­pe­cially if their con­struc­tion is sound and the con­fig­u­ra­tion will re­main largely the same. “New isn’t al­ways bet­ter when ren­o­vat­ing an older kitchen,” says Ken Ni­choll of Reface Magic, a lead­ing Edmonton com­pany for over 15 years in en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly kitchen and bath ren­o­va­tions. “Of­ten in older homes we see solid wood con­struc­tion in the kitchen cab­i­netry that’s of a higher qual­ity than what is go­ing into new cab­i­net con­struc­tion to­day.” So it can make more sense to keep the old cab­i­nets but reface them with new doors and­hard­ware. Not only does refac­ing makes sense fi­nan­cially, “cost­ing 40 per cent less on av­er­age than in­stalling new cab­i­nets,” says Ni­choll, but it makes sense eco­log­i­cally, with less waste going­in­tothe­land­fill. Refac­ing is a sim­ple way to achieve a whole new kitchen look with­out a full de­mo­li­tion and re­in­stall. Ex­ist­ing drawer and door fronts are re­moved and dis­carded. Ex­posed sur­faces are pre­pared and cov­ered with lam­i­nate, vinyl or ve­neer to match your new doors. Cab­i­nets can be mod­i­fied to gain new space for stor­age and to ac­com­mo­date newap­pli­ances. Even if re­sale value and re­turn on in­vest­ment aren’t your pri­mary con­sid­er­a­tions, be­ing able to en­joy your up­dated kitchen and bath­room may be all the mo­ti­va­tion you need to un­der­take tha­trenoth­isyear. So what fea­tures date your kitchen the most, bring­ing down the value and ap­peal of your home? Th­ese are ques­tions that Ni­choll deals with all the time. He says there are 10 signs your kitchen has gone from timely to be­hind the times. 1. Old-style stained wood grain in kitchen cab­i­netry. “Whether dark or golden oak, a prom­i­nent wood grain will date the kitchen more than any other fea­ture. Also, wood isn’t the best choice for the dry cli­mate of Al­berta. It dries out, cracks and fades. We’re see­ing more home­own­ers opt for sturdy fresh look­ing lam­i­nate in neu­tral pal­ettes that are clas­sic and time­less.” 2. An­gled bulk­heads over the up­per cab­i­nets. “Th­ese aren’t done any­more and are just wasted space. To­day’s look is to have them open over­head or ex­tend the cab­i­nets straight up to the ceil­ing, adding height to the room and more stor­ages­pace.” 3. Ex­posed cab­i­netry hinges. “Most of to­day’s kitchens are built with con­cealed Euro-style hinges. Switch­ing to th­ese new hinges can in­stant­lyup­datey­ourk­itchen.” 4. Wasted space in cor­ners, with shelv­ing that’s in­ac­ces­si­ble. “We can in­stall handy pull­outs and new, more-sta­bi­lized lazy su­sans that pro­vide ac­cess now to this for­merly use­less space.” 5. Hang­ing (over­head) penin­sula cab­i­nets that block sight lines. “Th­ese are elim­i­nated in mod­ern kitchens to open up space and add light­ing.” 6. Dec­o­ra­tive range hoods and pot racks that add clut­ter and ob­struct sight lines. “To­day’s kitchens are stream­lined and aim for open­ness and clean lines.” 7. Old-style lam­i­nate coun­ter­tops with dark seam lines at the edges or tiles with grouted lines. “To­day’s coun­ter­tops, whether gran­ite, tile or lam­i­nate, are seam­less with a sub­stan­tial bev­elled edg­ing. We have a va­ri­ety of coun­ter­top ma­te­ri­als. But to save costs, we rec­om­mend cus­tomers have a sec­ond look at the new gen­er­a­tion of lam­i­nates that use ad­vanced print­ing tech­niques to closely re­sem­ble more ex­pen­sive ma­te­ri­als like traver­tine, gran­ite, butcher blockan­de­ven­stain­lesssteel.” 8. Sin­gle-sourced over­head light­ing or big, flu­o­res­cent light­ing pan­els. “Th­ese are very dated now. In­stalling a va­ri­ety of light­ing fix­tures, such as pen­dants and un­der cab­i­net light­ing, can all help bring some light and life to the space. Light­ing on the un­der­side of the up­per cab­i­net with LED tape lights can be a hid­den as­set in any kitchen, pro­vid­ing task light­ing as well as soft, am­bi­ent light­ing to give the­roomawar­m­glow.” 9. Back­splashes that only reach a few inches above the coun­ter­top. “When build­ing or re­mod­elling, take the back­splash right up to the up­per cab­i­nets for a mod­ern de­sign­er­look.” 10. Old, scratched or stained sinks. “Th­ese are an in­ex­pen­sive way to up­date a kitchen, es­pe­cially if you are go­ing to re­place your coun­ter­top.” Your turn to host a big hol­i­day din­ner this year? You can wow your guests with a brand new look. For more in­spi­ra­tion on how to re­fresh yourk­itchen,vis­itre­facemagic.ca.


It can make sense to keep the old cab­i­nets but reface them with new doors and hard­ware to get a fresh look for your kitchen or bath­room, says Ken Ni­choll.

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