It’s Gotta Be Big

Want a big­ger kitchen and bath­room in your home? Here’s what it takes to grow a room.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - - HOMES - © CTW Fea­tures By Marla R. Miller

Em­bark­ing on a kitchen or bath re­model or ex­pan­sion isn’t for the DIY week­end war­rior.

As two of the most im­por­tant rooms in a house or condo, de­sign­ers agree a well-done re­model will al­ways add value to a home. But home­own­ers should care­fully con­sider what they hope to ac­com­plish with a re­model or ex­pan­sion - more room, bet­ter flow, a place for the fam­ily to gather, in­doorout­door ac­cess, a bath­room-bed­room suite or spa-like re­treat - and whether it’s a starter home they plan to re­sell, grow in, or live in re­tire­ment.

A kitchen or bath ex­pan­sion in­volves com­mit­ment, plan­ning and bud­get and prod­uct con­sid­er­a­tions be­fore the work ever be­gins. It of­ten re­quires ob­tain­ing var­i­ous per­mits and hir­ing a va­ri­ety of pro­fes­sion­als - de­signer, ar­chi­tect, con­trac­tor, car­pen­ter, elec­tri­cian, and plumber - along with hav­ing your two most used rooms in dis­ar­ray or out of com­mis­sion for up to sev­eral months.

“It’s im­por­tant for home­own­ers to re­mem­ber a kitchen or bath­room is one of the most im­por­tant things they’ll do and they will get their money back on it,” says Jonathan Legate, an in­ter­na­tion­ally pub­lished in­te­rior con­sul­tant and de­signer from Hal­i­fax, Nova Sco­tia and 2015 High Point Mar­ket Style Spot­ter. “It makes the big­gest dif­fer­ence. If they can find a lit­tle ex­tra in their bud­get, it won’t go un­no­ticed.”

Many home­own­ers think they can do the work them­selves to save money, but they may not have the time or skill. It’s best to be re­al­is­tic and it’s worth hir­ing a pro­fes­sional de­signer to over­see the process, or work along­side the gen­eral con­trac­tor to make sure a home­owner’s vi­sion for the space comes to­gether, says de­signer Vanessa Deleon of Vanessa Deleon As­so­ci­ates in New York.

It also can save time and money in the long run by avoid­ing change or­ders, prod­uct de­lays and other set­backs.

“Hir­ing a de­signer first is su­per im­per­a­tive be­cause it’s re­ally im­por­tant to know a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing in de­sign and con­struc­tion,” she says. “Even with the ar­ray of dif­fer­ent brands and prod­ucts, a de­signer knows the pros and cons of all those el­e­ments.”

Good plan­ning goes a long way in mak­ing the pro­ject go smoothly, says Jason He­bert, lead de­signer and ar­chi­tect for a lux­ury home builder in Austin, Texas.

Serv­ing as both ar­chi­tect and builder, Jenk­ins uses a Lifestyle Anal­y­sis and De­sign Pro­posal sys­tem to de­ter­mine the things most im­por­tant to each client and how they live. It also takes into ac­count site vari­ables such as views, pre­vail­ing winds, deed and per­mit­ting re­stric­tions, and to­pog­ra­phy.

“Ev­ery­thing is ac­cord­ing to bud­get, ob­vi­ously,” He­bert says. “Get a good han­dle on the time­frame, cost, prob­a­bly the big­gest thing is hav­ing ev­ery­thing se­lected so ev­ery­thing goes smoother. You have to work ev­ery­thing out in the be­gin­ning so you’re not chang­ing all the time. It’s a process to make changes and there has to be some kind of stop­ping point to move for­ward.”

Home­own­ers have to be re­al­is­tic about phys­i­cal space con­straints, both ex­te­rior and in­te­rior, if they want to ex­pand a room. Tak­ing out a load-bear­ing wall of­ten poses prob­lems, along with the added ex­pense and has­sle of ar­chi­tec­tural draw­ings, build­ing in­spec­tor ap­proval and other struc­tural is­sues.

Condo dwellers are of­ten re­stricted by the over­all lay­out of a build­ing and what is hid­ing be­hind walls. Some pro­vide struc­tural sup­port for the en­tire build­ing. Oth­ers con­ceal pip­ing and wiring that of­ten feed other con­dos and can­not be changed, Deleon says.

He­bert says peo­ple should fo­cus more on how they want to live in the space and qual­ity over quan­tity.

“Some­times big­ger isn’t bet­ter,” He­bert says. “I fig­ure out their needs and likes and typ­i­cally I can work from those ideas and give them a pro­posal of the con­cept de­sign work from there. If you make it too big and coun­ters are too far apart, it’s hard to func­tion in the space. Uti­lize the space you have and add as much as you need to make those func­tions work or aes­thet­i­cally make the de­sign work.”

It’s also im­por­tant to add el­e­ments that are unique or spe­cial to the peo­ple who will live there - maybe it’s a place for a fam­ily to gather and play a game, a spa-like bath­room with a cus­tom shower, or easy ac­cess to the out­doors with doors that open onto a pa­tio or deck off a bed­room-bath suite or the kitchen, He­bert says.

“Over­all, keep it clean and sim­ple and try to do less with more,” he rec­om­mends. “Stick to some of the more clas­si­cal, sim­pler de­signs that aren’t too edgy. Bet­ter qual­ity, bet­ter lights are def­i­nitely part of mak­ing them places you want to be in.”

Adding onto the ex­te­rior of a home will take space away from the yard and in­volve a lot of de­mo­li­tion, per­mits, con­struc­tion and fin­ish­ing work, which also in­creases the cost of the pro­ject.

If ex­pand­ing is not an op­tion, the dilemma be­comes how to re­con­fig­ure an ex­ist­ing space to cre­ate the de­sired floor plan. It usu­ally means giv­ing up a closet, hall­way or spare room or en­croach­ing into an ex­ist­ing bed­room or din­ing room, says Stephanie Pierce, se­nior de­sign stu­dio man­ager at Master­Brand Cab­i­nets.

Pierce agrees a lifestyle anal­y­sis is a crit­i­cal first step. It’s also im­por­tant to plan for lost el­e­ments such as pantry or wall space.

“Re­ally asses your lifestyle and what you want to get out of that space and come up with the plan,” she says. “If you’re giv­ing up space to make a big­ger floor plan, you want to max­i­mize the stor­age or func­tion in the new space.”

A lot can be done with cab­i­netry dur­ing a kitchen re­model to make the most of space, in­clud­ing cab­i­nets to the ceil­ing and adding over­sized or pantry­sized cab­i­nets for ex­tra stor­age.

“Peo­ple want a beau­ti­ful façade, but they re­ally want those stor­age so­lu­tions,” she says. “There are stor­age skews that give the in­te­rior of the cab­i­nets a spe­cific pur­pose and adapt­abil­ity for in­di­vid­ual use; wider doors and pull­outs max­i­mize those in­te­ri­ors.”

Plumb­ing and wiring can be another chal­lenge in bath­room and kitchen re­mod­els and should be fac­tored into the re­design. It’s im­por­tant to con­sider the place­ment of the sink, stove and fridge for prep­ping and cook­ing food. Mov­ing the sink may also in­volve mov­ing the plumb­ing and win­dows.

“I al­ways say fol­low the tri­an­gle method,” Deleon says. “You want the stove­top cen­tered to the tri­an­gle and you don’t want the re­frig­er­a­tor on the op­po­site side of the room.”

Is­lands con­tinue to be a pop­u­lar way to cre­ate a more open-con­cept floor plan that con­nects to a liv­ing or din­ing room and uti­lizes what would be dead space. Is­lands also of­fer ad­di­tional prep or cook­ing space, ex­tra cab­i­net stor­age and an in­for­mal eat­ing area.

“I love is­lands and the ver­sa­til­ity of is­lands,” Deleon says. “The big­ger the is­land, the bet­ter. The kitchen is al­ways the heart of the house.”

If you do tear out a wall but still need the struc­tural sup­port, you can build an is­land around sup­port posts or col­umns, Legate says.

“Peo­ple do still seem to want an open kitchen de­sign,” he says. “Peo­ple are us­ing spe­cific rooms less and they like one larger room.”

Legate says small kitchens can of­ten be more func­tional than large kitchens. He rec­om­mends a gal­ley lay­out for small homes and con­dos.

“Some­times, mak­ing the best of what you have can work well,” he says. “Re­con­fig­ure it so you have the kitchen sink on one wall and stove on other wall so one per­son can do the prep and one can do cook­ing. Just make sure to not put them di­rectly back to back be­cause it makes it im­pos­si­ble for two peo­ple.”

Another fea­ture both Legate and Deleon are see­ing in the kitchen is a ded­i­cated area for seat­ing or a small workspace so chil­dren can do home­work or a spouse or guest can sit and chat with the cook.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.