With planning, dream kitchen within reach

As we move into the holiday season, many of us begin thinking about the condition of our kitchen. And rightly so -- what time of year is it ever used more?

It's probably why most kitchen remodels begin as soon as the holidays end -- while the taste of antiquated appliances, fixtures, cabinetry and odd colored finishes are still fresh in everyone's mind.

The kitchen is the single most complex room in your home. Be sure to study each and every aspect as thoroughly as possible before you spend your first dime, and select everything before touching the first screw or nail.

Here are a few things to consider in your planning:

*Pick your appliances first -- everything gets built around them.

*Pick your countertop before you select your cabinets.

The cabinet company won't know what height to build the lower cabinets without knowing the thickness of the countertop -- they're all different.

*Pick your backsplash before you hire the electrician. The placement of the electrical boxes will depend on the thickness of the counter's backsplash. Will it be tile or a solid material? What thickness will the material be and will it be affixed directly to the wall or will mortar be placed between the wall and the splash? There is nothing worse than paying the electrician extra to go back and add spacers to the electric boxes because they aren't flush with the finished surface -- fire hazard!

*With certain sink/disposal combinations you may have to adjust the height of your existing drain outlet. Kohler currently offers an 11-inch deep stainless kitchen sink, and InSinkErator has a gigantic new 1-horsepower disposer. Together they fit a bit lower into the under-cabinet area than other models.

*Before you begin searching for cabinets it might be a good idea if you know the overall distance between the floor and ceiling in your kitchen. If you elect to use ready-made cabinets and assume that the ceiling is 8 feet tall you could end up making a costly mistake.

Cabinets are costly to alter. In the case of custom cabinets this would not be a problem because they would most likely be measured and built by the cabinet maker.

*Selecting appliances in advance will also be important to the plumber and the electrician. The plumber may need to run an icemaker line if the refrigerator has one and the electrician will have to know what size circuits will have to be run for the range, oven, exhaust fan and other appliances.

*By knowing the cabinet configuration and what kind of backsplash that will be used the sheetrock contractor and the painter will be able to give you more accurate prices.

For example: With a full splash between the upper and lower cabinets the total cost for sheetrock and painting will be slightly less.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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