Before you renovate your kitchen, plan it to the last detail

With kitchen renovations possibly being one of the most expensive room revamps one can undertake in a home, it makes sense to spend as much time as possible in the planning phases as mistakes are not easily undone, says Anne Porter, head of Knight Frank Residential SA.
A kitchen renovation can be very rewarding in that it will add much to the overall value of the home, as well as improve its marketability later if the home is to be sold. This type of project should have the aim of creating a space that is functional and that adds value to the family’s enjoyment of the space.
If it is at all possible, enlist the services of a professional, whether it be an interior designer or a company that specialises in kitchen renovations, as this will help a great deal in ensuring that money is well spent.
The optimal combination of storage and design will ensure that your kitchen is both functional and contemporary. When planning the cabinetry, it is a good idea to take this all the way to the ceiling as this not only gives more storage space but is more aesthetically pleasing. This eliminates dust traps and creates a clean line.
Full kitchen renovations will take approximately four to six weeks from the delivery of materials to the completion. One thing to bear in mind, is that changes made after the fact will delay the fitting of the kitchen, so it’s best to be absolutely sure of everything before orders are placed.
Another thing to remember, said Porter, is that the old kitchen cupboards and fittings will not necessarily be removed by the company fitting the new kitchen and will have be cleared from the site beforehand.
In older homes, the water and electricity layout might not be ideal. It is important to assess whether these need to be moved and how many plug points are necessary. Many a gadget is bought and ends up plugged into a multi-plug and these can become a hazard if overloaded, she said.
Lighting is important. Recessed lighting makes the task of prepping food easier and this then makes it unnecessary to have overly bright overhead lighting.
Counter space is very important in a kitchen, said Porter. There are very cleverly designed cabinetry fittings that allow appliances to be stored away but are ready for use by simply rolling out a drawer or opening a door. It might be worthwhile spending the extra money to add features such as these, as they make the use of the kitchen more efficient and keeps it tidy. The most important aspect of planning the counter space is allowing enough work room – at least one metre of uninterrupted counter space is needed to be truly efficient.
It pays to investigate making the kitchen as eco-friendly as possible if major changes are taking place. Add space for recycling bins as well as the usual dustbin and, if possible, a compost bin. If appliances are to be replaced, take note of the energy and water ratings before purchasing items.
Don’t skimp on fittings, said Porter. All the working parts of a kitchen, such as runners and hinges on cupboards, are used a lot and need to be of the best quality that fit the budget.  
As in most renovations, the process of fitting a new kitchen can be messy and intrusive. Allow for this and set up an alternative space to prepare food and also allow as many meals as possible to be ready-made rather than made from scratch, so that it alleviates the stress of renovating.

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