As a lover of home renovation shows, I spend a lot of time plotting out what my dream home would look like. In each version of this dream, whether it’s my dream beach house, my dream Italian Villa, my dream Manhattan townhouse there’s one common factor – a large kitchen with fancy appliances and an island for gathering with friends and family. Now, as committed Manhattan apartment dwellers the odds of having that sprawling kitchen are pretty slim. But that doesn’t mean I can’t have a dream kitchen in our cozy space. Welcome to our small kitchen remodel!
When I bought this apartment seven years ago it had just been renovated. The seller did the bare minimum to update the kitchens and the baths. None of it was what I would have chosen but given my financial situation at the time and the fact that everything was brand spanking new, there was no way I could entertain a renovation. Even now, we had to look at this project in a very logical way. We spent about six months exploring our options and doing our homework. Where we landed was with a medium sized cosmetics focused project and we can’t wait to see the end result!
My tips for anyone about to do a home improvement project:
- Shop Around: we visited high-end appliance and tile stores along with accessible stores like Home Depot, Lowes and PC Richard. By visiting a wide range of stores we were able to build a plan that kept us in a manageable price range while still giving us some high-end touches.
- Talk to the Experts: A very close friend of ours is a Real Estate Agent. We consulted her almost immediately to understand how much of an investment we should make to add value that we could get back if we sold eventually. We also leveraged her expertise managing renovations for her clients to gauge how much our project should We also checked in with our Super to get an idea of what could and couldn’t be changed easily within our space and help craft our request to our Contractor.
- Outline Your Alternatives: Figure out in advance how you’re going to work around your renovation. We haven’t had a stove or a dishwasher for days and I wish I had put more thought into how I was going to feed everyone while our kitchen was out of commission. We had a lot of take out the first week but now I’m coming up with creative ways to keep our eating and our food budget in check!
- Be Patient: While it’s natural to be anxious to get your project wrapped there’s so much that will drag it on, especially when your building has a limited window for apartment work and most contractors are working multiple projects at once. We’re only a week and a half in and we already chose the wrong closet door for our pantry that is causing a few days of rework.