For most, a truly custom kitchen is a pipe dream. Once the footprint is set and the plumbing is installed, it’s difficult—not to mention, expensive—to completely overhaul the space. Then again, sometimes only a dramatic renovation will do—and that’s exactly what happened for interior designer Meghan Price. The kitchen in her 1941 Loyal Heights home in Seattle still had the flow of a room from that era, with finishes that hadn’t been given any love since the ’60s. A makeover was very much in order. Two months later, the 275-square-foot space is welcoming, airy, and perfect for entertaining guests.
The designer’s biggest challenge wasn’t the layout itself, but rather the pressure of creating a kitchen that would both reflect her personal style and be marketable for resale in the future. Even with this in mind, Price and her husband decided to move forward with a risky choice: No upper cabinets. Price admits, “It was not an easy decision. I knew it would work for me and my husband, but I worried that if we were ever to sell the house, it could be looked at as a negative.” Just in case, the contractor reinforced the walls behind the tile. That way, future floating shelves or upper cabinets can be easily installed.
Ideas like this are what make Price a pro—so we tapped the expert to get even more remodeling tips:
Pick five adjectives and stick to them
Price’s design process always starts the same way: By asking the client how they want the space to feel. She treated her home no differently. Price and her husband came up with five adjectives—open, cozy, clean, airy, and modern—and made sure that those were reflected across every decision in the design process.
“A designer once told me it’s not a matter of ‘if’, it’s a matter of ‘when’,” says Price, referencing the inevitability of setbacks. “That was a hard pill to swallow. Despite all my planning and preparing, things still went wrong.” For her, the biggest challenge was her cabinets. “The first time, they arrived in the wrong dimensions; the second time, [the manufacturer] dropped them before they made it into the truck. Thankfully, third time’s a charm,” she says.
Ask yourself, is this your forever home?
Even if you plan on living in your house for 5-10 years, the design of a forever home can be drastically different. “In a forever home, I would encourage the clients to invest in their space and make it completely unique to their needs. But if clients plan on selling their home, it makes more sense to invest in areas that will increase the overall value,” suggests Price.
Despite all the stress, try to relax
Renovations are notorious for going over budget, taking longer than expected, and generally spurring a plethora of other negative side effects. Price recommends practicing patience—it’s the one thing she would do differently if she were to do this process all over again.
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