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Oct 1, 2015

Before Remodeling Your Kitchen, Ask These Questions

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When shopping for new kitchen cabinets, you should ask some key questions at the store or stores you’re considering for your purchase. But even before you talk with designers, you should ask yourself some important questions, too.
Dianna Wyatt, a designer at Markraft Cabinets in Wilmington, advises anyone considering a kitchen upgrade to think about these:

  1. What is your goal? Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, your choices may be very different. Are you upgrading your kitchen to help sell your house? Or are you creating the perfect dream kitchen in your “forever home”?
  2. Do you have a realistic budget? You’ll only be disappointed if you fall in love with something that isn’t feasible with the money you have to work with. Whatever your budget, there’s a good product that fits, Wyatt advises. An experienced designer can guide you, making sure you fulfill all your goals within your budget.
  3. Will this upgrade meet a particular functional need? For example, if you love to cook you might want to add space and improve the layout. If you like to entertain, you might need to better accommodate guests.
  4. What overall esthetic effect do you hope to achieve? Do you prefer a super-modern space with clean lines, or do you like more of a traditional look with ornate doors, moldings and decorative touches? Whatever your dream, Wyatt advises, you should honor both your own tastes and the home’s overall design.
  5. How flexible are you? Are you willing to reconsider ideas if they won’t work well with the available space? Wyatt cited a client whose heart was set on creating a kitchen island. But the space and its relationship with the dining room didn’t permit that layout. The client ended up pleased with an alternative approach that met all her wishes for cooking and entertaining.
While it’s helpful to gather ideas from magazines and websites, Wyatt says, a homeowner needs to understand: Not all ideas can work in every house. “You need to honor the bones of the home,” she said, “and what they will allow.”
Those “bones” include such hard-to-alter realities as load-bearing walls, the relationship of rooms, and where utilities are located. A licensed contractor can change many of these features, budget permitting, which is another reason why it’s important to understand your project’s scope.
Sometimes, Wyatt said, a client with a specific idea has to discover that “this isn’t the dream kitchen for this home, but that idea can inspire the perfect layout for this space and your lifestyle.”
Once such essential elements as budget, goal, functional objectives and esthetics are understood, it’s time to see a kitchen design specialist and ask these questions:
  1. How are cabinets constructed? There’s a reason different lines have different price points. Materials used, and how they’re put together, differ widely between brands and between a manufacturer’s premium and bargain lines.
  2. What sorts of warranties are offered by the manufacturer and installer?
  3. Will professional installers mount the cabinets? A handy do-it-yourselfer or a general contractor hasn’t necessarily mastered this specialized skill.
  4. What other work – wall repairs or alterations, flooring, painting, electrical and plumbing changes – will be needed? This is another important reason for having a good budget.
  5. Is your designer listening to your ideas and dreams? You should feel confident that the designer’s expertise will help you achieve your objectives, not just sell a particular line of products.
When you’ve asked yourself the first set of questions, Markraft’s designers will be delighted to offer you answers to the second set. You can meet with them, see product examples, and browse through sample layouts in Markraft’s Design Center. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, at 2705 Castle Creek Lane, just off Castle Hayne Road.
Since 1985, Markraft has specialized in cabinet and countertop design and installation in residential and commercial construction and custom remodeling. To learn more about Markraft, go to Contact Markraft at 910-762-1986 and like Markraft on Facebook at

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