Kitchen Renovation #1: What’s Wrong With This Picture?

If all you make for dinner is reservations, you probably don’t need to give this room a lot of thought…


Otherwise, there often comes a time in a home owner’s life when Denial hits a wall. Your dysfunctional relationship with your kitchen needs to be addressed:

It’s just plain hard to make a meal in there.

Other forms of magical thinking: If you do decide now is the time for an upgrade, don’t think all will be well with a minimum of effort on your part and the rest taken care of by your local contractor. Remodeling a kitchen (or a bath for that matter) has more potential for problems and a true budget blowout than you would ever want to imagine. Even if you plan to hire a kitchen designer to help you, your best bet is to outline the project in advance. This will help you communicate your ideas effectively and ensure the result will be your dream kitchen and not an expensive nightmare…

What works or not about your kitchen now? Take a mental walk-through and see yourself doing the usual tasks. Do you have everything you need and have it where you need it for convenience and efficiency?  For example, it’s great to have counter space near the fridge to set down grocery bags. How about counter space near to the wall oven too? You have to put the turkey somewhere when you take it out of the oven.

Writing lessons. Draw a line down the middle of a sheet of paper and list on one side all the things you like about the way the kitchen looks and functions now.  Maybe you like the location and proximity to the dining room or perhaps the layout of the room works well for efficiency.

On the other side of the paper, note all the things that are “less than”…

  • Would a bigger refrigerator make you happier?
  • Do you get depressed looking at those old cabinets?
  • Speaking of cabinets, do you have enough storage?

As you think about each detail that could use improvement, write out your proposed solution.  For example, if the lighting is inadequate or not task oriented, would lights under the overhead cabinets help?

Now is the time to make a “want list” as you decide how you want your kitchen to be used.

  • Do you see you view dining as an extension of cooking? If so, would an open plan between the kitchen and dining area suit you better and meet your needs for graciously feeding friends and family?
  • Should a plan be made for two cooks to work at the same time?
  • Do you want a cooktop instead of a stove?
  • More than one sink?
  • Would an island workspace solve a lot of problems?

Dream Big Baby. Don’t be afraid to envision what you really want in your perfect kitchen. While not all things may be possible, you may be surprised to find that a thorough appraisal, along with a little focused dream time, could lead to inspired solutions

Next time: Kitchen Renovation #2: Concept Prep

Related Posts

(Kitchen Renovation Six Part Series)

Kitchen Renovation #2: Concept Prep

Kitchen Renovation #3: How Much Wonderful Do You Need?

Kitchen Renovation #4: Material Witness

Kitchen Renovation #5: Field Trip

Kitchen Renovation #6: Cabinets Or Not


The original version of this article was on It’s presented here as a foundation for further topic discussion.