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A beautiful newly renovated kitchen with a marble island bench

What to Consider When Planning a New Kitchen

So, you want a new Kitchen.

Maybe you’ve seen something in a magazine or on Pinterest that grabs your attention? It’s very easy to come up with a wish-list when it comes to creating a new kitchen, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

is it the type of kitchen that works for you and, if not more importantly, does it fit your budget?

Why I love my kitchen

My own kitchen, which received numerous architecture awards, certainly grabs one’s attention.

It was designed by leading architect Robert Simeoni – it is ideal for a couple who doesn’t like cooking and regularly eat out.

So, the brief given to Simeoni was for a ‘non-kitchen’, more akin to an art gallery rather than one where chefs like to cook up a storm or even those who simply love cooking for themselves or families. My kitchen doesn’t have a flue over the kitchen bench and the concrete island bench is relatively narrow.

For me, this is the perfect kitchen. But I can think of several hundred other people in my life who would disagree.

Does your kitchen work for YOU?

For example, a family of 5 who need to rush out a home-cooked dinner each day to make sure the children are fed would absolutely hate my kitchen! But my kitchen works for me, and that’s absolutely number one in my list of things to keep in mind when renovating a kitchen.

If you’re in the market for renovating your kitchen – providing the correct brief to your designers and builders is absolutely fundamental for companies such as Simply Bathroom Solutions.

As Liz Staynor, The founder of Simply Bathroom Solutions says; “It’s fine to look at magazines and make a few notes on what’s seen on Pinterest, but is it going to be appropriate for both your needs, as well as your budget?” Liz suggests that the visual images received on a daily basis can certainly inspire but, Is it going to work in your home?

Budget is everything, but a “light makeover” might not be worth it.

The cost of renovating one’s kitchen needs to be addressed from the outset, irrespective of whether it’s a traditional or more contemporary style of kitchen.

Many think that a ‘light makeover’ will save a considerable amount of money – reworking cupboards and surfaces. However, there’s not actually a lot to be saved going down this path.

So, what will a new kitchen renovation cost?

A new kitchen, for example, may be upwards of $50,000 with a light makeover saving around $5,000. The cost of a kitchen ‘carcass’ (structure such as joinery) is not the main cost; it’s the labour required to make the adjustments and then the cost of the new doors, draws and panels required to make the kitchen feel as though it’s new.

However, there are those who are happy to fork out $120,000 for a new kitchen – complete with a generous butler’s pantry and all the latest fixtures and fittings. Marble island benches feature extensively.

While this kitchen may be appropriate for a large house in a salubrious suburb, the same kitchen may be ill-warranted in a more modest house somewhere else. And for that house, it may be more appropriate to work with a budget of closer to $50K. A small walk-in pantry or an appliance cupboard will likely suffice – and perhaps laminate or reconstituted stone benches instead of marble.

What materials should I use for my kitchen bench?

Although materials can be used in different ways and priced according to the level of difficulty to achieve the finish warranted, Simply Bathroom Solutions generally divides kitchen materials into three broad categories:

  1. Laminate for benches is often the most economical.
  2. Caesar Stone, Quantum Quartz and Smart Stone tend to be popular materials in the middle tier of finishes.
  3. Marble, quartz and granite occupy the ‘top shelf’.

Although marble in a kitchen is great ‘eye candy’, exposing the natural vein that can’t be achieved with manmade stones, it does require fairly ‘deep pockets’, particularly if it’s used for splashbacks.

For those thinking of spending approximately $50K on their kitchen, using marble will leave major shortfalls elsewhere.

What else should I be mindful of in the cost of my kitchen renovation?

Other costs, such as the type of joinery, also need to be factored in: providing kitchen drawers rather than cupboards can add an additional 10 percent to the cost as well as the desire to have an adjoining butler’s kitchen.

We recently quoted on fitting out a butler’s kitchen in excess of $30K. This included a dishwasher, a microwave and a sink, together with extensive built-in joinery.

For those where money isn’t a concern, having a well-endowed butler’s pantry may be preferred. But for those mindful of their budget, the option could easily be extending the length of the benches in the kitchen and including a generous pantry with a combination of draws and shelving.

Find a great designer who can work within a range of budgets.

It’s easy for Simply Bathroom Solutions to fulfil a client’s wish list. It works across a number of budgets and styles. However, what is important for them is to learn from the first meeting how their clients work in the kitchen – i.e. on their own or with a partner or family members assisting?

If it’s a greater number of people working in the kitchen, are the spaces large enough to comfortably walk around the island bench? And although everyone may enjoy looking at a ‘state-of-the-art kitchen’, is it meant for someone who really loves to prepare meals or just a showcase to display a few cups of coffee?

In essence, what someone needs in a kitchen is as fundamental as their budget. It requires some serious thinking before your designer can even start preparing concepts. One of the many questions that we pose in our initial meetings is ‘what don’t you like about your current kitchen?’ – it could be the lack of storage or the arrangement of the fridge in relation to the stove or to the island bench.

Any designer can whip up some great images of what could be achieved in a new kitchen – with a collage of images that tug at one’s heartstrings as much as the purse strings! But at Simply Bathroom Solutions, it’s about matching expectations with reality, both in terms of what is actually needed rather than perceived and, as importantly, what can be realistically achieved with the designated budget.

Renovating kitchen and bathrooms – is it worth it?

We love our ‘non-kitchen’. It responds to our needs and was delivered within our budget. We wanted ‘less’ rather than ‘more’ – keen to invest in art rather than appliances. But this is an unusual scenario – appealing to those who eat out rather than enjoy cooking at home.

The question to renovate or not to renovate must be one of the most frequently asked by homeowners. There are those who will always prefer making their own mark on an older style house or even one that was only built 20 years ago, but the figures show that most houses with a new kitchen, a new bathroom(s), or both, perform considerably better when put onto the market.

Both a great kitchen and a great bathroom can easily add considerably more to the figure achieved, well beyond the cost of the renovation.

We recently renovated a three-bedroom unit, including a new kitchen, a new bathroom and also a laundry. New flooring and paint put the final figure at $160K, with the expected sale price of $1.6 million being well exceeded with the sale price of $2.4 million, $800K above the reserve. So, for an outlay of $160K, the renovation was well worth the time and money that was spent!

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