A Professional Designer on What to Consider When Renovating Your Kitchen or Bathroom

A Professional Designer on What to Consider When Renovating Your Kitchen or Bathroom

Thinking about taking the leap to finally renovate your kitchen or bathroom? These typically bigger, more expensive projects mean there’s lots to consider before getting started. We sat down with Adrienne Nobile, Designer and Business Manager for Style-Line Kitchens, in Hanover, PA, to discuss the main things you should consider before starting your reno.

“The first thing you need to consider is your budget,” says Nobile. “Decide what you’re willing or able to spend and then you can move forward with identifying the contractor or company that fits in your budget.”

The room you’re renovating will also affect your cost. “Bathrooms are approximately twice as expensive per square foot as a kitchen to renovate,” Nobile adds.

Along with budgetary considerations, you’ll want to make sure you have the funds available to pay for the renovation. Whether you’ve saved up and plan to pay in cash, or are going to leverage your home’s equity to make the improvements, you’ll want to have the money ready to go. PSECU offers home equity loans, cash-out refinancing, and home equity lines of credit to help you pay for life’s bigger purchases.

Next up, just like with any professional work you’re having done in your home, it’s critical to get quotes from multiple companies. “I recommend getting at least three different quotes,” says Nobile. It’s likely the quotes will all be similar, but if there are any that are drastically higher or lower, that could be a red flag. That company may overcharge their customers, may not do the highest quality of work, or might use poor quality materials.

Another important aspect of choosing the winning bid is to find someone you have rapport with. Working with a designer or contractor you don’t get along with will make this big project all the more stressful, and it could affect the outcome of the final result - you may not end up getting what you want. Nobile says, “This should be a non-negotiable. Renovating kitchens and bathrooms are big-ticket items with long timelines. The last thing you want to do is get to the end and feel like your needs and preferences weren’t heard or realized.”

“At Style-Line Kitchens, we do totally custom work. So, as the designer, I want my client to have what they want. Their input is everything,” says Nobile. “I spend a great deal of time discovering what they want, what they like, how they plan to use the room. For example, if someone loves cooking, it’s important for the design of the kitchen to reflect their needs and wants because they’re going to be spending a lot of time in it, and I want them to enjoy every minute. Find a designer or contractor who understands your vision and is willing to realize it for you.”

“Further,” Nobile continues, “what my client wants might not be what I would pick out or what’s on trend. But it’s what’s going to make them happy, and my job as a designer is to execute their vision.”

If you’re going to go through with a total gut job, Nobile recommends choosing a company that can both design the space and build it for you. They will have the skills necessary to take your vision and realize it into a design that utilizes your space effectively within your budget. They will also have an intimate knowledge of product availability for cabinetry, fixtures, plumbing, countertop materials, and technology innovations that are available for the space you’re renovating. Working with a full-service company will provide a huge advantage: your designer will also be your project manager who will coordinate all the contractors and aspects of the renovation from start to finish.

Nobile’s next piece of advice is that you should avoid tearing out your old kitchen or bathroom until the very last minute, only after all materials are in stock and received by your contractors. A typical timeline for a start-to-finish kitchen renovation could be several months long. Only the very last weeks of that timeline will involve the heavy lifting: gutting the old space, updating any utilities, and installing the new components like flooring, cabinets, countertops, and appliances. Waiting to tear out the old room will reduce the amount of time you’re living without the usual comforts of a working kitchen or bath.

“Be patient,” she says. “It can be tough because you’re excited. This is a project you’ve likely been dreaming about for a long time, so waiting is hard. But, you’ll be glad, in the end, that you didn’t have the added stress of cooking in a makeshift kitchen or sharing a small bathroom with your whole family for months on end.”

Finally, be prepared for obstacles to crop up. “I’m doing more and more work for people who live in older houses and are renovating so they can age in place and stay in their homes," states Nobile. "Older homes can present hidden challenges that won’t be discovered until demo and installation begins. So, just know that little blips in the road are normal and to be expected. Don’t sweat it.” Finding a company you have rapport with and working with a project manager can make navigating these challenges so much easier.

When you’re ready to start your kitchen or bathroom renovation, PSECU is here to help. Our home equity and mortgage refinancing options provide you with the flexibility to make the improvements you want with the peace of mind that comes from working with your trusted financial partner.


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