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February 28, 2011

Looking Back: A Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre Client on What She'd Do Differently

One of the first things many homeowners do when considering a major renovation project is seek the advice of friends and family. After all, who better to trust than someone who's been through a similar experience before?

Janet Boccone, a Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre client who had her kitchen redesigned in 2008, updated her Dream Kitchen Reno Diary blog recently and had this advice to offer:

February 28, 2011

A good friend recently asked me if my husband and I regretted any of the decisions we made while designing our kitchen a few years ago.

She is considering gutting her own kitchen and starting over and wanted to know what we'd learned; what, if anything, we would change and most importantly...would we do it all over again?

I told her, without hesitation, that we'd do it again. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my kitchen. There is not a day that goes by that I don't think Wow, what a gorgeous space. Lucky me!

Would I change anything? Maybe just a few of the appliances...and maybe not for the reasons you might think...but more on that later. I did have some advice to share.

PLAN your cupboard space
If you're using a professional kitchen design company (and I highly recommend it), your designer will design the overall layout of the space and help you make hundreds of decisions--from cupboard and countertop materials to lighting and paint colours. One of the most important decisions you will make has to do with the setup of your cupboard space. Do you want drawers or shelves? How many of each? How big or how small? Where will they go? (You get the idea.) This is both an exciting process and a terrifying one. If you're redesigning your kitchen, chances are you'd like to organize your space better. I know that was one of my top priorities. I was sick of bending over and leaning into cupboards. I wanted great big drawers and lots of them!

My regret: I wish I'd planned the rest of my shelves (mostly the upper ones) out better.
My advice: Take the time to think about what you'll be storing where. Don't just assume everything will fit.

LISTEN to appliance salespeople
I have a five-burner gas cooktop with a brushed stainless steel finish. It works like a charm and I love how gas offers instant heat. It was love at first site when I saw the cooktop at the store. So blinded was I by its beauty, I ignored the saleswoman when she said to me "It can be a little difficult to clean." Oh, phooey, I thought. I'll never let this thing get dirty! I'll wipe it clean every night. And I did. And I still do, for the most part. But you know what? It's impossible to clean. I've tried everything and it no longer looks anything like it did in the beginning. I'm thrilled by its performance but disappointed in its declining appearance. My husband says I should get over it! And I am...more or less...because I am pleased with how well it works.

My regret: I should have listened to the saleswoman. Because even if we bought the same cooktop, my expectations would have been more realistic.
My advice: Decide beforehand how important this kind of thing is to you. And listen to the salespeople.

FIND a temporary home for your pet
We were very lucky to have someone to look after our dog when the teardown and construction got really intense; however, if I were to do it again, I'd try and have him out of the house even more. A house under construction is a danger zone--for humans and for pets. Your stress level during this time--even if every last little thing is going smoothly--is high. We are capable of understanding what's going on. Our pets are not.

My regret: Our dog is an important member of our family and I should have considered his needs, as well.
My advice: Find your pet a temporary home with someone you trust.