By Paul Bookbinder, M.I.D., C.R.
Passover is my favorite of all the holidays. We have the first Seder at our house and celebrate the second night at my brother’s. Although he pointed out that he’s having more people this year, I quickly countered with “it’s not a contest!” It’s the heritage that we share when we recall the story of the Exodus. To add to the mood this year I want to put artificial lamb’s blood on our front door. Unfortunately, Liz, my wife and partner, feels it inappropriate, and she always knows best.
For many, the kitchen, not the front door, is the focal point during this holiday. As you prepare the food and the Seder plate you can’t help thinking about how nice it would be if you had a new kitchen. The first step in this process is to talk with a designer and get a design and an estimate. Then, as you recline, it’s time to ask the four questions.
The first of the questions is: do you like the design? This original rendition does not have to be the finished product. What you need to determine at this point is did the designer listen to you and consider your lifestyle, your storage needs, your “wish list”, and did they incorporate these parameters into the design? The evolution of a Dream Kitchen usually does not happen in one attempt, but you should be able to tell from the first effort whether or not you and the designer are on the same page. If you can answer this question positively, proceed to question two. Otherwise, keep shopping.
Why are these cabinets different from all other cabinets? The second question pertains to the product that the company is offering. The quality of their construction is usually a direct relation to their cost, however we cannot rule out aesthetics, which play a prominent part in the selection process. If you don’t see one that really appeals to you, look elsewhere. If you answer yes to question two, proceed to number three.
Question three deals with the cost of the cabinets. If money is no object, skip directly to question four, however, if you’re like most of us, we need to dwell on this a little longer. The best way to begin planning a kitchen remodel is to share with your designer the budget that you are comfortable with. This way, question three should not be an issue. If your designer heard what you were saying (see question one), the proposed renovation will be within the parameters you initially set. The cabinets will be selected based upon your budget, and then you only have to answer question two. If, however, you did not discuss budget initially, you must ask yourself: are the proposed cabinets within your means?
The fourth and final question is, perhaps, the most important of all. Can I work with these people? The relationship between the company that is doing the work and yourself is the key to a successful remodeling project. You’ll get a feel for the staff of the company you’re considering during the initial meetings. If you don’t get a good feeling, find someone else. There are too many firms offering remodeling today for you to select one that you don’t have complete confidence in. You need to select a firm that you feel confident will manage all aspects of the job and deal with any conflicts/problems, efficiently and painlessly.
Answering these questions is not as hard as making bricks without straw, but you need to give them some thought. If, after discussing these four questions, you can answer “yes” to each one, you’re on your way to your Dream Kitchen. However, if you answered negatively to any of them, continue looking, until you find someone who can pass the test.
Paul Bookbinder, M.I.D., C.R., is president of DreamWork Kitchens, Inc. located in Mamaroneck, New York. A Master of Design (Pratt Institute), and E.P.A. Certified Remodeler, he serves on the Advisory Panel of Remodeling Magazine. A member of the National Kitchen & Bath Assoc., he is also a contributor to eZine and Do It Yourself magazine. He can be reached for questions at 914-777-0437 or www.dreamworkkitchens.com