By Paul Bookbinder, M.I.D., C.R.
While waiting for the “destroying angel” to pass over our homes during Passover, it gives us time to reflect on the political climate back in 1300 BCE through the present time and how far we have come.
Once the threat of the Destroyer passes, we can all take a deep breath, and concentrate on the more important aspects of the holiday. And that’s when the kitchen becomes the focal point of the evening. As you prepare the seder plates you can’t help thinking about how nice it would be if you had a new kitchen, with a little more space, to ease the preparations. The first step in this process is to talk with a designer and get an estimate. Then, as you recline in comfort, it’s time to ask the Four Kitchen Questions.
The first question is, do you like the design that was created for you? This original rendition does not have to be the finished product. What you need to determine at this point is, does the design show promise? Did the designer listen to your explanation of your lifestyle, your storage needs, your “wish list”, and did they incorporate these parameters into the design? The evolution of a Dream Passover 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. 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 meeting with your family, and discussing the 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.