Consult Before You Construct

By Bill Kraeling

The success of any home remodeling project can be found in the planning stages, before the hammer hits the first nail, and that’s why every project ETL Construction tackles begins with a planning consultation.

When it comes to kitchen remodeling, often our customers have a vision of what they want. Pinterest posts and television commercials can give people ideas of what is possible. These sources can also give unrealistic ideas about what they think they are looking for in their new kitchen. So the first step of our consultation is to look realistically at our customer’s budget and establish their priorities up front.

Through the course of that consultation, we find out what the non-negotiable, got-to-have features are, and we look for ways to get the most out of their budget. As an example, often we find that cabinetry, with new paint and new fixtures, can be salvaged rather than replaced, and with a strong design throughout the remodeled kitchen, those small details can have a big impact on the overall look of the kitchen. This route helps those with smaller budgets make dramatic changes and improvements to a kitchen that may just need a face-lift.

Obviously, if a customer is determined to have gas appliances, but they don’t currently have gas in their home, supplying appropriate gas dramatically increases the cost of a remodel. Moving plumbing, electrical and HVAC also adds cost to a project. We always look for ways to take advantage of the infrastructure currently in the house to save the homeowner on costs.

Sometimes customers are looking to add large islands with appliances and heavy, solid- surface countertops. Again, if the house is not built to structurally support those large islands, that issue can add hidden dollars to the cost of the project. Those dollars aren’t seen in the pictures on Pinterest. In the long run, if the house cannot structurally support the remodel as is, it can cause problems that will ruin an investment. We specialize in finding these unseen costs, doing it right, and preventing future problems.

In addition to budget, our planning consultation also focuses on their lifestyle. If our customer is a chef or a baker, our strategy for building the perfect kitchen will be different than it is for the customer who eats out frequently and does little cooking in the kitchen. In the same way, a kitchen remodel for an older couple with no children in the house is likely going to be very different from a kitchen remodel for a younger couple with two small kids and two dogs. Form and function must be well balanced.

So whether the kitchen is a gathering place for family at the holidays, or a creative space for an amateur chef every evening, a family’s lifestyle should influence the layout of the space – from the efficiency of the storage and staging areas, to the ability to easily move through the room.
Often, the showroom kitchens in magazines feature hanging lights or vents that look very attractive but can interrupt the cross visibility of the room. If your kitchen is your family’s gathering place in the evenings, you don’t want to have to try to talk around the hanging pot rack, even if it looks neat.

Besides budget and functionality, we also like to talk to our customers about the best surfaces to use. Some surfaces are better suited for cleanliness and sustainability. Because these remodels are in homes and not showrooms, it’s important that the countertops and cabinets maintain a sanitary environment when cooking.

ETL Construction always makes sure we are advising our customer how best to make their kitchen remodel flow with the architectural style of their home. We advise against remodels that seek to put a modern, slick-looking kitchen in a rustic, pre-war home. Our focus is to enhance not just the aesthetics and functionality of the home, but its resale value as well.

Part of our initial consultation with our customers is the business side of a home remodel. If the customer plans to be out of a house in less than five years, they should consider a different level of investment than if they are planning to live out the rest of their lives in their home.
Regardless of what construction company you are working with for your kitchen remodeling project, we encourage you to make certain that you have a very thorough consultation meeting in the beginning. Otherwise, you might have a series of uncomfortable conversations throughout the course of the project. Our goal is to prevent the “could have, would have, should have” conversation down the road.

Bill Kraeling

Bill Kraeling, Former U.S. Army Aviation Officer and Founder of ETL Construction, has brought his standard of attention to detail to every project created. Adept to building all architectural styles and working with budgets of any size, for over 15 years every decision has been built on quality, integrity, professionalism and client satisfaction.

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