Kitchen remodeling: If you could do XX differently . . . ?

chitownkatJuly 8, 2013

There is such a wealth of collective knowledge on this board! I am a longtime lurker and have a question for those have recently completed a major kitchen renovation - we are gutting ours early next year.

If there is something (large or small) you would do differently if you had the chance? Anything from cabinet choice to appliance choice to countertop choice to layout . . .

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I'll bite. All of these wishes come from someone with a small kitchen I wish I had stood my ground and made my counters AT LEAST 27" deep - 30" even. I thought I'd forget about it, but no such luck. Also wish I'd found a way to get a leibherr or subzero into the budget. We have a Cafe CD FD which is just fine, but we're a tallish family and I'd like to have more vertical storage. I think would have put the DW my prep space, a big no-no, but it would have increased my prep space from 42" to 54" . Not a big deal for most, but would be a lot for me! My kitchen is a big improvement over the old, but for those who think any counter is good, the most important real estate is the one between the sink and stove - IMHO of course :-)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 2:38PM
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I wish I had remembered to get a sink with an offset drain. I wish I had done slightly deeper cabinets - we had a local company make them and it would have been so easy. On the upside, I did a lot of things I never would have thought of, thanks to this site.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 2:42PM
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I appreciate you taking the time to answer given that my post was VERY general in nature.
Sink-to-stove counter space is key and will be improved in our remodel by getting rid of the countertop microwave ;)

I agree with you 35 ft cabo, this site has clued me in to things I never would have known about before.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 2:48PM
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One thing I'd probably do differently is the handles on my paneled fridge/freezer. I have polished nickel handles, which match the other hardware in the kitchen, but wish I'd gone with something brushed. Sounds small and ridiculous, but I probably clean the fingerprints off of those handles at least half a dozen times a day. It drives me crazy. I've never had stainless steel appliances (still don't), and now I'm glad. I'm sure all the fingerprints would kill me.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 3:11PM
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I wish I had taken cabinets to the ceiling. At the time I thought why bother since I'm too short to reach anything up there. Hindsight is 20/20!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 3:19PM
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These threads come up on the Kitchens forum every few months. There was another one called "anything you regret doing/not doing?" if you want to google it.

I'll say what I've said before: my regrets are all appliances-related. First, I wish I'd chosen a bottom-freezer fridge instead of a side-by-side. A sxs fridge's sides are just too narrow; you can't fit a pizza or turkey or deli platter. My fridge has really really hampered my ability to have parties or feed more than 4 people.

My second regret is that I should have installed a separate 36" rangetop and 30" wall ovens, rather than the 30" range I have. I could have used the second oven, many times. Also, I am tired of bending for the range's oven. Also, I would have liked the extra surface real estate of the 36" rangetop, rather than the 30" I have now. BTW, notice that I said "rangetop", not "cooktop". I wouldn't want a cooktop that you have to install in a cutout in the counter. I'd want a rangetop (like the top part of the range, without the oven).

I got this pic of a Wolf 36" rangetop off of Google images - I don't know whose it is.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 3:24PM
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I would have had a better vision of my three elements. The cabinet color, the granite and the backsplash.
I would have gone granite shopping with something in mind. Also, with ideas of backsplash.
I knew I wanted a white kitchen and wood floor. But, I would have chosen a different granite, and in turn a different backsplash.
P.S. After replacing my first backsplash I am happy how my second one tied everything together. It was a tall order to fill!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 3:34PM
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I found this site after my cabs were ordered and layout was set..we ended up not changing the footprint. We went with a contractor, who we liked a lot, but he did not offer much in terms of improving function, etc. Wish we had hired a KD and/or gotten more ideas on improving layout. May have been way out of budget, and we may have kept it as is anyway, but just wish I had gotten some concrete ideas and prices. I am happy with all the finishes and appliances we chose though.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 3:37PM
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soibean, I am glad I am not the only person in the world who really does not find stainless steel appliances that appealing. Will probably have to do it in a double oven range but will keep our black dishwasher and get a black fridge.

akchicago, I have read the previous threads on this topic, believe me! Lots of good info. Appreciate your advice on refrigs. I am leaning towards a bottom freezer and not a sxs for the reasons you mention.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 4:23PM
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I have two regrets, although the first one is out of my control because I live in an association.

-Install a powerful vent that actually vents outside.

-Instead of painting the old pantry white and get new doors, I should have pay more and get new pantry to match the rest of the kitchen. The painted pantry looks fine, but I know the finish isn't the same and I like those ultra smooth catalytic conversion varnish.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 6:45PM
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I love everything single thing about my kitchen except the dishwasher drawer. If I had it to do all over again I'd do a standard dishwasher.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 6:51PM
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Mine is not quite finished so it's hard to say something I don't like but if I could have fitted it (I can't) a double wall oven would have been my choice. Everything else so far I love!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 7:58PM
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Holly- Kay

First, I have to lol at Taggie's comment because I wish I had put 2 dishwasher drawers in instead of a dishwasher. It is just the two of us and it takes a long time for us to fill a dw.

My kitchen is finished except for painting and backsplash. I love my cabinet style and the maple wood but I wish I had gone with a stain that was a bit darker. Even though the cabinets have a wheat stain in certain lights they look to have an orangish tinge even though they aren't orange.

I love, love, love my induction cooktop and my counter depth fridge and I am so glad we put in a convection double oven. I really like my dw even though I wish I had the small drawer style.

I didn't want stainless as I am so tired of it but white wasn't a good fit and I thought that black floating glass would be too dark as the fridge and double ovens take up one wall. I do think the stainless was the best finish for my kitchen.

The only other change I can think of now is that I wish I had insisted on another drawer base instead of roll out shelves.

Over all I am extremely pleased with the form and function of my kitchen. Oh, and I just love my apron front sink and faucet. I am so glad I went with it!!!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 8:05PM
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I would have had everything picked out before construction began (we are doing more than just the kitchen though). I procrastinated on the backsplash and now will have to wait 6+ weeks to get the tile we like. I purchased the appliances way too early, the range has been sitting at the appliance store for four months waiting for everything to be done and the flooring installed (it weighs a lot and might damage a wood floor sliding in and out). I would have researched UCL more thoroughly but I needed to make quick decision so the wiring behind the walls could be installed. Lastly, I think full overlay doors, although pretty, are a pain to get right with paneled appliance doors and angled cabinets. On a positive note, I am thrilled with the off-white cabinets, rev-a-shelf inserts, appliances and granite. I hope to post a photo reveal soon.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 8:26PM
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I would have gone with a 48" fridge versus the 42" we got. I cook for an army every day and both are always completely full. The cost was a concern, but now I wish we had just splurged.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 10:39PM
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We just recently got our sink/faucet back, so I have very limited experience in the "after" kitchen.

We LOVE almost everything. It's not the perfect layout, but since we would not make exterior changes it's the best we could do. And it's sooooo much better than it was!

But here's what I would have done differently:

-12 in pull out between wall and range mostly blocked by deep hood, should have done something else (though in my defense, my cabinet guy and all the experienced eyes here missed that too, so I can't feel too bad about missing that)

-my short run has the end drawer stack open in a different direction than the rest, so the drawer sides are against the wall (where the other cabinets are back to wall), love the drawers but should have put a small spacer there.

-I have the standard 1.5 in overhang, but I wish I had put more thought into maybe making it deeper to cover the pulls. Not sure what I would have decided, but I wish I had thought about it more.

-cooktop and wall ovens would have been my first choice, but the range died a year before we started and we love our new range

The best thing you could do before starting is make a whole house plan. If I had thought through what would work best before we tackled any of our major projects, I would have done many things differently. For example, moving the patio door to the living room would have let us put windows in it's place in the kitchen and made a ton of other layouts possible. But I didn't know that when we suddenly had to reside the house, or when we had to regrade the yard and turned the deck into a patio. Kinda stuck where they are now as it's not practice to put in the money to change those things now.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 10:47PM
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We are still working on our kitchen remodel, but I have already noticed a few things I would do differently next time.

I have a 9" spice pullout wall cabinet between the built in microwave and easy reach corner cabinet. It is too close to the corner to comfortably access the side toward the corner. Also, it really is not an efficient use of space. I'm not sure how I would make use of such a narrow space, but it definitely wouldn't be a spice pull-out.

Also, I would do a little bit lighter wood tone for the floors, as the gunstock oak shows every crumb, dust particle and paw print.
I LOVE my Blanco Diamond 1-1/2 sink, but the large side is a little deeper than I am comfortable with. I knew it was deeper than my old sink, but didn't think it would make much difference. If you have ANY type of back problems, pay close attention to sink depth (I'm sure many here on GW are saying "Told ya so")

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 1:02AM
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Having worked in restaurants most of my life, the last thing in the world I'd want is stainless steel. But that's another pro/con thread.

I'm still building my house and every so often I come across a great idea for a kitchen, so I rip something out and redo it. I love that option. Crazy, but it's forming a great kitchen.

I wouldn't have let my x-POC GC have anything to do with the kitchen. I will have a counter height window over my sink one day (in place of the current one), and will have soapstone counters.

I would have known to look for a deeper sink and to make certain a huge pasta pot would fit in it. (Kohler 'Hawthorne' bowls are too small.)

I'd have made the space between the fridge and sink bigger than 18", which is the size of the DW. I am still entertaining the idea of moving the fridge just to the other side of the wall into the mudroom. No action there yet, though.

I would definitely have planned wall ovens, because I hate my stove.

I will go to the ceiling with my cabinets and am currently working to get them that high.

I love my kitchen, though. Because it's M. I. N. E.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 9:46AM
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I love everything about my kitchen, in particular the double wall ovens, the induction cooktop (the BEST!!!!), the deep single-bowl sink, so many things. I wish my kitchen was big enough to do more drawers but it's not.
Two things that make me slightly unhappy but not anything I really have control over:
1. The one thing I really want but can't seem to find anywhere but in Ikea, is wall cabinet storage bins that measure 11" deep and at least 3" high if not higher. Whatever I find is either 12" or larger or 9".
2. The Silestone countertop is a solid grey and I love the color, but for those for whom smudges/smears, oil marks would drive you crazy, a solid color is not for you. The plus is that I know it's clean because it shows everything! I hate putting my hand down on a surface and then thinking "What did I just touch?" Also, the Silestone doesn't seem as hard as I thought it should. I dropped a glass on it and the glass scratched it. In either case the whole countertop is being replaced by the countertop folks. Great service at least!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 9:53AM
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In the realm of the possible: I would have gone with the Blue Star range in a color but I was too chicken to make a decision on color, an area where I am least sure of myself. One toe tick drawer would have been nice, since I have all drawers with no good place for flat items (I have to stack cookie sheets, but not a tragedy because I don't use them very often). My custom knife insert doesn't hold all my knives the way I would have liked.

In the realm of the impossible: my kitchen is really skinny. Another six inches of aisle space would have been nice but I did not want to move a wall.

But these are mere quibbles. I love my new kitchen.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 10:01AM
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I might have put a pull-out shelf under the counter microwave to provide a landing space.

I would have made the uppers on one side 1" deeper than the standard. I thought my small kitchen was too narrow for that, but 1" would not have made a difference visually and it would have allowed better plate and glassware storage.

If I had known my husband was going to get me a Bose CD player, I would have put in a receptacle for it so the cord wouldn't have to hang up under the cabs all the time.

I might not have chosen the Kitchenaid induction cooktop, because it's so noisy, but it did seem the one that would fit in my space the best, so I'm not sure what else I would have done.

I would have checked to make sure that my absentminded GC had reestablished current to my DD's outlet in her room. Don't trust anything - put everything in writing and nag away. Better to be annoying than sorry.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 10:39AM
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It was towards the end and I was went with the free stainless sink that came with the granite. It seemed so easy, and made one less thing I had to worry about.

I hate that sink.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 12:38PM
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Patriceny, I am worried about "decision fatigue" as well. That happened with our bathroom and I almost made a BIG mistake on our countertop choice, but saved it in time.

I will be wary of the "free sink" offer!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 12:33PM
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I would not have chosen a busy granite, something, anything more neutral and I would have considered marble as a viable option against all the naysayers. Also, maybe had done more shaker style cabinets, instead of traditional. But I do love my built in frig and white kitchen.... so not all bad....

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 4:30PM
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I'd put my husband in charge of everything and then book the first flight out to Hawaii and relax until he called to say that the job was done.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 8:23PM
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I would have had an outlet put in the pantry, other than the one the washer/dryer are plugged into - behind the washer and dryer where I can barely get to it. I can't remember my reason for not doing so.

I would have inspected the beadboard more closely before it was put up and not be intimidated by my GC who doesn't like someone to "hover". I actually rejected one and saw him slam it into the back of his truck. :( Pouty boy.

I would not do all the sanding and painting coats of primer, and sanding again, on all the walls and ceilings in both the kitchen and pantry by myself. If there would be a next time - I would hire someone to do that. And hover. The painter I hired to put the finish coats on wasn't going to do a second coat until I insisted(!).

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 8:56PM
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I wish I had shopped around for the best quality cabinets I could afford instead of going with what my GC recommended. My cabs are less than 5 years old and really need repainting. I also wish I had gotten a light colored granite instead of dark ubatuba.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 11:25PM
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I don't love my sink. It's a Kraus 33" 60/40 double. That part is great and exactly what I wanted. But the grade on it doesn't get food particles into the disposal without me physically wiping in there. Maybe it's a water pressure thing? I don't know. Never had this issue before in any of my other kitchens.

I Hate my floor. Matte grey porcelain tiles show everything, even water.
I fantasize about ripping them up, but..not gonna happen.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 3:07AM
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No big regrets at all, but I do wish I had paid more attention to the placement of the light switch on my backsplash. It turns out to be at the end of the cabinet run that is less convenient when I'm doing prep work - and that's when I always want the light. It's a little annoyance, though.

I also would make my counter overhang 2" instead of 1.5".

I could use more counter space between my sink and cooktop, but that just wasn't an option, given the space I have.

My husband hits his head on our undercabinet hood, so I might have considered one of those slide-out units that wouldn't be in his way. I'm short, so no problem either way for me.

Otherwise, everything's good.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 4:30AM
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jellytoast, that would be my dream as well! My husband wont even pick out a paint color on his own.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 9:45AM
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We finished our remodel in October 2012 and the only thing I would change is that I would add a warming drawer, and install a few more can lights on the outskirts of the kitchen area. That's really it.

We've been happy with every other decision, from the layout of the new space, the white cabinets (from CliqStudios), the granite (New Venetian Gold), our sink (Silgranit), our wall color (yellow) and our flooring (dark 5" bamboo).

But I do wish we had spent the money on a warming drawer because there have been a few times where it would have come in handy (my husband bakes bread and the usefulness for proofing the yeast alone would have been worth it).

As for the can lights, we have a small section between the kitchen and the TV room where there isn't enough lighting - something we didn't notice during construction. It's not terrible, and I doubt visitors would even notice it since we hardly ever use the can lights anyway - we primarily use the pendant lighting over the bar counter and the under-cabinet lighting.

Our contractor really did a great job and we will use him again in a year or so when we remodel our really dated master bathroom.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 7:16PM
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This is a helpful thread. Note to self: sink light switch on prep counter side of sink.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 9:00PM
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