The Naked Truth About Kitchen Remodeling

Ahh, the joys of celebrating in your shiny, new kitchen.  The spectacular granite-topped island is beckoning your friends and family to gather to share the love with a good cabernet in hand.     Your kitchen is now a warm, well-lit oasis of comfort and pleasure, the new beating heart of your home…

I have been remodeling kitchens for clients for 35 years, and have lived through the experience in my own home a couple of times.  I’ll give you it to you straight about kitchen remodeling.

Whether you are doing a “partial” remodel, a midrange “gut to the walls” job, or and kitchen expansion into other rooms, it is going to cost more than you want.    You can spend less with good planning of course but the naked truth is, most people don’t realize what kitchen renovation work really costs, especially when using a good contractor using a high quality construction team.

From a construction standpoint, kitchens are one of the most complex projects to plan and execute.  They involve the most expensive elements in a home: new custom cabinetry, stone counters, tile on floors and backsplashes, lighting plumbing, expensive appliances and fixtures, to name a few.   Add in removing walls to create that coveted “open look”, relocating the kitchen sink, raising ceilings and expanding the foot print, and the price soars. Remember that changes to the project add cost, interrupt the rhythmic schedule of a job, and extend the completion time.  


  1. Do your internet homework. Good contractors have lots of good reviews on Google,, Angie’s List, etc.   If you are having trouble finding any reviews for a candidate, pass him by. That is a huge red flag.


  1. Check the company’s listing on the Better Business Bureau website. Call your local Builders Association for a list of reputable remodelers and builders in your area.  I suggest limiting your candidates to those that have construction certifications from the National Association of Homebuilders.

  2. Do a good phone interview before inviting the remodeler out.  Find out if he mainly works in your part of town. How long he has been in business?  Is kitchen remodeling a mainstay project for him or an occasional sideline? Will he let you come see a kitchen remodel in progress?  


  1. Get, and call references.   Ask them what the experience was like having that crew in the house?  How neat was the house kept during the work? Did you get a weekly schedule?  How well was the day-to-day communication and job management done? Could you get someone on the phone quickly if there was a problem? Did you feel you got a good value for the money you paid?  These are excellent questions check out a contractor – before anyone comes out to look at the job.