They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home – and with good reason. 42.6% of British people cook for their family or themselves every day and it is believed that the average Brit will spend around three years of their life in the kitchen, be it cooking, socialising or consuming a meal. It is no wonder that kitchen extensions are one of the most popular type of home improvement projects in the UK.
A kitchen extension is a big undertaking and there are a few things you can do to ensure you project runs smoothly and meets your expectations once completed. The better prepared you are prior to commencing work, the better the chances that your kitchen will be exactly what you envisioned.
- Always have a plan.
What does your perfect kitchen look like? Is it a massive space decked out with professional equipment used to prepare culinary extravaganzas? Is it going to be a kitchen and dining area? Or is it going to serve as your main entertaining space? Whatever your vision for your perfect kitchen is, you must have a plan in place so you can make it a reality. Make a decision earlier on regarding what this perfect space looks and feels like and what its purpose is. Different spaces will require different budgets, different equipment and fittings, and will need a different set of experts to help you achieve it. Ensure that your kitchen fabricator, your architect and/or designer and your contractor are the right fit for the project. Also make sure that they are all aware of what your plans and needs are and that they have effective communication channels amongst themselves so that everyone is on the same page.
2. The more information you have, the better.
It might seem strange for us to recommend you get a few comparison quotes, but as we are absolutely confident that we always provide great value in every project we take part in, we are going to go ahead and say it – get a few quotes. With a few quotes at hand you will be able to see what your project will really cost and be able to asses if any one provider is overcharging you for a specific service. A word of caution here, when getting quotes for comparison, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. At Dominant Construction we might not always come in with the lowest estimate, but this is because we always provide you with a quote that will meet your brief accurately and give you detailed information on overall costs. Some contractors can quote for cheaper materials that might not meet your specs or hide third party costs from you so that their estimate seems more appealing. It is our practice to include all costs; not only for the work we need to do for you, but that for potential additional expenses that you might need to incur independently. This gives you the opportunity to budget efficiently and make any necessary modifications early on in the project helping you avoid unpleasant and potentially expensive surprises.
3. Know what you want.
There are multiple decisions to be made when you embark on a kitchen extension. What will be the floor finish? What type of kitchen do I really want? Should I go for traditional fixtures or splash out on the retro copper ones? Lights, worktops, windows…. the list seems endless. It might seem daunting but with the right guidance and an adequate amount of organisation we assure you it can be done. Make as many decisions as possible on as many things as you can early on in the process. This will help you budget realistically and allow you to share your ideas with your providers and contractors who can advise should one of your choices could cause some kind of problem down the line, affect their completion schedule or blow your budget.
4. Have realistic expectations.
Make sure your perfect kitchen extension can be achieved within your budget and time frame. A hand crafted Calacatta marble worktop is not within everyone’s budget and most probably will not be delivered the next day after ordering it. Going into a project with unrealistic expectations (and working with providers that tell you that these can be met even when they know it to be otherwise) is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you speak with your contractor and providers of what you really want and be honest with them about your budget. If your team is a good one, they will let you know what can be done within your time-frame and budget and, as is always our practice, advise you on the best next option when necessary.
5. Do your homework.
We love a good recommendation, and these are a great starting point. But be prepared to do your own research. A recommendation can be based on an experience which is not relevant to the type of project you are going to embark on. A company may be great at carrying out small repairs and decoration but not be adequately equipped to provide you with the kitchen extension of your dreams.
6. Be inquisitive.
Contrary to popular believe, we do not get annoyed when clients ask us questions. It is important that you are part of the project; the more you are involved in the build, the better the chances that things will be done according to your standards.
If you see something on-site that strikes you as odd or that you think is not in accordance to what has been agreed let your contractor or provider know. Do not be shy about asking why things are being done (or not done) a certain way.
7. Budget Wisely
A project’s budget should include not only building costs, but should also take into consideration finishes and potential unexpected costs. Not including these in your forecast might result in unforeseen expenditures that could potentially affect the final outcome of your project by having to compromise in the quality of things such as taps, tiles or flooring. At Dominant Construction, we know that unless you have done these type of projects before, these are costs that are regularly overlooked. This is why our estimates not only include our cost, but provide you with estimates for additional third party and direct expenses you are most likely to incur so you have a clearer picture of what achieving your ideal kitchen extension will really cost allowing you to keep control of your budget.
As well, we suggest once you have fined tuned your budget, you allocate a 10 – 20% contingency fund to address any underlying problems with the existing structure that could be uncovered during your project.
8. Design is key.
Work with a team that understands design and that will help you achieve the look you are going for, but also one that knows how to maximise space and future-proof your brand new extension so that it meets your long-term needs.
9. Don’t forget the lights!
Light is a great way to create the illusion of space. It will add appeal to your kitchen extension and will help you deliver the mood for the room. Keep in mind how much natural light you will get with your new space as this might affect design and budget. Do you need additional artificial light? Should you consider a skylight and is this even an option?
10. Out with the old, in with the new?
Consider how your kitchen extension will work with the existing structure. Will it compliment or contrast what is already there? Are there features of the original structure that you want to preserve or that must be kept? This will affect the materials you choose as well as your budget and overall design.
While this is not an exclusive list, it will provide you with a great starting point. A kitchen extension should not be a source of anxiety for you. It is indeed a big undertaking but by working with the right team and by planning and budgeting with care, it should be a task that is achieved with relative ease, within budget and within a time-frame that you are comfortable with. We would love to help you plan your kitchen extension and are always happy to have a chat on how we can be part of your next project.