The term “dream kitchen,” tends to make people think of pie-in-the-sky and dollar signs. The very word dream implies we’re talking about something unrealistic. Don’t let it scare you off. It’s kind of a misnomer. Though wowzer kitchens don’t come cheap, they do come in many price ranges and definitely won’t cost you your first-born. If you have money to re-invest in your home, you should definitely consider giving your kitchen more than a just-enough face lift. Bring a professional designer to the table and dream big.
A typical kitchen remodel draws between a 60 and 80 percent return at home sale. If you’re more of an orchestra-on-the-Titanic homeowner—planning to cling to it until the bitter end—those numbers might not motivate you to dream big. They will, however, be important to whoever inherits your home. And here’s some numbers even forever-owners can’t dismiss: Nearly 30 percent of all adults spend three to four hours there on a typical day. Nearly 20 percent spend more like five hours. So, you—yes you, right there—spend a lot of time in your kitchen. We’re talking between a thousand and two thousand hours every year.
Keep in mind that there’s good reason some kitchen remodels draw down more of a return than others. It’s not just market forces that cause that spread. It’s also the quality of the remodel, including the wisdom of where within the room you specifically sink your money. You can add all the Viking appliances and farm sinks and touch-sensor gizmos you want, but none if it will have as much value as a professional designer in this process. Without a professional designer helping you make informed choices, dream kitchens can end up being anything but dreamy.
Sound like a bunch of hooey? Let’s talk examples. Some Feng Shui–minded designers ask: “Where is the energy getting stuck in this room?” Our designers are apt to talk straighter: “Where in this room do you most often argue or feel like wielding the beaters from your mixer like a weapon?” They don’t actually put it that way, but they do conduct a sort of traffic study. Sure, a novice may be able to assess where room-traffic is clotting. But the professional knows which design solutions will break it up without causing new problems. Oh, how many times have we seen a do-it-yourself “dream kitchen” create foolish consequences. Think sink placed too far from a stove (drip, drip, drip onto the beautiful hardwood floor as you carry colander to stove and back). Think single-handle faucet that can’t be turned all the way on because—oops—it bumps into the backsplash.
It sounds nuts, but when you’re going for a dream kitchen, we suggest you think about ostriches. Super-fun to look at, they don’t fly. That’s how “dream kitchens” can become without the help of a professional designer. All form, no function. You need a balance of both. Someone trained as a room designer can help your imagination take flight without letting it grow into flightless proportions. They’ll look at your space, listen to your needs, come up with creative solutions you never considered, and craft some really amazing ideas that will blow your mind. Dream big, but do it with a firm foot in reality, and you’ll end up with a kitchen where you love spending thousands of hours of your life every year!