72 "A kitchen provides physical and spiritual nourishment, and for many homes is now the heart and soul of family life." - Terence Conran, famed restaurateur and designer For many homeowners, the kitchen is the hub and the heart of a home; so, renovating it into your coveted dream space can be a big deal and not to be taken lightly. You want your new kitchen, and all elements within it, to be “just so” - an accurate reflection of your tastes and lifestyle, and cohesive with your budget. So naturally, such a significant undertaking entails a plethora of options, choices and decisions. You might be pondering: What do I envision as my overall design scheme? Where do I go for ideas, and should I hire a professional? Should my cabinets be simple or ornate, light or dark colored, and should I opt for a faux-finish? What about appliances – are stainless steel my best option? And countertops – how to choose with so many selections? Do I opt for a backsplash? And do I want tile or hardwood flooring, and what shade or design would be best? If your next question is, “Where and how do I start?” That’s where I come in. Let’s begin. Making Cents of It All First, establish a budget. It’s okay if your estimate is a range rather than a firm dollar amount, but it’s important to have a starting point. Find your Style I frequently direct my clients to seek out design-inspiring websites such as Houzz or Pinterest, and collect images or idea boards depicting what resonates. Cabinet Savvy As a designer, I then like to then embark on cabinet and door style choices. Do you prefer Shaker style, either painted or stained? Raised panel or bead board? Fifty Shades of White Gray and white kitchens have been all the rage in the past few years, and there are countless beautiful designs. And like gray, there are over 50 shades of white; some with warm tones, others cool; and subtle undertones ranging from blue to yellow or even green. By the way, there is no rule that all the painted pieces in your kitchen must be the same. It’s perfectly fine – and often quite stunning – to have cabinetry painted in one shade, for example, and an island in a complementary color. Appliance Science Then there are appliances, sinks and plumbing fixtures to be selected. For these decisions, consider your preferred look and style that you identified beginning in the research step of the process. Counter Distinction When it comes to selecting countertops, there are so many to choose from - manmade, natural stone, wood, even concrete – in varying levels of durability. Then there is the countertop edge; a waterfall edge is very popular now and a great look, as is a two- or three-inch thick built-up edge on your island’s countertop. To Backsplash or Not to Backsplash? I always recommend that my clients choose the backsplash after the countertops are installed. Why? Because there are simply so many options - mosaic, Moroccan, subway, glass - and they can look vastly different in your home between the wall, cabinets and countertop, as opposed to how they appear in a showroom. Step on It Whether it be wood or tile, your flooring selection should fall into place once you have your cabinets and counters selected. The surface you and your guests walk upon not only makes a statement but also serves a purpose, so it’s important to factor in aesthetics along with features and functionality. Renovation Wrap-Up At the end of the day, if you still feeling daunted by this process, consider hiring a professional. A trained design expert can support and guide you throughout this process, ensure your selections are consistent with your aesthetic goals and expectations, and keep you on budget. RENOVATING YOUR HEART AND SOUL by Cheryl McCracken If the concept of refurbishing the most fundamental area of your home intimidates you, let us show you how it can be done, According to Remodeling magazine, a kitchen redo can yield you an impressive 61 to 70 percent return on investment. Gray and white kitchens have been all the rage in the past few years. This kitchen sports a built-up edge on the island countertop. We recommend choosing the backsplash after the countertops are installed, since this element can look very different in your own space versus in a showroom. We recently customized a wood coffee bar in a kitchen and the counter was copper, while the rest of the kitchen was a shade of white.