Most people today would agree that kitchens can be one of the busiest rooms in a house, especially considering the average household spends more time in the kitchen than in any other room in the home. In this age of ‘sociable’ kitchens, figuring out the layout — sink, refrigerator, and stove; upper and lower cabinets and work surfaces; water, electricity, and gas — can almost be like planning a miniature city.

“Renovating a kitchen is a huge investment and can be very disruptive to your life,” says Katherine Yeager, a project and design Coordinator with ICON Custom Builders.

Yeager focuses on the client relationship for ICON, serving as both advocate and guide, assisting clients through the design, selection, and production phases of a renovation.

“It’s important to listen and understand what my clients truly want,” she says. “It’s an ongoing conversation until we land on a design that the clients love.”

Like all creative processes, Yeager says it can be sometimes challenging helping her clients see all the possibilities an existing space has.

“Most clients are very visual and rely heavily on drawings and photos to grasp what the space could look like,” Yeager says, who routinely provides eye-opening examples.

And while Yeager admits that “cabinetry is obviously the biggest piece of a kitchen renovation,” she points out that “choosing the right countertops, cabinet hardware, light fixtures, sink, backsplash, etc. is what pulls the space all together.”

An avid cook and designer with West End Cabinet Company, Martha Bradley brings a practical approach to cabinet design that can be best described as a “task-oriented kitchen.”

“A kitchen needs to be functional,” she says. “Essential tools [should be] close at hand and plenty of counter [or prep] space for the cook.”

A traditionalist at heart, Bradley appreciates all kinds of cabinet styles, but at the end of the day it’s function that remains her driving force.

Interior designer Jennifer Cameron with DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen believes that living through her own kitchen renovation made her a much better design consultant to her clients.

Cameron patiently dealt with her 1970s vintage kitchen for nearly two years before starting the remodel that required a “major overhaul.”

“The biggest lesson I learned was sometimes after living in a space for a while and using it every day, it makes you rethink how you would change it,” she says.

It’s an experience Cameron shares with her clients all the time, encouraging them to think out-of-the-box and explore all their options before they commit to a final design.

“Many times when I’ve laid out cabinet and floor plans for clients, they come back and say ‘I would never have thought about doing it that way,’” she says. “It can be as simple as taking down a wall or changing a door location to allow for better traffic flow.”

Remodeling your kitchen is a great way to improve your home. But kitchen remodeling isn’t cheap; it’s arguably one of the most expensive rooms in a home to renovate. It’s also a huge undertaking. Hiring a professional with a trained eye and an intimate knowledge of the renovation process can make all the difference in the world.

Remember; let the hard-earned hindsight of kitchen designers help you steer clear of mistakes, and put you in the kitchen of your dreams.

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