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May 25th, 2017 | Posted in Insights

You have decided to remodel your kitchen, and you have a
pretty clear vision of what you want. You’ve accumulated
photos, swatches and magazine clippings. You’ve fi nished your
wish list and even have a budget in mind.
So, what’s next?
It begins with a visit to a kitchen design fi rm’s showroom, said
Kevin Briggs, a designer for Markraft Cabinets of Wilmington.
Bring your scrapbook or collection of samples and ideas. It will
be helpful to come with a fl oor plan, accurate measurements and
photos of the existing space. Those, along with your wish list, will
be essential ingredients for the designer as the basis for his or her
work after your fi rst meeting.
“That’s very important to us,” Briggs said.
During that fi rst consultation, Markraft designers will give
homeowners an “education about the remodeling process and the
different options for cabinets,” Briggs said, as well as countertop
options, hardware and fi xtures. An essential early step is to make
sure your wish list matches your spending plan. That may require
eliminating ideas that don’t fi t, such as selecting stock or semi-custom
cabinets instead of a fully customized option, or perhaps increasing
the budget to accommodate “must-have” features.
When you return, the designer will present a conceptual fl oor
plan, along with elevations – views of walls, windows and cabinets as
you would see them while standing in your kitchen – created with
powerful computer assisted design, or CAD, software, which can
generate three-dimensional perspective views. The software can even
add in door styles for cabinets, Briggs said, making this fi rst plan a
“what-you-see-is-what-you-get” experience.
It’s at this stage – when the conceptual plan is done but before
anything has been ordered – that any fi nal changes should be made.
Different cabinet designs, countertop materials or hardware will all
affect cost.
The designer will also advise the client if anything within the plan
could require special attention. Taking out old cabinets and preparing
walls for new ones is routine, but removing load-bearing walls or
moving drain pipes are major tasks, adding to a job’s complexity and
A kitchen design fi rm will install cabinets and countertops, but
necessary preliminary work will require a general contractor and,
likely, subcontractors – electricians, plumbers, fl ooring installers,
drywall fi nishers and painters.
Scheduling those contractors can take time, so it’s smart to fi nd
them no later than when cabinets and countertops are ordered.
That’s also a good time frame for ordering appliances.
“It’s very important to have appliance model numbers and
specifi cations” before the fi nal design is locked in, Briggs said.
Next is a site visit. Not all kitchen design fi rms do this, but Markraft
always sends its designers to verify every dimension. It’s also important,
Briggs noted, to be sure all components, such as large appliances or
slabs of stone countertop, will fi t through doors, around corners and
up stairways. The extra time this requires is the company’s guarantee
that everything will fi t as planned.
“We then complete the fi nal design to the point where it’s ready
to be ordered,” Briggs said.
The whole process, from initial meeting to placing the order, can
take three to six weeks, depending on how quickly the homeowner
can make decisions about specifi cs.
Then comes the wait – from four to 10 weeks for the kitchen
components to be built, with more customized cabinetry taking
longer. But this isn’t idle time – it’s when the homeowner’s contractor
will be preparing the space for installers.
A future article will address the details of what to expect during
the preparation and installation phase.
Ready to start your remodeling job? Make a visit to Markraft’s
Design Center. Markraft’s professional kitchen and bath designers
consult by appointment, but drop-in visitors are always welcome to
browse the showroom. The Design Center is open from 9 a.m. to
5 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 2705 Castle Creek Lane, just off
Castle Hayne Road. Visit the website at