10 signs your kitchen has gone from timely to behind the times
Reface Story #1
By Chris Standring, ©2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Today’s kitchen is more than just an area for cooking and eating. This is where the family gathers and guests socialize.
It’s clearly the most evolved room in the house, moving from mere utility space a few decades ago to a high-functioning area for living and entertaining. Given the pace of that evolution, it’s no surprise that kitchen renovations are in high demand and offer some of the best returns on investment for homeowners.
But beware of overspending on a kitchen reno, say professional appraisers. The value of whatever you pull out needs to be factored in with the cost of replacement when calculating return on investment. That’s why it often makes more sense to reface existing kitchen cabinets, especially if their construction is sound and the configuration will remain largely the same.
“New isn’t always better when renovating an older kitchen,” says Ken Nicholl of Reface Magic, a leading Edmonton company for over 15 years in environmentally friendly kitchen and bath renovations.
“Often in older homes we see solid wood construction in the kitchen cabinetry that’s of a higher quality than what is going into new cabinet construction today.” So it can make more sense to keep the old cabinets but reface them with new doors and hardware.
Not only does refacing makes sense financially, “costing 40 per cent less on average than installing new cabinets,” says Nicholl, but it makes sense ecologically, with less waste going into the landfill.
Refacing is a simple way to achieve a whole new kitchen look without a full demolition and reinstall. Existing drawer and door fronts are removed and discarded. Exposed surfaces are prepared and covered with laminate, vinyl or veneer to match your new doors. Cabinets can be modified to gain new space for storage and to accommodate new appliances.
Even if resale value and return on investment aren’t your primary considerations, being able to enjoy your updated kitchen and bathroom may be all the motivation you need to undertake that reno this year.
So what features date your kitchen the most, bringing down the value and appeal of your home? These are questions that Nicholl deals with all the time. He says there are 10 signs your kitchen has gone from timely to behind the times.
- Old-style stained wood grain in kitchen cabinetry. “Whether dark or golden oak, a prominent wood grain will date the kitchen more than any other feature. Also, wood isn’t the best choice for the dry climate of Alberta. It dries out, cracks and fades. We’re seeing more homeowners opt for sturdy fresh-looking laminate in neutral palettes that are classic and timeless.”
- Angled bulkheads over the upper cabinets. “These aren’t done any more and are just wasted space. Today’s look is to have them open overhead or extend the cabinets straight up to the ceiling, adding height to the room and more storage space.”
- Exposed cabinetry hinges. “Most of today’s kitchens are built with concealed Euro-style hinges. Switching to these new hinges can instantly update your kitchen.”
- Wasted space in corners, with shelving that’s inaccessible. “We can install handy pullouts and new, more-stabilized lazy susans that provide access now to this formerly useless space.”
- Hanging (overhead) peninsula cabinets that block sight lines. “These are eliminated in modern kitchens to open up space and add lighting.”
- Decorative range hoods and pot racks that add clutter and obstruct sight lines. “Today’s kitchens are streamlined and aim for openness and clean lines.”
- Old-style laminate countertops with dark seam lines at the edges or tiles with grouted lines. “Today’s countertops, whether granite, tile or laminate, are seamless with a substantial bevelled edging. We have a variety of countertop materials. But to save costs, we recommend customers have a second look at the new generation of laminates that use advanced printing techniques to closely resemble more expensive materials like travertine, granite, butcher block and even stainless steel.”
- Single-sourced overhead lighting or big, fluorescent lighting panels. “These are very dated now. Installing a variety of lighting fixtures, such as pendants and under cabinet lighting, can all help bring some light and life to the space. Lighting on the underside of the upper cabinet with LED tape lights can be a hidden asset in any kitchen, providing task lighting as well as soft, ambient lighting to give the room a warm glow.”
- Backsplashes that only reach a few inches above the countertop. “When building or remodelling, take the backsplash right up to the upper cabinets for a modern designer look.”
- Old, scratched or stained sinks. “These are an inexpensive way to update a kitchen, especially if you are going to replace your countertop.”
Refacing is a simple way to achieve a whole new kitchen look without a full demolition and reinstall, says Ken Nicholl of Reface Magic. “New isn’t always better when renovating an older kitchen.” Photos: Walter Tychnowicz, Wiresharp Photography, ©2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
- Ken in showroom / It can make sense to keep the old cabinets but reface them with new doors and hardware to get a new look for your kitchen or bathroom, says Ken Nicholl.
- Wall of Cupboards / More homeowners are choosing neutral palettes that are classic and timeless for their renovations.
- Lazy Susan / New, more stabilized lazy susans can be installed to make better use of awkward spaces.
- Wire organizer / There are all sorts of handy pullouts that can be installed to gain new or better storage areas.
- Wall of Hardware / New hardware will give your kitchen an immediate update.
- Hardware / The choice of new knobs, pulls and handles will speak to your style and have an impact on the whole room.
- Countertops / Modern countertops — whatever the variety of material used — should be seamless with a substantial bevelled edging.
- Laminate / To save costs, you may want to look into the new generation of laminates that use advanced printing techniques to closely resemble more expensive materials.
- Hinge / Switching to concealed Euro-style hinges can instantly update your kitchen.
- Backsplashes / When building or remodelling, take the backsplash right up to the upper cabinets for a modern designer look.