I would like to remodel the kitchen (gut the whole thing out), making it bigger. Do we need to have a general idea, or does the contractor help us figure that out when they come and see the kitchen. Do the contractors get all the cabinets and appliances and it is all one bill or does the customer go and pick that separately. This is the first time we are doing this so not sure where to start. Thanks in advance.
Roslyn ~ Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Hi Roslyn, remodeling a kitchen so that it turns out well requires that a complete team work together. That team consists of the homeowners, the contractor and his workers, and the vendors supplying the materials. It helps the contractor if you have an idea of how you would like your kitchen to look when finished. The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in a home, and a family often spends a lot of their time there, either cooking or conversing.
I would suggest looking through home magazines, looking at various websites, and visiting home or kitchen design centers to get some ideas before meeting with a remodeling contractor. Once you have a few ideas, then you should have some questions that you can ask a contractor when you meet with them. A good contractor can help with your design, and show you ways that you might be able to cut costs. However, ultimately it is your decision as to how you would like the kitchen remodeling to turn out, so it is important that you and your family play a large part in the design.
Regarding the appliances and cabinets, it can be set up a couple of ways. Most contractors prefer that everything go through them, as that keeps them aware of everything that is going on, and allows them to schedule delivery of the materials when they are needed. That means that you only have to pay the contractor, and keeps everything within their control. I once allowed a customer to purchase their own plumbing fixtures, and they somehow purchased European fixtures that I couldn't find parts for, or a plumber who knew how to connect them.
However, with a kitchen there are a lot of options involved, and it is important that the customer be allowed to choose what they want in the kitchen. That is one of the reasons I suggested visiting some kitchen and home design centers, I would think there would be quite a few around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Let the contractor know what level of cabinets and appliances you are interested in, and they can set up an allowance for those items in their estimate for the cost of the kitchen remodeling. You may also want to choose the plumbing and electric fixtures, and the contractor can set up an allowance for those items also. That allows you to get an idea of the total cost of remodeling, including the items you have picked out, and also allows the contractor know what they are going to be installing. You have to be careful while the job is underway though, as I have had many projects go over budget when customers changed their minds during construction, and picked more expensive items to install.