Dear Construction Conductor

Dear Construction Conductor:

What is the cheapest and best way to get several design ideas for my full kitchen remodel? I know I want to remove a wall, so I will have to use an architect.

On a Budget, Austin, TX

Dear On a Budget,

Thank you for your question. The cheapest and best way to get several design ideas for your full kitchen remodel is to look at several magazines, perform internet searches, buy or borrow a few home design books and even watch the DIY channel.  If you’re like most people, you won’t find one project where you like everything presented. Most people find an element here and an element there and end up piecing the ideas together. As you find project elements you like, make a color copy of the source image (if you can), and identify the element you liked on the copy so you can refer back to it.

Make a list of everything you want to change in your kitchen, referring back to the copied element images. Break your project down in to major groups based on your specific needs;  Flooring, Wall tile, Cabinets, Counter, Painting, Plumbing, Electrical, and in your case Carpentry because you want to move a wall. Whether you need an architect depends mainly on answering two questions; is the wall structural, and what is the building departments’ requirement in your jurisdiction?

If the wall is structural, meaning that it is required to hold up the floor or roof above and your jurisdiction allows, you could look for a contractor capable of doing the final design and construction. Do you know if the wall is structural? Sometimes it’s hard to tell, without investigating the manner of construction in the attic or through minor demolition. If you have no idea how to tell whether the wall is structural, ask a few contractors and compare their possibly varying opinions. In the end, if you do your homework, clearly define what you want, get the best contractor for the best and most-inclusive starting price and have a system and methodology for maintaining control throughout construction, the project will work out well.

© 2013, DHartman. All rights reserved.

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