If you anticipate selling your home in the near future and need to upgrade your kitchen, "you should do it a little less expensively than if you are doing it for yourself," Nagwani said. On the other hand, if you are remodeling for yourself, she added, "You should make yourself happy first and make it the way you want it. You will always get your money back when you re-sell." Furthermore, said Nagwani, if you are getting ready to put your home on the market and are lucky enough to still have an original kitchen intact, it may be "better to do nothing"—other than basic cleaning and staging—before marketing. "People would rather you did nothing than to do something" counter to the Eichler concept, she pointed out.
Some buyers, especially designers and architects, are looking for a clean slate with which to make their own design statement, and they oftentimes are willing to pay extra for the chance to do so. While a high-end and beautifully remodeled kitchen is certainly a plus in the minds of many prospective buyers, it is not necessarily what most of them are looking for. If you are going to upgrade or remodel and are concerned about resale value, Nagwani has found that it is best to "stay with modern and stay away from traditional, like French country stuff. With modern design, and its clean and simple lines, you won't ruin the resale value. However, if you go with a traditional kitchen, you can actually reverse some of the value of the home."
The decision of whether or not to use an architect, a designer, or both, depends on what you are trying to accomplish with your kitchen upgrade. Architects conceptualize, plan, and develop designs for the construction and renovation of commercial, institutional, industrial, and residential buildings and other structures. Often, they will also coordinate and administer many aspects of construction, including field review and inspection as well as preparing contracts and various other documents. Architects go through formal schooling and must be licensed by the state in order to do business.
According to Ron Key, head of Ron Key Construction in Mountain View, you "do not need an architect for most residential projects," but if your purpose is to make a statement, then "go with an architect or an interior or kitchen designer." Key also cautions that many architects are not equipped to do budgeting. As a result, some homeowners can find themselves in a situation where they have sophisticated, professionally produced plans in hand, but insufficient budget to complete the project. On the other hand, if you are planning to move a load-bearing wall or do anything with seismic implications, then perhaps one should consider an architect, since designers are not allowed to do anything that is considered structural. "Architects are specialists in creating the spaces people want to live and work in," added Sue Olson. "As we know, Eichler used several architects throughout his career and their talents and vision can be clearly seen in each and every Eichler they designed."
Interior or kitchen designers can be an invaluable resource for help in remodeling Eichler kitchens. A good designer is an expert in space utilization, functionality, aesthetics, and materials. An experienced designer is also trained in listening to his or her customers and in helping them translate their needs into a project plan. According to Olson, "Most people have junked up their Eichlers. That's why they come to me—to unclutter their home and keep the lines nice and clean and open." They also want more counter space and room for storage. This can be accomplished with the right combination of design and space planning, cabinets, counters, lighting, and other materials. In addition, designers that have been certified by the state of California, bearing the title "Certified Interior Designer," have been required to pass an exam regarding California building code regulations, and thus can bring additional expertise to the design process.
But it all begins with a plan, and the importance of having a strategy in place cannot be overemphasized—especially in light of the openness of the Eichler floor plan. Olsen states that while it is not essential to remodel the rest of the home when doing the kitchen, "you need a master plan" to ensure that it all flows and works together.