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Advice on kitchen remodel

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abw
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Joined: Oct 29 2004

I have lots of ideas for updating my Eichler kitchen, but really want a clean, modern look.

Based on your real-life experiences, is it worth it to work with a kitchen designer or go directly to a contractor? What (if anything) is the benefit of working with a designer?

In your opinion, how important is it that the designer/contractor be an Eichler specialist or an Eichler owner?

This is my first foray into remodelling, so your real-life experience is much appreciated.

Thank you!

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Joined: Apr 26 2003

I think whether or not you choose to work with a kitchen designer depends on your own design expertise and the changes you have planned for your kitchen.

If you are looking at making significant changes to your kitchen, such as relocating the sink and the appliances or completely reworking the layout, I think it may be helpful to work with a kitchen designer. I would think that the designer could assist you in making a workable plan and avoiding costly errors.

If you are keeping the same basic kitchen layout and you are comfortable selecting cabinets, countertops, appliances, etc., I would not see a need for you to secure a kitchen designer.

We have remodeled four kitchens over the years, but have never used a designer. Except for one kitchen, we kept the layout basically the same as original, and replaced appliances, cabinets, and countertops and upgraded the electrical.

One kitchen we remodeled we completely gutted, changing the layout. This was not in an Eichler. We moved the locations of the appliances and took out the wall to the adjoining breakfast nook. For that project, it might have been helpful to use a kitchen designer as we did make an error in the placement of the microwave. We located it so that it was directly in your line of sight when entering the kitchen from the dining room (not very attractive). While the remodel was in progress, we had the contractor move the microwave to a less conspicuous location. I think that a kitchen designer would have picked up that mistake earlier so that we would not have had to pay to have the mistake changed.

As to the designer or contractor being an Eichler specialist, I do not know how important that is. If the designer is a good one, he or she should be able to design a kitchen that meets your requirements, that is a modern, clean design that matches the style of your house. And a good contractor should be able to recognize the limitations of the Eichler, in terms of access for plumbing and electrical, and offer reasonable methods to work within those limitations.

It is your job, I think, to make sure that the people working for you provide you exactly what you want.

Good luck witch your kitchen remodel and share with us your experiences!

abw
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Joined: Oct 29 2004

Jeff:

Thank you for the sage advice.

We want to swap out appliances, new counter-top, custom cabinets, and change the layout back to the original (which means removing some cabinetry and a double-oven and moving the refrigerator back), add a gas line for a gas range and add a breakfast bar. So, not completely re-doing the layout, but certainly some issues may arise re electrical/gas line access and design of the custom cabinetry around the new appliance locations.

I'm going to move forward with interviewing designers. I'll report back as to what they contributed (or not) to the plan.

Have a great holiday!

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

I did a 2-part article on remodeling eichler kitchens for the Network about a year ago. A lot of research went into them, so they might be helpful if you do not already have them. You may be able to get the back issues from Marty. If not, send me an e-mail at cathyelynn at earthlink dot net. I have a couple extras I can send you in hard copy.

Regards,

Cathye

abw
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Joined: Oct 29 2004

Cathye,

Thanks for the tip! I found the series in the list of back issues and have ordered them from Marty.

I look forward to reading them, and I'll let you know how everything turns out.

Thanks,
abw

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Joined: Aug 28 2003

The latest issue of Atomic Ranch magazine also shows a nice kitchen remodel in the article about an Eichler in Southern California.

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

You're welcome. Good luck with your research and your project!

Cathye

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

All good advice by pps. Just wanted to add that we went all around L.A. and looked at a bunch of kitchen installers/designers, i.e. Bulthaup, Snaidero. We ended up falling in love with a kitchen design that was estimated at about $50K for our kitchen. So, we changed it up a bit and had a contractor copy most of it. We did out kitchen for half of that including hardwood floors. Sometimes you need to be inspired by what other people have done to know what you like!

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Joined: Dec 15 2004

I did my Eichler kitchen by myself, saved a lot of money by basically using the same floor plan. What saved me the $$$, is that I was willing to put in the footwork to find what I liked and could afford and I explored many kitchen options/cabinets to pick and choose before deciding.

My kitchen turned out fabulously, no regrets or horror stories, except for the painter who didn't show to finish the job and I did that myself., Good luck

abw
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Joined: Oct 29 2004

Lenraven, thanks for the encouragement. I must admit that the bids I've received are higher than I expected, especially since we're not changing the essential footprint or flooring. Cabinetry seems to be a major cost. What did you settle on for your kitchen?

Thanks,
abw

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