6 Shopping Secrets

Posted by Ben Thompson on 07.8.11

I just walked around my kitchen counting the number of selections that have to be made in a kitchen remodel.  After pointing at the microwave, backsplash, cabinet pulls, and making one circuit around the kitchen I counted 40 decisions someone needs to make in a kitchen remodel.  Here are 6 shopping secrets from your favorite kitchen & bath designers on how to successfully shop for the finishes for your next remodeling project.

Consider crumb colored counter tops - I just wiped off my dark counter tops and they don't look clean.  Granted, technique is a component of my illustration.  I know my counters are clean, but they do not look clean. One reason New Venetian Gold granite is so popular is because it is crumb colored.  There is a generational awareness for hard it is to keep dark granite counter tops spotless in my consciousness.  (Why do I also drive a black car?)

Have you seen our gallery of ideas for you? Check this out (Shopping Secrets).

Dog colored floors - If you hate fur as much as I do, pick a pet colored floor and also one that has variation of color.  Rustic and hand-scraped floors are trending now.  The alternative, daily cleaning - something we all should do, but rarely is actually done.  If you want to clean more often, buy better cleaning supplies/gear.  Buy a Dyson vacuum and a micro fiber Bona wood floor cleaning kit.

You can find more ideas here too (Shopping Secrets)

Does quality count? - Yes - If you want your finishes to last more than 5 years then quality absolutely matters to your long-term satisfaction.  No - If you'll make a change anyway or move in less than 5 years.  Be a Deal Hound, find something cheap, enjoy the hunt, and don't let any of us Quality Snobs tell you any different.  Is this a "Target" purchase or a "Talbots" purchase (How did you like that mixed metaphor?).

Everything up front - If you want to avoid delays, cost overruns, and Scope Creep (when a project grows into a never-ending monster) then make all of your selections before you begin the build phase of your project.  Your patience will be rewarded in every way.  I recently heard a story where it took someone 8 weeks to pick their carpet, the project started without all the selections made, they added 2 weeks of extra carpentry & painting midstream, and the project took twice as long as it could've if everything had been selected up front.  It did not have to be that painful of a process.

Allowances are assumptions - Most builders enter a construction agreement with allowances as placeholders.  Most builders don't do their homework and lead their clients through best practices.  Early on in a professional relationship how would a designer, builder, or client know if they want a $175 faucet or $350 faucet?  Both could be appropriate in the 2500 sf house they want to build in a nice neighborhood.  Selections can be the difference between a $50,000 and $100,000 kitchen remodel.  Multiply the variance of builder assumptions versus actual client selections by 40 decisions and there is room for big swings in a project budget.  Allowances are the starting point for a client to get into a range they are comfortable with.  Leading clients through a thorough selections/shopping process, before entering a construction agreement, is the best way to help clients get what they want.

Get a Guide - In my experience, clients get what they want, within their budget, and their projects are completed quickly, when they allow us to guide them through the complete shopping process.

There you go, 6 Secrets of how to shop well in your next remodeling project.  Happy shopping!

Topics: Thompson Times, Dyson vacuum, Dyson wood floor kit, hand-scraped floors, kitchen design, kitchen remodeling, pet fur, design, kitchen design tips, new venetian gold, tips