Just Ask Joe


Mulling over a kitchen remodel? Unsure how to begin? KraftWerks’ owner Joe Coke has remodeled dozens of kitchens in Columbia. Here he offers advice to kickstart your project.

The first question I usually get is, “Can we take this wall out?” During a remodel, most clients are looking to tie the kitchen into the dining and living rooms with a more open concept. There can be a lot of work and cost involved with taking a wall out, but it can offer a lot of return. If the wall comes out, it will offer you additional space to reconfigure your kitchen and give you more space to add a big island or peninsula — a big plus for entertaining and clients who like to bake.

There is an almost endless variety of flooring options. I’ve even see floors made out of copper pennies! Cost-effective and user-friendly bamboo products are very popular right now, not to mention eco-friendly. There are also some user-friendly, click-together engineered flooring products that look like old plank flooring Plank-style tiles that look like old wood are also very popular. Whatever you consider, make sure it can weather the heavy abuse the kitchen floor takes. Consider one of the many waterproof or water-resistant options. Some products can handle a dropped plate without damaging the surface and are soft enough to take the impact without the plate shattering.
Regardless of what you install on the floor, a natural wood accent somewhere in the room really warms up the space. Consider adding a wooden beam just for architectural reasons, or large hardware such as iron brackets to add a sense of modern antiquity.

Two things I often hear when doing the initial consultation are requests for more lighting and more outlets. There are some great under-cabinet mounted LEDs that don’t take up any room at all and really brighten up the room. Also, most kitchens don’t have enough outlets. Code requires a number of large appliances to have dedicated or high-amp circuits. I always recommend upgrading the wiring. There is a little cost involved to run wire and patch sheetrock, but it will allow your kitchen to safely do more for you.

Cabinets are a large ticket item and replacing them can easily double the cost of your kitchen remodel. Evaluate your options. If they’re solid and in good shape, consider painting them. Or, buy box store cabinets and upgrade the doors so you end up with nicer cabinets.

I’ve seen clients paint their cabinets (to get rid of the popular honey oak), build new metal-framed doors with glass, add glass shelving and some cabinet lighting with a mirror back… it was unbelievable. Something to consider especially if you have cool-looking dishes.
The trend with appliances is to try to blend them into the room. You might see a glass-top stove moved out into the island or a microwave located in a drawer of the island, which slides out at waist height. Think through how you will use the space and get creative.

For kitchen remodel inspirations, go to the Big Box stores to look at materials. Save pictures out of magazines. Go on Pinterest. Go check out the kitchens at your relatives’ houses. Some people are inspired to remodel a kitchen by a style of faucet or a particular light fixture. Sometimes it’s good to consult a designer. I’m a craftsman, not a designer. At the end of the day, I want to produce the homeowner’s unique vision.

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