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Edition 09

Enlivening old kitchens



Although kitchen remodeling is one of the hard-nuts to crack, home-owners can now fortunately sail through the process with ease should they engage specialists who appreciate the taste of contemporary styles, writes Sally AGANDA.

Foresight Kitchen (before)

Foresight Kitchen (before)

Everyone longs for a stylish yet functional home but unless the kitchen looks good and functions well, the formula to a wonderful home will always be lacking a key ingredient.

Kitchen remodeling is a tough process that requires a lot of thought. Fortunately, home owners don’t have to struggle with this task on their own as Specialist Company’s now exist in Kenya. .

It’s important to consider that a modern kitchen is used not just for traditional cooking purposes but also as a quick dining area, a family congregation area and an entertainment area for friends. With all these considerations, a well thought out design becomes essential.

A key element in increasing the functions of a kitchen is the incorporation of an Island or a peninsula. This allows for sitting on one side at either dining table height or bar stool height and working on the other side where appliances such as cookers and sinks can be incorporated. The tops for Islands and peninsulas may be in granite or wood.

A good kitchen remodel will incoorporate some creative ideas in order to maximize storage within cabinets, give maximum worktop surface area for food preparation and offer a seamless flow between the fridge, sink and cooking appliances in order to make working easier.

Apart from that, a good remodel will also consider the flooring type, which needs to be a non slip, easy to clean and water resistant. Ceramic or granito tiles or wood are often used for a safer environment as the kitchen is the most highly trafficked room in a home.


Kitchen Remodeling

Foresight Kitchen (After)

Foresight Kitchen (After)

The first stage when thinking of a remodel is to gather ideas of your own through magazine and internet photos. Once you find something you like, the next step is to engage a kitchen company that undertakes remodeling as many will only undertake new builds due to the increased complexity of working in a home which people may be living it at the time.

A designer will then work with you to bring your creation to life. A big difference comes depending if you go for an off the shelf product, where you will have little say on the materials, colour and design or if you go for full customization with a company that manufactures the kitchens. Here you can get much closer to your ideal look and feel and it’s often well worth it at and doesn’t necessarily cost any more than off the shelf options. So do be sure what the company is offering you from the very start.

Once you have developed what you need with the designers and placed the order, the demolition of your kitchen would usually begin. This may be undertaken by the kitchen company where it has a project management arm or you may engage a contractor or fundis depending on your appetite for involvement in the project and your budget as well.


Good planning

Depending on the size and extent of the remodel, the work would involve ripping out the old cabinets, flooring, electrics and plumbing and should not be assumed to be light work. With good planning it can be done quickly and with minimal disruption to the lives of those living there.  Once all removed, the new flooring and other elements can go in, and the kitchen follows in coordination with the works ongoing.


Foresight Kitchen (After)

Foresight Kitchen (After)

Where all this work may take longer than two weeks, it is advisable to have a temporary kitchen setup in the utility room or some other room in order to keep life as normal as possible and curb any frustrations that may build up from the lack of a functional kitchen.

Kitchen Facelift

In some homes, the kitchen may be dated but have a reasonably good design and a sturdy, well built carcase. In these cases, a face lift may be all that is needed.

Again a good company will be able to advise you on the most cost effective way to go about this which  will typically involve replacing cabinet doors, adding a cabinet or two, new hinges and drawer runners, regrouting tiles, a new lick of paint throughout and giving everything a thorough clean.

The worktops could also be replaced to give it that brand new feel. These may often slide right ontop the existing countertop or the existing one may have to be removed, depending on how it was originally constructed.

If you’re lucky enough to already have a good hardwood floor in your kitchen, then you may want to have it stripped and refinished to enhance the look.

A facelift can greatly improve the durability of kitchen cabinets, adding years of life. And don’t forget your bedroom wardrobes and bathroom cabinetry, doing the same those areas will make a dramatic improvement as well.