Remodeling University: Kitchen Remodeling

It would seem fitting to write about kitchen remodeling in our ‘University’ blog the day before our exclusive webinar event featuring Mal Corboy, the world renowned kitchen designer/cabinet maker. To register for this event please go here.

Kitchen remodeling in Los Angeles (and most anywhere else, for that matter) can be as simple as a face-lift involving painting, new faucets and appliances and maybe a new floor. Or, as is more often the case, it could be an involved project encompassing every aspect of the kitchen – from structural consideration when walls, doors or windows are changed, through design and style. When a complete kitchen project is undertaken, code issues come into play. This, because codes changed over the years since the old kitchen was done (even if that kitchen is not that old).

A complete review of the subject ‘kitchen remodeling’ is certainly beyond what a single post could accomplish. Indeed, I hope to return to this subject in future posts to more fully address it as well.

Today, I want to address few key code and design issues. These should be considered by anyone thinking about remodeling their kitchen:
1. Electrical: today’s kitchens require many more circuits than kitchens of old. Essentially, while before, the entire kitchen had one or two circuits serving all appliances, lighting and outlets, today’s codes require separate circuits for most appliance and GFI protected outlets anywhere in the kitchen. The need for additional circuits might trigger a need to expand or upgrade the electrical panel as well.
2. Lighting: modern kitchens are distinguished by a lot of light, both natural and artificial. There are hanging/decorative lights, there are task lights, there are recess lights, there are under/in/over cabinet lights, etc. Title-24 (a California code section) places certain limits on energy use, and by extension on the type of lighting one can use. Essentially (though there may be more to it than that), 50% of the power used for lighting should come from ‘high efficacy’ lighting fixtures. That means florescent and LED lighting (note that the requirement is for 50% of the power, not the number of fixtures). As the typical ‘builders’ grade’ florescent recess cans suck (they produce very dim light) and LED lighting is presently best for spot lighting only (its not quite ready for prime time yet…but soon), this is a challenge. Discuss this with your kitchen remodeling contractor, your lighting designer or the inspector to make sure you are in compliance and are still getting a beautifully lit kitchen.
3. Design: If you are changing your layout so that your kitchen remodel produces a more open floor plan, a less dated look, an accommodation for the new appliances you’ve been dreaming about and so forth, consider the following. Note that executing these design criteria well, in a visually compelling fashion and so that the kitchen is a delight to use and entertain in, is why you need a competent kitchen designer to help with the planning. This facility (the ability and knowhow needed to design well) is greatly lacking with most kitchen remodeling contractors; consider – the work triangle(s), traffic and work isles, counter areas adjacent work centers, optimal clearances, optimal placement of the various appliances, storage and cabinets’ features, style and color and more.

Our kitchens are the heart of our homes. They are where families meet, they are where cooks create, they are where we entertain and where so many of our life’s memories are created. The remodeling of the kitchen is also a project with great return on investment, when done right.

Whatever your budget may be, there could be a nicer, more inviting and inspiring kitchen in your future. Educate yourself further. Assemble a competent team with proven expertise in the kind of kitchen you are dreaming about and have fun!

Happy remodeling.

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