The project scope: Budgeting basics, Step 1

The support/distention in the design community to Monday's article Budget basics: Confessions of a bitchy kitchen designer has been good and created dialogue. There's been support from other design writers, Kelly's KitchenSync and Kitchens for Living in particular, but I stand by what I wrote because it is very dis-heartening to be the designer-on-the-wall that ruins the fairy tale before it begins. Let me be clear, (Harper-ism, can't believe I used it) I am a softie for a good sappy Google commercial, go to bat against trades for my clients, a high-servicing designer and respond to client emails 24/7, help my clients resolve design dilemmas (even when they haven't paid me for that part of the service), a bit of a hippy and declare war on waste, drive an unglamorous Toyota Yaris. Let's not confuse the "Bitchy Corey" with the "Super Designer-Ninja Corey" - they both have their place and no one likes a boring read.

So, what's to be said about all this hoopla? Super Designer-Ninja Bitchy Corey is here to help - with budgeting! Yee haw, Cowgirls! Oh my god! Let's saddle up! Look at that.

Step 1 - The Project Scope

It's hard to find anyone willing to talk about what kitchens really cost, let alone dress up in gingham and Daisy Dukes for you (or not), so let me be frank: kitchens and bathrooms are expensive, more expensive than you have been lead to believe by the media. I can't tell you how much those shows make me want to hurl my Energy Star, flat LCD TV out my single pane glass windows. You, the consumer, should be outraged at the mis-leading information (read more on the HGTV Effect) but there is help.

The very first step of your kitchen remodel/renovation  is to decide the scope of your project. You and your neighbours lap-dog(s) are thinking about a kitchen renovation because over 60% of North American households are planning one. Okay, enough shop talk. The best way to start any planning is to talk turkey and figure out how much money you have to spend, then you need to figure out where to spend it. This is very challenging for anyone, especially those of you rolling in dough, because we want so many cool and fancy thing-a-ma-bobs, so in my super-sexy geeky-ness, I made a graph:

Adds up quickly, doesn't it. I'm going to stand on my milk crate for a minute (maybe in heels and sequins to get your attention) to tell you:

You must adjust the graph up or down by 10-20% for market conditions!

I didn't have a marquee to with flashing lights, a video, or Miss Dee W Ieye #1 Tupperware Lady, to exclaim it all to you - but you get the point. But before you stress out and out to yoga class (Guys please, compression underwear is not acceptable. Just had to say it.) I suggest you sit down, think about what you want to do and start looking at research online. Cuddle up with your iPad and a glass of Chardonnay, maybe some cheese, and get to it. Kitchen Designers LOVE educated clients (I've had a few in my time, and they're much more fun and receptive to my idiosyncrasies. Selfish, I know.)

Can a $10,000 kitchen be beautiful? Yes.

Can you spend less? Yes.

If you spend less, can you get fancy things like drawers and accessories? No, likely not.

The best thing you can do is start with a Google Doc's Spreadsheet (that you can share with your hubbies and designers, OMG!) and begin to crunch some numbers together. Kitchen design is a marathon so you need to pace yourself, but getting to the starting line is half the battle.

A forewarning for us Canadians: Some of the business' out there offer financing. We do not do this in Canada as a rule of thumb. This is best left to your banking professional. And please do not renovate your kitchen on your 28.8% credit card, that's just stupid.

Up next? Where to draw your design inspiration from and some tools to help you along.