These are strange and unprecedented times. The world is coming to a halt to help slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s affecting every area of life, from the big and life-altering to smaller, everyday adjustments. Including renovations.
If you were in the middle of a kitchen renovation when all of this began, you’re probably not sure what the next weeks and months will mean for your project (or for anything else). It’s true that some parts of renovations—like in-person work—may need to be paused until it’s safe to get going again. But there are still lots of things you can do while you’re at home to keep your renovation moving forward. It’s a good way to keep yourself busy during quarantines and social distancing. Plus, you can have a brand-new, beautiful kitchen to look forward to when all of this is over.
We asked designers and architects how to keep a kitchen renovation project going right now, while most work is at a standstill (and when money may be tight). One of them—Jessi Economos, founder and principal designer of JEID Studio—has a message for everyone who’s mid-project right now: “PROPS to you for being bold and renovating! So many people are intimidated by the thought and just choose to live with what they currently have. But not you. You went for it. Sweat equity and living through the challenges will make the end result that much sweeter.”
Here are a few expert ideas for how to keep your project moving right now.
1. Check in.
“If you are willing and ready to attempt to move your project forward, reach out to your contractor. Ask for an order of operations from them, and talk through a game plan of what you can do and what they prefer to do themselves,” says Economos. Adds Andrew Heathfield, architect and partner at Minoh Architecture + Design: “Consult with your general contractor or design professional to decide whether or not components of the work can be self-performed.”
“Any good contractor will understand the hard spot you are in and will most likely be more than willing to help you brainstorm,” Economos says. “They might even be able to FaceTime you through any hiccups along the way. Please remember this is also a very difficult time for contractors and their businesses. Paying them for their time will totally be appreciated.”
2. Make a plan.
Based on what’s left to do in your project—and what you hear from your contractor—make a checklist. “Take some time to make a chronological list of what needs to happen,” says Jessi. “Then make estimations of what each of those steps will cost in terms of money and time.” It’ll keep you organized and on-track for any tasks you take on yourself over the next few weeks—and beyond that, too.
3. Finalize all specifications.
The tiny details, says Heathfield, “are oftentimes the crux of an on-time project delivery. When clients waver or backtrack on design direction, delays ensue.” Take this time while things are paused to finalize and double-check everything, including:
Cabinet hardware and pulls
Electrical & lighting fixtures
That way, your wish list will be completely ready to go when orders can be placed and work resumed. Skipp creates a worksheet for each client that ensures that nothing is forgotten. You can get a copy of it here.
If you are still making decisions about any of these items, Skipp has some advice on the above kitchen componentry to help make sure that your decisions are informed ones; visit the Skipp Kitchen Resource Center.
4. Complete any outstanding orders.
If you’re financially able, tie up loose ends on outstanding orders. “Ensuring that all materials and equipment are on site once work commences helps remove one important project variable,” says Heathfield—and avoid delays, too.
5. Take on a project yourself.
“If you're the DIY type, this might not be as big of a hiccup for you,” says Economos. “Keep an open mind about bending the rules a little. Maybe you have all the flooring, but don't have your cabinets yet? Lay your flooring and set your cabinets on top! Have your paint, but not finished? Tackle the ceiling or the daunting oak trim in your house during this time.”
Of course, there are some things you definitely don’t want to DIY—think plumbing, gas, and electrical hookups or moving heavy appliances. But there may be simple, enjoyable tasks you can take on yourself. (“Look for tasks that will take a lot of time,” Jessi says.) You’ll have a creative outlet to keep you busy—and you’ll be that much prouder of your kitchen once it’s finished.
6. Learn new skills.
Why not use this time to learn something new? Particularly if your project team isn’t available to you right now, says Economos, turn to one of many resources online, like YouTube (or Skipp!). “A few years ago my husband and I renovated our main floor, and we started the entire project not having many carpentry skills at all,” she says. “Every night before we went to bed we would watch countless videos on how to do the next step, then make it happen the very next day. It’s amazing what YouTube will teach you. We learned how to lay flooring, paint woodwork, and install cabinets, hardware, wainscoting, baseboards, and doors without having any prior experience. I believe in you! You can do way more than you think.”
Keep at it: There’s still plenty you can do from home to inch towards your dream kitchen. Just think of the party you can throw once it’s done.
7. Get a kitchen remodeling preparation kit today!
Skipp is now offering a package of example documents to help people begin preparing for their kitchen remodel. You'll receive examples of the following documents which provide some guidance and structure to get going today.
- A kitchen mood board
- A kitchen materials list
- A kitchen fixtures and finishes checklist
- An RFP for a kitchen project
- Examples of kitchen renderings that Skipp provides clients
Click here to get your FREE Skipp kitchen remodeling preparation kit.