Renovating a Kitchen in the Age of COVID-19?

Or, how to plan when you are stuck at home.
Thumbnail for publication: Renovating a Kitchen in the Age of COVID-19?

If one thing’s certain now—in these very uncertain times—it’s that home has never been more important.

As we all spend a lot more time at home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, our houses are becoming our workspaces, our relaxation zones, our movie theaters, our gyms, our restaurants, and our at-home spas. We’ve said it before, but it’s proving to be truer now than ever: It’s so important to have a beautiful, well-functioning space that feels like you.

Maybe, while you’re spending a lot more time at home, you’re also spending a lot more time in the kitchen. (No judgement: We get takeout a lot, too.) Maybe, while you’re cooking dinner for your family or waiting for the popcorn to pop or checking on that sourdough starter, you’re realizing that your kitchen isn’t quite the way you want it. You wish there was more light, or that the range was in a different place, or that you didn’t have seriously drab counters.

In many ways, now is the perfect time to start—just start—a kitchen renovation. Yes, it might be a while before you can begin some parts of it, like in-person work. But planning and preparing for a kitchen renovation can take time, so why not start now? It’ll give you a project to chip away at—and something to daydream about. Just imagine the dinners you can host once we’re all safely able to reunite.

Want to get started? We asked architects and designers for their tips on what you can be doing now.

1. Spend time in your space.

“Examine how you utilize your current space,” says Andrew Heathfield, architect and partner at MINOH Architecture + Design. “What works for you? What doesn’t? What are your must-haves… and your Cadillac options?”

Now is a fitting time to re-evaluate what would make your space more usable, more nurturing, or happier for you and your family. “Consider how the pandemic may be reshaping your perspective of home life and, with that, kitchen design,” says Heathfield. “Are natural light and ventilation more important now? Flexibility? Efficiency? Storage? Color? Materiality?” Assess your new needs and make a list. 

2. Make a (virtual or real) mood board.

Here’s something creative—and productive—you can do these next weeks: Do some research, dive into magazines and websites, and collect images and styles that speak to you. This can be virtual (think kitchens on Pinterest) or real (think a notebook, folder, or an inspiration board that takes over your current kitchen wall). “Providing this framework to your design partner once work commences will help expedite initial phases of design work and exploration,” says Heathfield.

kitchen mood board

You can go a step further and start assembling a materials list which would list out the items used in the renovation with pictures, descriptions, and even price. This will help organize your decisions, and help speed the process with your contractor. Below is an example materials list that Skipp helps its clients create.

3. Look locally.

“Familiarize yourself with local labor,” Heathfield suggests. “Who are the contractors completing work similar to your project? Are they busy? What are their timelines?” This will help give you an idea of what’s going on with renovation and construction where you are.

4. Get quotes.

Thanks to the Internet, you can still get quotes from contractors and workers—so you have all the info you need to get going when that time comes. “I would suggest completing as many quotes as you can, even if it means you’re sending preliminary measurements to your contractors,” says Jessi Economos, founder and principal designer of JEID Studio. And Skipp is still offering its state-of-the-art 3D measurement technology, so you can get quick, accurate measurements of your existing kitchen—no leaving the house or in-person contact needed. You can also connect with contractors via Skipp.

“So many people look at a project of this scale and feel crippled by fear with the thought that it will be SO expensive. But in my experience, when I have a specific number in my head of what the project will cost, it becomes a lot more digestible,” Economos adds. “This will allow you to plan financially and set a specific timeline in place, rather than thinking ‘someday’ forever.” 

If you can get documentation with the scope of work (your desired changes), floor plans, architectural drawings, and a materials list, you can submit them to different contractors in an RFP (request for proposal) process. This makes comparing bids much more accurate as each contractor will be estimating from the same documents.

5. Think about the future.

“With the world in such a crazy spot, it’s pretty easy to get discouraged and anxious these days,” says Economos. “If you were considering doing a kitchen remodel pre-coronavirus, you may be backtracking faster than you ever thought possible. My advice to you is to continue to dream and work through it as much as possible in the current circumstances. Dive into Pinterest and study images. What style door do you like? Do you like simple countertops or bold? Do you prefer mixed metals or are you a uniform person? Ironing out these details will help you learn what you like and why you like them. That knowledge will help you progress through the actual project much faster when that day comes.”

6. 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.

  1. A kitchen mood board
  2. A kitchen materials list
  3. A kitchen fixtures and finishes checklist
  4. An RFP for a kitchen project
  5. Examples of kitchen renderings that Skipp provides clients

Click here to get your FREE Skipp kitchen remodeling preparation kit.


Picture from Skipp's Instagram
Picture from Skipp's Instagram
Picture from Skipp's Instagram
Picture from Skipp's Instagram
Picture from Skipp's Instagram