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Kitchen renovation

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  • brooklynmasala Jun 21, 2006 08:37 PM

I hope this is the right board for this post.

I am looking to renovate my kitchen. I would love to hear other people's experiences. What materials did you use, what did you learn, what are you glad you did, what would you do different, how long did it take and what did you eat/do while it was in process, etc? I don't know what to expect and need to hear some stories.

Thanks

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  1. We just got done with a 5 month remodel that the contractor said would take "2 to 3 weeks." Still no knobs on the cabinets - but that's our fault. It cost almost twice what we expected but we've learned that is typical, especially with an unpredictable almost 100 year old house. We ended up needing a new electrical service, etc. So budget carefully and plan on it taking much longer than you expect. Move out if you possibly can or plan to get away from the noise and dust as much as possible. Also make up a detailed list of everything that will need to be done for the contractor to write an estimate from. We got burned on "extras."

    The best thing we did was hire a kitchen designer for a few hours of time. She was totally reasonable, drew up the plans and came up will all kinds of brilliant ideas including putting in an L-shape bench/banquette to save space in the dining area. It is incredibly cozy.

    We are very happy with the results. We spent a lot on custom cabinets - which were actually cheaper than Home Depot - and are glad we did because we got exactly what we wanted (cabinets go to the ceiling, big cabinet for upright trays and platters, wide baking drawer) and didn't waste space. We learned there is no good countertop surface. Thought about stainless, butcher block, concrete, formica, soapstone, tile and ended up with granite which, while I fear it will become the dated avocado green of the 00s, is easy to clean, durable and I can roll dough out right on it. What luxury. We got a 10" deep double-bowl Blanco sink from ebay which I love.

    The saddest part about the process was I lost the will to cook for about two months. Everything became a chore. People kept saying use a camp stove or get an electric skillet, but without any place to prep or keep ingredients, I just gave up. The fridge was in the living room full of much-needed beer. We do have a big propane grill which we cooked meat and vegetables on, ate a lot of bread and microwaved vegetables, and learned to grill pizzas made from TJs bread dough. I hope you live in a place with good, cheap take out. We don't and could only stomach so much pizza and burritos. We learned there is no good frozen food. In a strange way, not thinking so much about food and cooking, which generally consume my life, both personally and professionally, was liberating. It freed up quite a bit of time.

    The biggest thing I learned is to really have your stuff picked out (floor, countertops, light fixtures, appliances and so on) and hopefully ordered long before demolition starts. We really tried to but things changed, stuff got late, and best laid plans.... Take the time to know what you want going in. Best of luck!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Junie D

      Killer post --- thanks! This made me very excited about getting the kitchen of my dreams.

    2. Can't help with a "reno" but we did build a home and by the time we got to the kitchen details we were about done in!! Junie D has invaluable advice. We too were over our kitchen budget and overdue! What I learned very early....the magazines all show kitchens that are big bucks. They ask you to bring in pictures of what you like and then you find out it's waaaaay over your budget. Decide on your budget first, unless it's unlimited!! Shop, shop and shop.... Have your appliances decided first (the cabinet folks need these specs before they can design). Get references about the quality of workmanship AND installation - the latter was not pleasant for us! Be strong.... :>)

      1. If you're a chowhound, my advice is to RUN from the typical face frame cabinents and "custom" face frame cabinents. When we replaced those with inexpensive prefab frameless cabinents with pull out trays, I doubled my storage and halved the time it took to put stuff away in the kitchen. Putting pull out trays in the old cabinents took half the storage away because the frame around the doors prevented my using much of the space.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Marie

          what are you talking about??

          1. re: Marie

            What pre fab Manufacturer did you find ? Did the trays come with the cabinets, or did you source those separately? TIA

          2. I just finished a kitchen renovation and found the kitchen forum at gardenweb.net (click on home forums and then kitchens) an invaluable resource.

            1. I have a pretty basic kitchen, with little counter space but blessed with a full cold pantry and a pan pantry (my house is 100 years old). The cabinetry is cheap stuff from the 1980s, and I've basically managed ad hoc. The kitchen is not pretty, and is heavily used. I designed a partial renovation several years ago, and that alone was going to cost $20-30K and take months (realistically, ignoring the lying promises and reassurances). I decided to bag the idea while the renovation market was hot (as it still is), under thinking that one should not buy high (for services or goods) unless it's a real necessity. Frankly, a pretty kitchen is not important: what's important is functionality. Actually, it's my experience that the prettier the kitchens get, the less hard use they receive. I guess my thoughts are that our grandparents made fantastic foods in kitchens far less commodious than anything we have today, so I'd rather spend the money on the chow and entertaining.

              If it means I get a slightly lower price when I sell my place, so be it. Kitchen renovations should not be about trying to increase the value of the place (studies increasingly show that on average they barely cover their costs in that regard), but what about what is the best value for your money right now.

              Just my tuppence/twopence.

              1. n
                Niki in Dayton

                We finished our complete kitchen rennovation about 1.5 years ago. Like many folks have mentioned, it took longer and cost more than we anticipated, but the bright side of that is we absolutely love our kitchen now. My friends say "you've got a cooking-show kitchen!"

                My advice is to decide on the must-haves up front. For us, that meant a Blue Star gas cooktop (18,000 BTUs, woof!), double electric wall ovens, and a separate prep sink. It also meant a design plan that included space for company to watch the kitchen preparations (while sipping wine and noshing on snacks) while we finished the meal. Our experience is that everyone ends up in the kitchen, and I was tired of folks always being in the way! We now have a huge counter that opens into the breakfast area, and 10 folks can (and have) sit there and talk to us while we cook. The third thing that was important to us was to have room for at least 3 people to work together at a time, as my husband and I and our best friend all frequently cook together for others.

                We have an older home and found that custom built cabinets were the best choice, although they're pricy. Under the island that holds the cooktop, I have pull-out shelves for my pots and pans and chose to keep that cabinet open (no doors) since it's 3 feet from the sink and dishwasher.

                We saved some money by using laminate for the counter-tops (vice granite or Corian). I wanted sinks that were flush with the counter top (no lip), to make cleanup easier. We found some Swedish sinks that are set into the laminate tops, so there is a seamless transition between the counter and the sink (like with Corian). The sinks were guaranteed not to chip, scratch, or stain for 50 years and so far, so good....

                I also recommend using a designer to help you decide on layouts, etc. They'll come up with ideas and suggestions that you may not think of on your own. A good friend of ours is a design remodelor, and the $500 we spent on having him consult with us was worth every penny.

                As far as home cooking while surviving the rennovation, we ended up with what I liked to call our "summer kitchen" but my best friend called the bubba kitchen. We moved a fridge and a propane stove onto the porch, and cooked there. We also had a grill and one of the old cabinets from the old kitchen (we tore it out down to the studs). We used a lot of paper plates, and washed pots and pans in the downstairs bathroom, which was NOT fun. In fact a few times, I heated water on the stove on the porch and washed dished in buckets rather than kneel over the tub...

                My best advice is to plan ahead, decide on what you can't live without, and be patient! It will take longer than you anticipate, and although most contractors don't *mean* to lie, they tend to be overly-optimistic on timelines. Good luck!

                2 Replies
                1. re: Niki in Dayton

                  Blue Star cooktop discussion moved here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                  1. re: Niki in Dayton

                    Hey niki. Do you rememeber the name of the sinks you used.....i am thinking of going with laminate but had the concern about the undermounted.....sink.

                    cheers.
                    rachel.

                  2. Lucky you! I love our remodeled kitchen. A few years ago my husband added a master bathroom suite, redid the hall bath and completely redid my kitchen. It took 17 months for all of it, plus my mother in law died right in the middle of this enormous project.... but I digress...

                    First, do not skimp on your appliances. I love to cook and I did a ton of research.

                    We have dakota mahogany granite counter tops (husband does marble and granite work in high end homes so this was a no brainer for us).

                    We did custom natural oak cabinets that go to the ceiling - worth every penny for the extra space for those items that you don't use every day, but use often enough that it's easier if it's in the kitchen, as opposed to some hall closet.

                    One thing I don't have that I regret is under cabinet lighting. There are so many cool choices for that now as opposed to the old fashioned type that looked ugly.

                    You can't plan enough and plan on spending twice of what you thought. Even with the bartering with friends and the fact he gets the materials at cost, we still went over budget. But, I don't regret it at all.

                    1. We remodeled our kitchen last year. DH did most of the work himself (he's an engineer, NOT involved in construction), but we hired a carpenter friend to hang the cabinets and do the finish work. I helped with some of the tear-down work. We went to bare walls/floor and replaced the range, refrigerator, and sink. We replaced the existing cabinets and countertops and added an equal amount to the other side of the kitchen. Because we did the work ourselves on OUR schedule (my husband took just 1 week off from work), the kitchen was usable again after just 2 weeks. It was another couple of weeks before EVERYTHING was done.
                      As others have said, you can't plan too much. Pick out EVERYTHING---even the door knobs---before you start your tear-out. If possible, have the appliances delivered BEFORE they go in (assuming you have a garage or other suitable place to store them). One of our few problems involved the refrigerator we bought in April to be delivered in July. Because of space considerations we had choose a 'fridge that was to be a tight fit. We spent months shopping for one that would fit PERFECTLY, then planned, ordered and installed the cabinets around the space in which it would go. Cabinets went in as planned, but THREE DAYS before the refrigerator was to be delivered, I got a call from GE telling me that they no longer made that model and that we should contact Home Depot to get our money back!!!
                      Have a REALLY good idea of what you do/don't want in your new kitchen BEFORE you speak to a designer (by the way, this service is free at places like Home Depot and Lowe's). Do YOU really want granite countertops? What's YOUR budget for an oven/stove? Do YOU want wood, vinyl or laminate floors? (We settled on cork---and I love it!) And don't be afraid to speak with several designers. Be sure they are designing the kitchen YOU WANT rather than the kitchen THEY WANT TO SELL YOU. The first designer we spoke to insisted we install an island in our kitchen (this was before she saw the existing space---or knew anything about our cooking habits). I tried to explain that the traffic pattern wouldn't allow for one---and that I really didn't want one. She became all the more insistant that I NEEDED an island and suggested we tear down and re-build one wall to "improve" the traffic pattern. I left the store in tears. Luckily, we soon found a designer with two working ears and one mouth. She was a Godsend! With her help I got EXACTLY the kitchen I wanted.
                      Planning ahead for meals during the job helps, too. While we did eat out a lot, our small town offers little that is chowworthy, so I made several of my own "frozen dinners". We moved the old refrigerator/freezer into the living room. I also have a small freezer in my basement. So, I cooked up several meals in advance and put them in individual-serving containers that went from freezer to microwave to table.
                      Remember to keep dirty dishes to a minimum, too. I don't usually use paper plates, but washing dishes in the bathtub got old FAST. As a matter of fact, one of the smartest things I did was to pack away nearly all my dishes, pots, pans, etc. before tear-down started.
                      Best of luck with your new kitchen!

                      1. We remodeled our home kitchen about ten years ago and our summer home's kitchen three years ago. Yes, it is true- costs much more than you think. We had a coffee pot, refrigerator and microwave in our basement that worked for quick and easy meals but did eat out alot.
                        We have German laquered white cabinets in both kitchens.(on eis Geba and the other is Seimatic) They are very expensive and look great- very shiny, easy to clean etc. They have brass hardware and we have a great feature- brass railing all around the counters to hang things on. Nice decorative touch also.(We ordered these from haeffle). We have a professional gas cooktop with a grill. FORGET THE GRILL. It is such a huge pain to clean I told my husband to admit me to a psych ward the next time I decide to use it. Our cooktop has a solid brass front and we have a brass professional hood (the motor is on the outside of the house) which works extremely well and is neccessary if you are doing a gas grill (don't you will be sorry).The brass is a pain as it has to be polished every week. It was made by a California co called Russell Range but I think they are no longer in business.
                        Our countertops at home as well as the sink are corian. I love it. Great stuff. However, I have a new kind of counter in our summer house called technistone which is even better. It is a kind of quartz and it does not scratch and can handle high heat. It is beautiful and a great product.
                        Our new sink in summer house is also terrific- we ordered it from Franke but it is actually made by Villerey and Boch- the people who make fine china. I am not sure what it is made of but is is a beautiful white and does not stain at all. (We originally had a white swanstone sink in our new kitchen at home and it was a nightmare- stained all the time- I spent my life bleaching it and finally replaced it with corian).
                        We have one of those new glass cooktops in our summer house- by dacor. I hate it. Everytime you put a pan on it and cook it makes black marks that take a lot of work to get out. If you can, get a gas cooktop. The glass tops are awful. beautiful to look at but awful to clean
                        I recently replaced my double wall ovens at home with new ones. Thermador electric with convection. They are very nice and I recommend them.
                        Asko dishwasher, with stainless steel interior is also terrific. Our kitchenaid refrigerator is great. Our subzero in our summer home is very noisey. We have subzero refrigerator draws in our mudroom and i love them. They look like regular draws (they match our cherry cabinets) but they are refrigerators.You can get one ref, and one freezer. If I had it to do over I would put a few sets of these draws around my kitchen instead of a refrigerator. However, they are also noisey although new (2 yrs old).
                        Good luck.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Emilief

                          Thanks for posting this. I have been lusting after an indoor grill for ages but didn't realize they were difficult to clean. I wonder if they are all that way? Some friends have a modular unit, not sure which make, with a grill that can be used in place of two burners and they say they love it. But my brother-in-law has a JennAir with a grill that never gets used, I should ask them why.

                        2. We did a total gut of our kitchen last year and it was a surprisingly good experience, given all the horror stories we'd heard. DH and I did all the design and planning ourselves -- we spent months beforehand looking at kitchens in magazines and model homes (go around to new home developments or condo sales centers for great ideas). We used IKEA's free kitchen planning software to play around with the floor plan (it's pretty easy to use and can be downloaded free from their web site). We probably went through 2 dozen layouts before we were happy with our final design.

                          I think the three keys to our successful reno experience were:

                          - Plan ahead. Have ALL of your materials picked, purchased and delivered before any of the work starts.

                          - Get a really, really good contractor. Ours was amazing. Because they did the bulk of the work themselves (only subcontracted out electrical and plumbing), there were no delays due to waiting on the sub-trades or materials. They were always there early, worked hard and cleaned up at the end of each day. The quote they gave us was totally detailed (down to the number of lightbulbs to be installed and the number of coats of drywall compound they would put on), so there were very clear expectations and there were no surprises at the end of the job. They were also great about recommending slight tweaks to our design that turned out to be great decisions.

                          - Be around during the reno. Because we both work from home, we were always there to answer questions or make decisions as issues came up. This avoided a LOT of potential delays.

                          The estimate our contractor gave us was 4 - 5 weeks and they were spot on, which totally amazed us, given the amount of work that was done.

                          We ended up buying IKEA cabinets (1/3 the cost of the custom cabinets we were quoted) and are completely and utterly thrilled with them. Our contractor was really impressed with the quality of the construction and the hardware and said that the hardware was the same as in the custom cabinets he's installed in the past. No one can believe that our cabinets are from IKEA (btw, the internal fittings for the drawers are really great). However, I think part of that comes from the fact that everything else we bought was pretty nice: espresso-stained Brazilian redwood floors, 1.5" granite counters, Italian glass lighting, and upper mid-range stainless steel appliances (Miele dishwaster, Dacor cooktop, Jenn-air double convection oven, LG french-door fridge).

                          I really recommend putting pot drawers in place of most if not all lower cabinets. If you choose to have lower cabinets, install slide out shelves. Drawers and slide-out shelves are incredibly convenient storage because you can access items in the back of the drawer without moving the items in front. We've put all of our plates and bowls into one drawer using the peg fittings from IKEA. All the other drawers have flexible dividers to divide up the space into usable compartments for containers, bakeware, etc.

                          I would also caution you against islands. I find they just get in the way and you're constantly walking around them (our original kitchen had one and we HATED it).

                          And yes, we ended up spending a lot more than we planned. But we are thrilled with the end result. We went from a totally non-functional kitchen where just one person could work (and still get frustrated) to a gorgeous kitchen where 3 or 4 people can work comfortably and efficiently.

                          Good luck and enjoy your kitchen planning!

                          1. The sequence in which things are installed is really important.

                            If, despite your best intentions, you are not able to get all your materials selected before you start, GIVE YOURSELF TIME to make decisions and do not let your contractor rush you into making rash decisions on the spot. Better to extend the schedule and get the special order color or knobs you really want.

                            We are in the middle of our renovation, and wish we found the GardenWeb.com forum for Kitchen renovations earlier. Excellent reviews on products & cabinet supplier.

                            Be prepared to start & stop many times to wait for carpenters, plumbers, electricians to be available as each person takes their turn.

                            After planning our dream cabinet layout, we saved $2,000 simply by adjusting a few cabinet widths a little bit to standard sizes instead of custom.

                            Good luck!

                            1. Give the folks at MyHome a call. They do excellent work. Free consultation. They take care of everything...labor + appliances, flooring, counter tops...everything. Best of all, the same crew shows up EVERYDAY and you have a project manager who is extremely responsible and aware of every aspect of your job. Depending on what work you need...we had a gut renovation...it took 2-1/2 weeks.

                              Old refrig was in the living room. Microwave in the bedroom. You learn to cope. The outcome is truly worth it.

                              www.myhomeus.com
                              Great website with tons of before and after pix.

                              Good luck.

                              1. When we renovated our 100-year old house in New Orleans 8 years ago, I had that same thought mentioned above about granite counters becoming outdated before too long. Plus, I really don't like the "speckled" look of granite. We went with tile, because I love it and because I think it's timeless. We added a long steel table from a restaurant supply store in place of an island, and the result was that hot things could be set down anywhere in the kitchen. It was wonderful. Much of our storage was on steel racks, and we converted an old coat closet into a pantry. I miss that kitchen. (By the way, we left pre-Katrina and our house is still there, relatively undamaged.)

                                1. Brooklyn, The previous posters are right about purchasing your cabinets, appliances, hardware, etc in advance. Do some research. I saved a ton of money at www.designerplumbing.com
                                  Also check out epinions.com about appliances. (I strongly suggest you avoid GE appliances.) I found the the local, high end appliance stores will really deal on floor display inventory. (I saved $500 on my range hood alone.) As mentioned, get under counter lighting. I found suppliers of restored, turn of the century lighting that were priced only slightly higher than the poor quality lighting from box stores and lighting shops. Finally, along with a good kitchen designer, find a marriage counselor both you and your husband have faith in. You'll need him...

                                  1. We are in the midst of a renovaton right now - tripling the size of our kitchen -

                                    first and foremost, all seems to be a theme of many posters is do your research - not only in materials but but also who is going to help you with the remodeling - not knowing much about kitchens we looked for a kitchen contractor first - we used angie's list (www.angieslist.com) was great in helping us narrow down our choices. check the references and hopefully they are some people that you know- once you have selected a designer - compare what they are quoting if they are decent they should be in line with other places maybe with a slight markup - ours turned out to be cheaper than Home Depots design expo - so far ours is about 4 weeks ahead of schedule - knock on wood! For overall knowledge, I found consumer reports web site (www.comsumerreports.com) to be very helpful in learning about different materials, appliances for a kitchen remodel.

                                    Second choose what are the essentials - because there will be surprises so you might have to cut back on the items that are nice to have

                                    And lastly if you are staying in the house prepare for your life to be turned upside down -

                                    now in terms of materials - we used semi-custom cabinets, withe silestone countertop and kitchenaid appliances -

                                    1. All the advice so far is sound - I'd like to add two other important considerations (as an architect, I've done a few kitchen remodelings): first of all, keep the working positions (stove, refrigerator, sink) in a fairly tight triangle in plan. There is such a thing as too big a kitchen. You'll be really irritated using ypur kitchen if, for example, you have to walk too far to the sink to wash the vegetables you just took out of the refrigerator. Second, I can't emphasize too much the importance of adequate electrical service. Major appliances should all be on their own dedicated 20 amp circuits. 100 amps total in the kitchen is not too much.

                                      1. Just wanted to say that all of these posts were so informative and interesting to read! My husband and I are in the process of buying our first house, and if we get the one we want (fingers crossed!) the kitchen will need a total renovation-- it has ugly white particleboard cabinets, black appliances, and tile counters, none of which are to my liking (plus, as trained chef, tile countertops are a nightmare!). I've already been fantasizing about sinks and counter surfaces and cabinet design, but it's good to get a realistic view of what renovation is really like. I'll be bookmarking this post for future reference when we're ready to pull out the sledgehammer!

                                        1. the other posters have captured many thoughtful items. it will take more time and cost more money thaN you expect should be your mantra.

                                          couple of tips from the ones we have done and my DW has consulted on (yup i am lucky married to a designer).

                                          cooktop - we went with a viking six burner with downdraft. not as good as updraft but in the island with stuctural limitations above. when testing look at the simmer mode as well as the big burner. think rice not sautee when looking.

                                          dishwasher - think quiet. we went for a miele over all the domestic brands. friends have bosch. we can literally have a conversation and not hear it. for the first two months i went over and put my ear on it to see if it was working.

                                          wall ovens - we have ge monogram line (made by bosch). like dacor better. check where the exhaust is. GE on top, dacor on bottom. my DW is 5' and the GE blows right in her face, hates it. also takes way too long to pre-heat.

                                          fridge - if in the budget go for the same depth as the cabinets, its amazing how much that makes a difference. GE (we have) is great and others swear by SubZ

                                          MV - we bought a GE monogram again and the door opens down. We placed it in the center island next to the cook top. love it there.

                                          compactor - everyone buys from one manufacturer

                                          countertop - go for stone, whether granite, marble or sandstone. make sure you seal it weekly for a few months.

                                          Cabinets - you get what you pay for, full stop. hire a good kitchen designer and ask if they have their own crew or subcontract.

                                          DO NOT PAY THE WHOLE TAB AT DELIVERY. Always hold back at least 10%. Things happen. For every dollar you spend there is a story from someone. I could give you a dozen from my jobs and my DW could give you 10x the stories.

                                          Best advice though is relax. Things will go wrong and you need to keep a level head when dealing with the contractor. most will tell you anything just to get the job done. THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND. THEY WANT YOUR MONEY AND MOVE ONTO THE NEXT GIG.

                                          1. Here is a cool feature I saw in a new kitchen: a floor pedal to operate the sink faucet. How cool is that when you have raw chicken all over your hands and you don't want to touch that faucet handle? I plan to put the same thing in my kitchen when rennovation time rolls around

                                            1. big ditto on the footpedals. you really can't imagine how handy they are.

                                              1. Been there, done that. Drive you crazy. Sold our house, contracted complete renovation of a condo we'd owned for some years. Moved into our RV, figured three months.

                                                Took eight.

                                                Most of the money went into the kitchen, as we both like to cook. All we had to work with was a 8' x 13' galley kitchen. Hired a good designer who'd done a kitchen for our older son's addition to his house. She is really good. Packed that sucker with more cabinet, drawer, and upright storage space than I could have imagined. Our younger son was running a cabinet shop at the time, so we really had a leg up, and I went there and made some of the cabinets myself, as well as most of the new furniture for the condo.

                                                What we learned-

                                                Good designer first and foremost. Do intensive apliance/fixture shopping and- unless your designer or contractor will let you take advantage of their professional discounts, hit the Internet. I especially recommend

                                                www.homeclick.com

                                                for many of the appliances and fixtures involved.

                                                we also got all of the Grohe faucets for the whole place at

                                                www.faucet.com

                                                for a lot of plumbing stuff.

                                                On that note, while Grohe is pretty stylish, they are astonishingly complicated. I had to put in a modification to a shower control, and was astonished at how many pieces there were in the thing. I've done quite a bit of work with faucets, in my career in real estate, and I think next time I would go with some stylish Delta models. They're mostly simple and easy to maintain. The Grohe, I have to say, has been reliable for a couple of years. If they perform well, it doesn't maybe matter if they're over-complicated.

                                                Another note- we went with a GE Profile smooth-top cooktop. (We couldn't have gas- life in a condo.) It's totally cool, appearance-wise, but a real pain to cook on. My son the engineer says it has a very high thermal inertia factor. Slow to heat up and slow to cool down. You can't tell what the h*** you're running at at any given moment. I even bought an infra-red no-contact thermometer, but it's not much help. We're not really happy with it. But, it DOES look really cool.

                                                Oh, and yeah- it's a pain to keep clean. Any slops, spills, or splatters tend to vulcanize themselves onto the glass top as it gets hot, so you've got to be meticulous on cleaning it off every time you use it, including using a special plastic abrasive pad with a special slightly-abrasive liquid - sort of a runny toothpaste - and a razor scraper for stubborn glots of stuff.

                                                But, IT LOOKS REALLY COOL- black glass on our black granite countertop.

                                                I keep telling myself that.

                                                The internet again- hardware is also available if you Google and look around other places. We got a lot of hinges, knobs, locksets and the like at Clark & Barlow, a high-end hardware outlet in Chicago - this is NOT Home Depot - until I realized I could usually get the same stuff online for half the price.

                                                You need to do some shopping and then check it out on the Internet.

                                                A big kitchen remodel is kind of fun, if you don't lose your mind before it's finished.

                                                Good luck.

                                                Mike

                                                1. I am a contractor who happens to love food . So kitchen renovations are kinda my favorite thing of all . First , did you hire an architect or a designer ? Proceed with caution here , many " designers " are nothing more than cabinet salespeople who work on commission and will sell you every upgrade under the sun with little or no regard to how it will actually fit ( literally ) into your house . So , if you are doing it yourself , good luck , you're gonna need it . If you are hiring someone , do your research and find a dependable , established , reccommended guy or company . Next , whatever your current budget is , increase it by about %20 . You may think you know exactly what you want , and up to now , you do , but you have yet to talk to the veritable army of qualified , knowledgeable , passionate , tradespeople that will soon fill your house with dust and opinions . Trust me , the guys who work in the field are the most knowledgeable about what is hot , trendy , and just plain cool . After all , we install it every day . Oftentimes installers have far better ideas for space usage than a designer , but we are happy to work with them . I think the most important thing is that it's your money , and you should never feel uncomfortable stating your opinion or putting your foot down . You are the one who is gonna have to live and cook there for at least ( in most cases ) a few years , so make sure you get what you want . I can say that as a carpenter one of my least favorite experiences is to spend six months busting my butt to build a new kitchen for someone and at the end , hear them say " yeah , it's OK , I wish we would have done this or that different " . Arrghhh ! I could have ! Communucation throughout the whole process is key . We really want you to love your new kitchen , work with us to make that happen . Any way good luck , and stay well clear of Home Depot .

                                                  1. We are still in the process and our cabinets were ordered 4/3/06. I would emphatically advise hiring a kitchen planner. Everyone else you will talk to is a salesperson looking out for their own interests. The planner will tie all the pieces together and is well worth the cost, especially when you consider the huge expense of the project. I wish I had!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: skidaway

                                                      you had an excellent kitchen planner and without cost but you failed to heed his advice. so by all means hire someone expensive! i suppose overpaying is the only way to have people value things in our world. how sad..............grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

                                                    2. One regret from a great (but expensive) experience: That I settled for the exhaust fan built into the microwave. It's just not nearly powerful enough to handle cast-iron frying of steaks and the like.