Howick and Pakuranga Times
Botany and Ormiston Times : Howick and Botany Times, Wednesday, August 29, 2013
Your guide to renovating and building DESIGN & BUILD www.times.co.nz A Times Newspapers Supplement, August 2013 --- 9 In this special feature we ask Malcolm McLagan, owner of local kitchen company Jag Kitchens, for tips on how to make the whole kitchen process as cost-effective and stress-free as possible. Where should I start? Seek as much inspiration as possible to help you form concrete ideas of what you want from a kitchen. Visit kitchen showrooms, browse through the latest kitchen magazine Trends, explore kitchen websites, or even compile a scrapbook or virtual board of favourite kitchen designs. These can all help paint a clearer picture of what is required. When it comes to your existing kitchen, jot down features that need to stay, those that need to go, and what frustrates. Be ruthless with the elimination process. For finer details, compile a wish list or a list of comparisons. For example: underbench oven vs. an eye level oven; standard fridge vs. double door ice-maker and dish drawers vs. traditional dishwasher. What is the likely cost and are there likely to be hidden extras? Kitchens can range from $8,000 to upwards of $50,000. However, before setting your budget it's important to first consider these factors: Size: How big is the actual area of the kitchen? Type of material required: The type of material used for the cabinets and benchtop can have a significant bearing on cost as can extra features. Quite often, two kitchens of identical layout and size can be at two ends of the price scale due to materials. Building work: How much is required? Spaces may need to be opened and rearranged, so don't forget to factor in materials, gib stopping and other building costs. There's also the cost of plumbing, electrical and gas fittings to consider. It's important to take into account the full cost of all contributing factors as opposed to just the cost of the kitchen itself. How do I decide who to talk to? Because there are many companies and experts, it can be difficult to choose the one who will offer the most valuable advice and is also a personal 'fit'. But experience accounts for a lot. Look for an experienced designer with good knowledge of product, design and material ranges. Look for good design practice -- your requirement is a kitchen first and foremost. Sure, it has to look good, but it's absolutely paramount that it works well as a kitchen. Perceiving the practicality of a design is aided considerably when a company offers 3D representations of kitchen designs made possible with Computer Aided Design. Good designers also need to be able to visualise or point out potential problems before the kitchen is built. There will always be a significant difference in designers' skill levels. But companies that specialise in kitchens and kitchens only will often have more experience and knowledge than companies that are spread across the general home improvement arena. Modular or custom-sized? Modular kitchens are kitchens composed of standard-sized components such as drawers and cabinets that are mass-produced. While they help save money, these components will quite often leave extra space which will have to be corrected with filler panels. On the other hand, custom-sized kitchens are built to fit, utilising the entire space and generally looking better. In terms of pricing, modular is more affordable, but not by a huge mile. There used to be a big difference in price as a lot more labour was required in a customised kitchen. Thankfully, with computer design software and technology, a custom- sized kitchen is now priced at only a small premium over the price of a modular kitchen. Another point to note, is, modular kitchen cabinetry will stop well short of ceiling height, whereas custom- sized kitchens can have cabinetry right up to the ceiling to provide extra storage. Should I manage the project myself or should the kitchen company handle it all -- will it cost more? Managing the project yourself has many perks -- the biggest being cost saving. But this is only true for dedicated DIY enthusiasts who know what they are doing and are capable of doing a lot of the work themselves. For the average home owner, it won't cost much more to use the kitchen company's installers and tradespeople over contracting their own builders, plumbers and electricians. There is also less likelihood of inconsistencies such as lateness or not turning up on the day -- in other words, it will be better co-ordinated, simpler and more efficient. What materials should I use for the cabinets and benchtops and how should I decide? As mentioned, materials can impact costs significantly, so it pays to choose the right type of material. In doing so, there are two factors to consider: Lifestyle and purpose of the kitchen: A family with active children or those with a rental property will require more durability from their kitchen than a couple whose children have left the nest. A good, practical, well-designed kitchen with lower cost materials will work just as well as a kitchen with high end, designer materials. Material choice will determine the durability. Quality of materials: The most important thing that extends the life of a kitchen is the type of board the cabinets are made from and the hardware used. A large percentage of kitchen companies, and all modular kitchen suppliers construct their cabinetry using Particle Board, which swell when exposed to excess moisture and spillage. A small percentage of manufacturers use higher quality, moisture resistant MDF. So an important question to ask is if the cabinets are made from Particle Board, or High Moisture Resistant MDF which is waterproofed and will not swell. The quality of hinges, drawer runners and pull-out mechanisms shouldn't be forgotten either. Given that they keep the kitchen working every day, a substantial warranty is essential. Companies with reliable, 10-year warranties or transferable warranties will offer invaluable peace of mind that your kitchen will last. How do I make a decision? After multiple plans and quotes, it's always tough making the final decision. Even if you've been shown a 3D representation of what your kitchen will look like before it is built, you're still paying, largely, for a concept at that stage. What you're really relying on is for the company to deliver and install the kitchen as promised. Therefore, it boils down to references and how comfortable you feel with the people you are entrusting your kitchen to. If price and design is similar, you need to ask for references from previous customers to help you make your decision -- it's an emotional decision after all. A new kitchen is something you do only once or twice in your lifetime so it is a big deal. What are the best appliances and how much do they cost? While most kitchen companies aren't experts on appliances, they should be able to offer adequate feedback from previous clients and be able to say which appliances have the fewest warranty claims. You should do some research through a specialist appliance retailer. Thankfully, there are reasonably priced packages for most budgets -- it's possible to get an oven, hob and rangehood package for as little as $1500. Of course, there's a higher cost involved when it comes to top- end European appliances. What about council approval? If there are no structural changes to the house, you will not need permits or consents. All internal, non-structural (non load-bearing) walls can usually be altered or removed without council permission but if considering major changes it pays to talk to a qualified builder. Will a new kitchen add value to my home? If people spend a sensible amount of money in relation to the value of their house, they should recoup more than that when they eventually sell. It's important not to over capitalise the value of a moderately priced house by spending too much on kitchen renovations. Conversely, there is a certain buyer expectation for more expensive homes to feature appropriate materials that are in keeping with the rest of the house. For example, you can get away with a laminate benchtop in houses of up to $600,000, but if you put that same top into a million dollar home, many would baulk at the idea. I have already talked to a number of kitchen companies but have received conflicting advice. Who is correct? It's important to deal with a company with access to a full range of materials as that's where expertise lies. The appropriate advice in terms of materials should also be expected. For example, a painted kitchen won't be suitable if you have toddlers because the paint chips easily. So, stay away from companies that offer only painted kitchens -- you may need an alternative for your family's lifestyle. It's important to be wary of hidden agendas. Is the company you are sourcing your kitchen from tied to a specific manufacturer? If you suspect this, make sure they back their recommendations with valid reasons and try asking for different materials to gauge their response. For more information on how best to replace your kitchen or for kitchen examples, go to www.jagkitchens. co.nz or drop into the showroom to speak to the friendly, professional team at Jag Kitchens. All you need to know about kitchen remodelling Thinking of renovating and planning to install a new kitchen? Maybe you have already started the process and are finding it all rather daunting? Perhaps you want to replace a tired, old kitchen but just don't know where to start. Whether you are thinking of a major renovation or simply planning to replace an existing kitchen, do contact Jag Kitchens. Their showroom is open seven days or a visit to their website will give you lots of information and photographs.
Howick and Botany Times, Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Howick and Botany Times Wednesday September 4