Over the course of building a house, you learn things. That your husband likes dark cabinets and you like light ones. That he doesn't like wood flooring in the kitchen because he knows someday your dishwasher will leak and destroy your floor (he's a wise one, that guy), and that maybe you two are a good team because you can compromise and get light cabinets with a tile floor.
Besides learning to compromise, we found out some things that I wish I would have know about the first time I built a kitchen about 18 years ago:
1) There are a lot of designers out there that don't charge you one penny to help design your kitchen if you buy the flooring and lighting, etc. through them. Now, if you are like me and hear the word, 'designer', you automatically run away. I'm thinking, hey designer lady, I buy 90% of my stuff at TJ Maxx and Homegoods (Oh HomeGoods, I love you) and there's no way I'm going to pay designer prices. BUT I was pleasantly surprised to learn that some designers have many different price points. A designer helped us with colors, flooring and any question we had and it was all INCLUDED in the price we paid her for the flooring and lighting. It was also nice to have some choices shown to us that we wouldn't have known about otherwise.
2) I can't speak for everyone's experience, but hubby and I bought scratch and dent appliances off of Ebay with free shipping and warranties included and they have worked perfectly. The appliances I wanted were not in the budget UNTIL I found this place. I wish I still had the name of the business but I remember it was in Florida and I had the seller email me all the warranty information ahead of time so I could check it out. The 'scratches' and 'dents' were all on the sides or places where you wouldn't be able to see them anyway and you would never know there was anything going on with these guys. The only drawback I could find was that even with the scratch and dent cheaper prices, a cabinet front refrigerator is still a higher price than a stainless steel fridge. I don't get it. I mean you are literally buying a fridge with NO FRONT on it and having the front made at your own expense and it still costs more. Say what??? They are also a tiny bit tricky to install, which I believe is included when you buy the fridge in the traditional manner, but obviously no little man is going to shoot through the internet from Ebay and install yours, so good times.
3) I'm not sure if this is all cabinetmakers or if we just lucked out, but there were several features I requested of our cabinetmaker AFTER he quoted us a price and he included all but a couple in with the original price of the cabinets. Say whaaatttt? Hooray!
Pull out sliders on either side of the stovetop and on either side of the sink were both included!
Also included was the extra deep drawer made to look like two shallow drawers (above) and the pull out shelves (shown below) which are in all the lower cabinets.
And now for my favorite thing in the kitchen......
A utensil drawer. Yes, I'm a nerd. In my old kitchen, I had one utensil container, bucket, whatever you want to call it, sitting at the stovetop. It was so full that every single time I would pull out a spatula or whatever, every single utensil would fall out. Grrrrr. And then the utensil drawer came into my life.
I love you, utensil drawer.
It's simply a pull out drawer built like a box with three holes cut into the top where the three canisters sit. Although I am pretty horrible with tools, I'm picturing that this could be easily made in any cabinet with a pull out drawer feature.
Ironically, the two items I paid extra for (darn you, Pinterest!) are just okay. I had to pay a little extra to get drawers under the sink. The Pinterest version shows two full drawers under the sink. By the time the plumbing, disposal, etc was accounted for under the deep farm sink, I just had this much space left for the top drawer:
The height of both bottom and top drawers are just ok, but not tall enough for dishwashing detergent or other cleaning supplies you'd normally keep under the sink, so it's just not worth the extra money if the room is limited.
The second item was the corner drawers, shown above. Again, they are ok, but there is a lot of wasted space back there in the corner. I'm really too clumsy for a lazy Susan (you know I'm going to knock something off back there and then have to stick my hand in that black hole area where I always wonder what's going to grab me from in there). The drawers are shaped weird but if you don't need the extra space the corner provides, then go for it. Really, the best thing these drawers are for are for freaking people out when you ask someone to open one and they get more than they expected. Hehe
4) Open shelving was something that was also included in the cabinet price and I have been pleasantly surprised that I have liked this. I don't like clutter and I'm not great at decorating shelves. Or dusting shelves. The more I think about it, shelves are not my friend. But these guys rate up there because they make it very convenient to grab frequently used items. I just keep decorative items up there as well so when I take down some dishes to use it doesn't look like something's off or it's empty. The downside is the Bear comes along and drinks Koolaid out of my grandmother's decorative teacups. Sigh. 😂
This is my first time having an island. It's about 4' X 7' which I have found to be a great size, no wasted space in the middle. Maybe some day we'll even get bar stools, lol.
A couple of other things before I head out: I once had a gas stovetop with a downdraft vent. The draft from the vent affected the flame I was cooking with and it was very frustrating. This time around I went with gas again but made sure to get an overhead vent. Also, I took a rough inventory of all my kitchen items and made sure I had a place to put everything in the new kitchen. Anything that was just taking up too much space that I hardly used I got rid of and thankfully I haven't missed those items at all. Lastly, although I don't have any, I would seriously consider IKEA cabinets if there is a next time around. I've heard so many good reviews about them and they seem very reasonably priced.
I hope this helps give those of you remodeling or building a new kitchen some ideas and maybe even save some money. If you have some other tips, please put them in the comments section for all of us to use!