Cabinet & Countertop Inspirations

Given the limited number of times a person completes a kitchen remodel, it is difficult to understand and budget for these projects.  Here are ten steps to help you manage spending for a kitchen remodel.

  1. Establish a budget and keep it.  
    • At the beginning of the project, determine how much you can afford to spend.
    • Consider how long you plan to remain in your house. If you plan to move within five years, only spend what you can expect to recover when you sell the house.  If you will remain in the house for more than five years, be willing to do a remodel that will make your family most comfortable.
    • Understand the home values in your neighborhood. Don’t over-improve.
  2. Understand the break-down of costs.  A general rule of thumb is:
    • ​Cabinets: 35%
    • Labor: 20%
    • Appliances: 20%
    • Fixtures: 5%
    • Fittings/Other: 20%
  3. Plan for the unexpected. There are surprises in almost every remodeling project … for example, finding out-of-date wiring behind drywall. A rule of thumb is to set 20% aside to handle contingencies and surprises.
  4. Prioritize your desires. Write down your priorities so if unexpected costs hit your budget, you can stay focused on getting the most important items on your list. When setting your priorities, don’t forget to consider important goodies like crown molding or a fancy faucet. These are an important part of a project’s overall look and functionality.
  5. How will you pay for the project? There are a variety of means to pay for a kitchen remodel. These include cash, refinancing your home, or a home equity loan.  Understand the pros/cons of each option to ensure choosing the one that best fits your situation.
  6. Should I stay or should I go? Living in a home that is being remodeled can be stressful. Make a conscious decision on whether to stay in the home or live somewhere else during the renovation. It may be a good time to get take a vacation to avoid some of the remodeling stress. If you stay, consider setting up a temporary kitchen in another room in the house.
  7. Reservations. With the kitchen being out of the commission, you will likely eat out more than typical. Plan for this in the remodeling budget.
  8. Track your budget. Create a spreadsheet, or whatever works best for you, to track your budget and actual expenses. This will help you quickly see if there are any overruns starting to happen, allowing you to manage it.
  9. Sweat equity. You may want to consider doing some of the work yourself.  This may help reduce the cost of the overall project.  However, if you take on some of the work, you will need to hit schedule deadlines.
  10. Avoid scope creep. Over the course of the project, you may be tempted to add “extras”. Adding options in the middle of the project is a great way to overspend your budget. Don’t be rigid, but be willing to say “no” if it does not fit with your key priorities and budget.

Feel free to contact us for help in planning your remodel and achieving your project's objectives.

With today's busy lifestyles, microwave ovens are an important and frequently used kitchen appliance. Microwaves come in four basic designs ... portable, microwave/hood combination, built-in microwave, and drawer microwave. Determining the best microwave for your kitchen or remodeling project needs to balance a number of factors, including cost, convenience, usage, and aesthetics.

Portable microwaves are very common and are designed to be placed on countertops, portable carts, or on shelves in the kitchen cabinetry. A countertop microwave is typically inexpensive, requires no installation, and can be placed almost anywhere in the kitchen. On the downside, its countertop placement takes up valuable "real estate" in the kitchen, reducing space for food preparation or cleanup


A microwave/hood combination is another common choice. This appliance combines the microwave and venting into a single appliance. This type of appliance is installed over the range or cooktop ... an example is pictured below. This choice is very convenient as the microwave is close to the range, the typical cooking location. By locating the appliance on the wall, it eliminates the need to dedicate countertop space, creating a larger work space. From a negative perspective, they can be difficult for shorter cooks and kids to use and require reaching over the stove, a potentially dangerous situation if the stove is in use. 


Many remodeling projects are using a built-in microwave combined with a wall oven to create the look of double ovens (pictured below). Newer technology allows the microwave to also cook/bake like a normal oven.  It just has a reduced capacity. This provides the benefit of two ovens and the convenience of a microwave.  From a design perspective, this solution provides  a very attractive look and helps maximize counter space. This option is more expensive than the countertop or microwave/hood combination models.


More recently, drawer microwaves are becoming popular. This microwave is located in based cabinets, opens like a drawer and loads from the top. As a result, they can be located in numerous spots in the kitchen, making it easy to match location with how the appliance is used. Under counter placement may improve convenience and accessibility for shorter cooks. This newer technology tends to be the most expensive.

Installing a kitchen island is an excellent remodeling project to improve the functionality of your kitchen and add unique design elements to your home. The island can be as simple or elaborate as you desire. Larger kitchens can have multiple islands serving a number of purposes.



To ensure the island is designed and located correctly, it is important to consider how the island will be used. Islands provide additional storage in the kitchen, serve as a buffet for large meals or entertaining, create incremental countertop/food preparation space, or establish an area for specific tasks, such as baking. In a number of instances, the island incorporates additional appliances, including cooktops, undercounter microwaves, or wine storage. Many islands have an informal eating space for snacks, breakfasts, or quick meals. Understanding your needs will make the island as functional as possible.



There are a number of items to consider in planning an island addition. The first step is determining if there is sufficient room for an island. Kitchen design guidelines suggest having 36" to 42" walkways between the island and perimeter cabinets. This facilitates movement around the island and ensures the ability to open/close appliance doors. The island also needs to fit with the kitchen's current work flow/work triangle. An easy way to check fit is to lay out the island's shape using masking tape or boxes. The tape/boxes can be adjusted to deal with any shortcomings. If appliances are included in the island, you will need to understand the implications of running electricity/gas to the island. This can be more challenging when the foundation is a concrete slab.  Typically, local building codes require that electric be run to the island.


From a design perspective, the island can be very simple or serve as a focal point for the kitchen. The options are virtually endless. Cabinets and countertops can be chosen to blend with the existing design, or provide a constrasting look using a different style/finish. The island can be designed in a single height, or multiple heights, creating additional interest. A higher level bar top can provide seating at the island and help shield food preparation and clean-up from the adjacent living space.



A well designed island will be a valuable addition to your home and increase the enjoyment and functionality of your kitchen.



"I am in love with my new kitchen and The KitchenWright played a huge part in that. I had specific ideas and they educated me and made it happen. They knew what I wanted and seamlessly made decisions based on that. I've had other contractors try to pass things by on me, thinking I wouldn't know the difference, but in this case they anticipated issues and fixed them before they were permanent. They were a delight to work with. My kitchen even made the Facebook page! Thanks for making this a great experience!"
-Gretchen C.

"Thanks so much for your help and input! We love our “refreshed” kitchen now. I really enjoyed working with you and have already given your card to a friend!"
-Arden E.

"They did a fabulous job. They were real professionals, it was the type of job that I could leave them alone and not worry about my house."
-Ed R.