Friday, 15 January 2021

Ins and outs and roughing-in: kitchen renovations

Published Aug 7, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 6, 2018 at 8:54 pm)

  • Finished product: kitchen renovations can be completed for as little as $1,000

    Finished product: kitchen renovations can be completed for as little as $1,000

Dear Heather,

I want to renovate my kitchen. Where do I start? What do I do? How much will it cost?

Reno Newbie

Dear Reno Newbie,

Sarah Perry, an interior designer with CTX Design Group, advises that after an initial consultation with an interior designer to discuss your ideas, an appointment to look at the kitchen would be arranged.

Typically this would only involve the interior designer, although an architectural designer might be brought in if the renovation was large and needed walls removed. CTX has four interior designers and a buyer who deals with the logistics of ordering from overseas.

Their interior designers typically assist with anything that needs cabinetry — TV rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, bars, playrooms, etc. They make suggestions and discuss ideas and, whilst they encourage people to use local businesses for their products, some are set on bringing in products which are only available from overseas.

Bear in mind timing: products from the US can usually be brought in between three and eight weeks; products from Europe take ten to twelve weeks.

If you are looking at a speedy refurbish, it is much more time efficient to buy locally. It pays to also think about work timeframes — tiling is usually done first, countertops and appliances usually go in last.

The actual process for a kitchen renovation goes like this (I love some of these terms!):

Everything is removed and taken away, usually by a local contractor. A plumber and electrician are usually called in to assess and upgrade electrical and plumbing as needed. The “demo” sometimes reveals repairs needed that you may not have been aware of. Then a contractor fits the “rough-ins” (pipes, conduit and wires) in place, “slugs it up” (fills with plaster) and finishes the walls. Typically, this is where Sarah’s work would begin.

Paint choices go on, floors are tiled, cabinetry goes in, back splashes are put up, countertops put on, fixtures are put in, faucets installed and hardware is put on cabinets.

Ideally, it’s better to have cabinets fitted in an air-conditioned environment as it allows them to acclimatise to our humidity better. Hiring an interior designer can be extremely helpful as they already have relationships with suppliers and vendors here and abroad and they know which companies offer good, solid products and are reliable.

They are also tuned in to new ideas, new lines and new companies and use their design expertise to marry all the products together.

How much will it cost? Price varies widely depending on whether the work is cosmetic or it’s a full gut job; size of space and level of finish are additional factors. I’d budget from as little as $1,000 — to repaint cabinets, change hardware and lighting and backsplash — on up. Every project is individually priced and there are options for every budget. The sky’s the limit.

Will it add value to your house? Usually, if the renovations keep within the style of the house and are reasonably neutral, they will balance out or improve the value of your home.

Sarah noted that if you are asking yourself whether or not you can afford a design specialist to assist you, ask a few people who have done their own installations how they got on.

Sometimes she is called in to help “put things right” after the fact. As she puts it, it’s not really whether you can afford to, it’s about whether you can afford not to. Mistakes can be costly and stressful. There are a number of excellent interior design companies in Bermuda. I advise you to do your research and find a designer that you are comfortable with.

Heather Chilvers is among Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty’s leading sales representatives. She has been working in real estate for nearly 30 years. Contact her at or 332-1793. All questions will be treated in confidence. Look for Ask Heather Real Estate on Facebook


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