The Remodeling a Kitchen Diary: Dreaming Stage

Redoing your kitchen is a big deal. Before you start, it helps to dream a little.

The kitchen. The heart of a home. The one room where everyone agrees an upgrade adds the most value to your home. But it’s also one of the most daunting and expensive things a homeowner can do. This will be the first in a series of blog posts as I share firsthand what are the real life questions, answers and drama that goes into remodeling a kitchen.

My wife and I have been in our home for about 10 years and we knew when we bought the place that the kitchen would need to be redone. Plenty of cabinet space, but the design was old. The tile needed to be updated and while it fit our needs when we bought it, 4 boys later we need some more storage space for the 13 boxes of cereal that are currently taking up all our storage.

The first stage of a kitchen remodel is very similar to that of buying a home. You start with a dream. Eventually that dreams gets me with reality which then starts you journey through the stages of depression. Before you get there dreaming of a kitchen is really an exciting time.

Having just closed out that dreaming stage I came to realize a few tips that might help you as you consider what to do.

Pinterest is your new best friend when remodeling a kitchen.
My wife is a big Pinterest user. Me? Not so much. But when you’re looking for great kitchen designs, Pinterest is an amazing resource. You can start searching for different kitchen styles, color schemes, and even appliances to find images that can spark some ideas for your own kitchen remodel. Sure you could look through magazines or a site like Houzz to get ideas, but what I love about Pinterest is the ability to organize those images into boards.

My wife created Pinterest boards by color scheme. A board for gray cabinets. A board for dark wood look. A board for a blue and brown color scheme. Then we saw something, either on Pinterest or elsewhere, we could simply pin that image to the appropriate board for viewing later. What this did was give us a somewhat fairly organized look at the styles and layouts we liked best, which then helps in future stages when working with designers as they have easy reference to looks that you already like. If you want to start dreaming about a new kitchen, go to Pinterest.

Think beyond your current layout.
If this is the dreaming stage, you gotta dream a little bit. Often times we limit our thinking to what we currently see and experience, but now is the time to dream big. Want to move the oven? Go ahead. Think you might like the dishwasher on the other side of the room? Why not. What you’ll find when we get to some of our next phases of remodeling a kitchen is that the cost for doing these things doesn’t really impact the price of a remodel unless you’re adding something that does not exist. Look at kitchens you see online and determine if their layout is something you would aspire to have in your own kitchen. Go ahead. Dream a little.

After online dreaming, visit your local Home Depot, Lowes or kitchen design store.
Online dreaming is great, but you also want to get a sense of what things look like in person. Take a Saturday and bounce from Home Depot to Lowes to your local kitchen design store to see what options are out there. Bring your smartphone or tablet with you so you can reference stuff you’ve saved on Pinterest and compare the digital to reality. You may find out that you actually like a quartz countertop over a granite one. Or that the dark gray cabinets, don’t look as nice as you thought. You’ll also start to get a sense of this new language that is used for kitchen redesign and familiarize yourself with various styles. When you’ve had enough of looking at kitchen showrooms, regroup later and compare what you liked in the stores to what your thoughts were online. Do you still like the same styles? Did a different color cabinet catch your eye? You’ll get a better idea of what you want to do and then you’ll be ready to move into the next stage of kitchen remodeling: planning.

Visit some open houses

So you’ve explored kitchens online, you’ve dreamed a little bit, and you’ve even looked around your local Home Depot. Now it’s time to mix dreams with reality and head to a few open houses. Seriously, this is a great way to see how what you look at online looks and feels in real life. Head on over to and browse a few homes in your market that have kitchens you love. Then see if there are open houses coming up over the weekend to get a sense if what you liked online translates to reality.

Before my wife and I embarked on a kitchen remodel, we considered moving and an updated kitchen was top on our list of features we wanted in a new home. We would look at photos of homes on the market and then when we went to see it in person we found that some kitchens looked great online but wouldn’t functionally work for us. We also found some that looked even better in person. I know it might sound a bit like you’re a nosy neighbor, but remodeling a kitchen is a HUGE investment so don’t be shy about making sure you find out if what you think you want is in reality what works for you.

Those are just a few ideas for dreaming about that updated kitchen. But as is typically the case, dreams come to an end and you eventually wake up to reality. That’s where we’ll go in our next installment which will cover the planning phase for remodeling a kitchen.

Husband. Father. Socializer. Mets Lifer. TV Aficionado. Consumer Engager.

David Marine is the Chief Marketing Officer at Coldwell Banker, where he oversees the brand’s marketing efforts and content strategy including acting as managing editor for the Coldwell Banker blog and heading up video production efforts. While CMO by day, David runs a three ring circus at night as he is the father of 4 boys. He also happens to be married to Wonder Woman. True story.

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