Working with a designer or architect to develop sketches and floor-plans will help you meet your needs and goals for a kitchen, and will help keep the process organized and on budget.
Al and Sharon Sain had distinct ideas for what they wanted in a kitchen. Since Sharon is an avid cook, she had strong opinions about what she wanted and needed to make their kitchen complete. Al is a semi-retired engineer, and was heavily involved in many aspects of both planning and building their house in Butler, Pennsylvania. Al advises, when building a new home, consider the kitchen in your current or former home. Determine the things that you do like and don't like about your kitchen. Keeping both of those categories in mind, address all of those factors when designing your new kitchen.
Once you've established general guidelines and requirements for your kitchen, it's important to work out a formalized plan. Some of the contractors developed their own, while others got some help. Betty King and John Spracklen, for example, took their ideas to an architect. "That's part of the process of being your own contractor," says John. "You've got to start with your own ideas. You're not going to simply 'find' a house-plan that will meet all of your needs."
Home centers and kitchen-design stores with kitchen showrooms are good places to get your own ideas started for the kind of kitchen layout that you'll want. It also helps to talk to professionals about specific requirements and logistics of kitchen planning and about selection of materials.
Kitchen and interior design magazines are another good source for ideas.
Kitchen countertop material, flooring, cabinetry and appliances are just some of the important decisions you'll have to make when planning a kitchen. Betty and John did research by using books, doing internet searches, visiting showrooms and interviewing architects and professionals before they ever started work on their kitchen. Betty felt that this kind of advance research is what's essential to having a kitchen that you'll be satisfied with.