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The Vancouver condo market is hot and kitchen design is sizzling too! As condo square footage decreases, kitchen space is changing. Condo kitchens today are often more of a culinary wall in the great-room concept, with an island serving as the eating station, and extra storage and work space. With this new trend, condo kitchen renovations will most likely require wall removal, upgrades in appliances, cabinetry, and flooring, and maybe the addition of an island. To keep costs down, keep the following in mind when renovating:
- Roll up your sleeves and pitch in with the demolition. And, for that matter, you can help with rubbish, recycling and general cleanup too. This can save you upwards of three to five per cent of your overall renovation costs.
- Existing appliances can be resold or recycled. Check with BC Hydro for appliance rebate programs in your area. If not available, list them for free, and eliminate removal costs.
- Culinary walls typically feature flush-mounted appliances, adding to the seamless, opening living feel. Tap in to your certified builder or renovator’s contacts. Chances are they will get better deals on appliances, saving you money to upgrade.
- Re-use existing cabinetry. If cabinets are in good shape, door panels can be replaced or recovered.
- Cabinet space-saving systems can exponentially increase your existing usable space per square foot, eliminating the need for excessive cabinetry.
- If you are removing walls, the space will naturally lighten up. Look to under-cabinet lighting to warm up darker corners versus more expensive, recessed overhead lighting.
- If you don’t have to move the kitchen sink, don’t. It will save you plumbing costs, and potential issues with your strata/bylaws. If however, you are working with a plumber, and have access to include natural gas in your kitchen, this would be a cost-efficient time to upgrade.
- Check with FortisBC for energy-saving rebates and appliance upgrades (www.fortisbc.com).
- Open-concept living generally features a single floor covering. Buy in-stock flooring rather than making custom orders. This will save you on both time and money. And, make sure wall removal is complete before installing. Have your plans in place.
- Countertops often become the statement piece in open plans, with a focal point around the island. You might like to splash out here, given all of the other dollar-saving ideas.
- Finally, but most importantly, work with a professional contractor/renovator with condominium knowledge. There will be strata rules to consider, city bylaws, and limitations with common walls, supporting walls, and windows, just to name a few.
When buying older units, make sure to do your due diligence: know the bylaws, use a building inspector and most of all, be sure to use a certified builder or renovator, and get the agreement in writing. For all these resources and more, check out www.gvhba.org.