Your Total Renovation features grand kitchens that inspire
We have several clients that are currently in the pre-construction phase of their kitchen remodels, and we have suggested they collect inspiring kitchen photos from sites such as Pinterest, DesignShuffle, and Houzz to help them figure out what they want. Of course, this can sometimes cause confusion, since most people don’t have a favorite single look. If you’re like me, you may have an identity crisis in the design department!


In the article below from Houzz, author Rebekah Zaveloff shares tips to help you through the process of narrowing down your many options and hone in on what you want your dream kitchen to look like. Click here for a comprehensive read of Rebekah’s full series on kitchen remodeling.


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Kitchen Workbook, Part 1: Gather Inspiration


Collect images at random. Collect images that speak to you emotionally without thinking about why (at least for right now). Believe me, there’s a pattern there — you may not be able to see it at first, but a pattern will show itself. You may find that a whole bunch of your kitchen inspiration images may need to be added to an ideabook for a future farmhouse or weekend getaway, but don’t skip over them just because they don’t relate to this project, save them for later.


Don’t edit yourself (yet). Don’t make yourself nuts from the get-go by trying to edit as you collect. I really believe in collecting with reckless abandon first and editing later. Editing yourself while you gather inspiration is certain death for creativity.


Organize (but only if you want to). It’s OK to be unorganized and even a little messy—this is creativity after all! So what if your collections are a bit of a mess with no rhyme or reason. If you are fabulously organized, then you’re a step ahead of us, but for those who aren’t, don’t sweat it. There’s time to go back over all this stuff and label it later.


Start looking for a pro. This can be a great time to start noting the professionals who are responsible for the designs you like and looking for a local design professional you might like to interview. For some homeowners, the right thing to do is hire a professional out of the gate and have him or her help you through this inspiration-gathering phase. Some homeowners even hand this off completely to a designer, and it’s the designer’s job to listen, interpret and collect inspiration for the client and bring it back for approval.


Categorize. Once you have a fair number of inspiration images to work with, go back through them and put them into loose categories.


You can categorize by style: Maybe you seem to fall on the fence between vintage and modern. Or maybe you find that you have a bunch of images of kitchens with dark wood floors. You can create a collection dedicated completely to islands or kitchen banquette seating. One for lighting, one for wallpaper, etc.


We’ll get into exploring your style with the next installment, so for now don’t think about why you like things, just that you do or don’t.


Edit. Go back through those folders and ideabooks and see if you still respond emotionally to the images within.


If it’s been a while since you started gathering inspiration and you’ve looked at hundreds of spaces, your taste might have changed without you even realizing it. Ruthless editing can really help clarify things—you’ll look at a room and say “Why on earth did I save that photo?” If you can’t remember and it doesn’t speak to you any longer, ditch it. See how easy that was?


Collect images with intention. Now that you’ve collected at random, categorized and edited, go back through all your saved photos, and visit all your old online haunts—and search images for specific items.


Look only for glass-front cabinets, industrial hoods or island lighting—not at the image as a whole. You might not like an overall room at all, but one element could be exactly what you want. I do this for every client, and often for multiple parts of each client’s job. I pull inspiration images and I say “don’t look at the wall color or the cabinet style; just look at the hood” or “look at the way the crown molding transitions around the beam and hood” or something very specific like that. Then edit again.