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Happiness is a New Kitchen! - Part 2

I recently wrote about my desire for my dream kitchen and how it was finally going to happen. I know you're anxiously awaiting the rest of the details and since your kitchen remodeling will probably be one of the most expensive - and extensive - home projects, here are five tips to ensure it's a successful and relatively pain-free remodeling project.

Plan ahead You have your dream, but you definitely need to have a budget. Before you start, write down everything you'd like: new cabinets, new floor, countertops, tiles, appliances, a contractor, etc. Make sure to add an extra 10% to your budget to cover the unexpected. There's always something! Doing your research in advance will save heartache during the process. If you find everything adds up beyond your means, think about postponing the project until you have enough money, or tackle it in stages. I redid my kitchen counters years before I did the kitchen and made sure to keep them in the new design. It saved me a lot of money when we did the complete remodel this year.

Designing your kitchen Take a hard look at how you're using your current kitchen and what you want your remodel to accomplish. Think about what you like about your current kitchen, what doesn't work with the layout, and your situation with ever-important cabinet space. As you look at the layout, think about how you move in the space, how the workflow accommodates your cooking routine, and whether you can easily move from the stove to the sink. Decide if you want a gourmet-style kitchen, an entertaining kitchen or family-centered kitchen.

Remember resale value Make sure your kitchen is in keeping with your house. Even if you don't plan on moving right away and want to enjoy your kitchen, keep an eye on what the next owner would like. Do you really have to have the purple cabinets or a fancy backsplash?

Choosing the contractor Who you choose as your contractor will make this a positive or negative experience. Remember they'll be your best friend during this time. Make sure they're familiar with the building codes in your area, provide a well-written contract, have reliable help and are on-site most of the time. Most importantly, if you contact them, double-check to be sure they return your call - in a timely manner! We found ours through a service like Angie's List and were very happy.

Take a deep breath! You'll get through this by taking baby steps. In the end, you'll have a room you will love. I still "ooh" and "aah" every time I enter my kitchen.

Do you have any helpful tips on home renovation? Share them here.

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']#[/author_image] [author_info]Jane is a Campaign Strategy Director at House Party. She's so lucky to have a 10 minute drive to work on one of the prettiest roads in Westchester, NY. She has 2 children and the youngest just finished college. In her free time, Jane loves to be outdoors gardening and likes to cook. Her newest passion is author Kristin Barclay, and she's already read 4 of her books. Jane is a true gym rat and does classes, weights, spinning and swimming (but not all at once!). Jane's party tip: Prepare as much in advance for your party so you can relax with your company.[/author_info] [/author]

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The 4-1-1 on: Mike Hermus