Streamlined Design: This contemporary look — streamlining the kitchen — creates a cohesive, clean and organized kitchen.

While the economy continues recovering and the housing market rebounds, homeowners are looking at ways to improve their home’s value and aesthetic appeal. One of 2013’s projected enhancement trends is streamlining the kitchen’s design by matching appliances and cabinets for a contemporary, European look.

The streamlining trend began about four years ago, but when the housing bubble collapsed in 2008, much of the renovation market disappeared underneath the rubble, says Mark Dixon, a project consultant at Legacy Design Build Remodeling, a home renovation company in Scottsdale. Over the last four months, streamlining has resurrected itself in force, but Dixon says he isn’t sure if the style went on hiatus and is now coming back, or if the original surge is intensifying.

Choosing quality ingredients: How to decide upon a design

The design process can be the most difficult and time consuming aspect of revamping a kitchen. From choosing colors and a cabinet brand to deciding upon appliances, a price point and a contractor, renovating can be overwhelming. This is where designers come into play, but before enlisting their services, several options are available to narrow down possible choices.

“A homeowner needs to sit down and write these things out: What do I love about my kitchen, but what do I not like about it that I really want to see changed,” says Donna Liddle, CFO and marketing manager at Distinctive Kitchen & Bath, a renovation design firm in Phoenix.

When homeowners don’t know exactly what they want their kitchen to look like, Liddle recommends investigating cabinetry companies’ websites, most of which have a design floor simulator that allows people to match colors, cabinet styles or other elements. Another option is to visit community-driven design websites like, which displays completed remodeling projects.

Success is in the presentation: Achieving the streamlined effect

After gathering a project idea, home and interior designers are necessary to successfully achieve the optimal design.

“It’s helpful to bring in someone with a computer program who can lay the kitchen out and make a rendering of what it’s going to look like,” says Don Wilkerson, owner of Complete Kitchen and Bath Remodeling, a home remodeling company in Phoenix.

The program distinguishes floor space and any walls that might need to be moved. Afterward, “you have to decide what appliances you want, and then a lot of times design around the dimensions and colors of the appliances,” Wilkerson says.

To counteract appliances’ limited color scale, the renovation industry has shifted toward a trend of putting cabinet panels on refrigerators, dishwashers and trash cans to blend them with the cabinetry, Dixon says.

Baking at high elevation: Remodeling challenges to expect

The process of remodeling a kitchen has many unforeseen challenges. From finding cabinets and appliances that fit, to termites or mold and the house itself, several hindrances can pop up costing time and money.

Homeowners who educate themselves in the remodeling process won’t struggle as much compared to those who don’t, Liddle says.

One of the biggest trials that many homeowners don’t expect is the original design of their house, Wilkerson says.

For example, if someone wants to turn an older-style kitchen or a design that is not contemporary into a contemporary look, they’ll have to alter the original design of their house. This often includes reorganizing plumbing and moving walls, which can extend the process by weeks, says Carrie McCoy, a senior designer at Kitchens Southwest, a custom cabinetry designer in Scottsdale.

Making sure it doesn’t burn: Quality restoration isn’t quick, or cheap

Remodeling a kitchen is expensive and can take upward of a month from start to finish.
If the design is straightforward and only new counters, cabinets and appliances are being added, the project will likely take three to four weeks and cost between $12,000 and $25,000, McCoy says.

The price also depends on the size of the kitchen and the value of the home. For an average gut and remodel of a kitchen, Dixon says homeowners shouldn’t expect to spend less than $25,000 or $30,000.

During the renovation, McCoy says people need to be aware of the constraints placed upon their daily eating habits.

“On average, they don’t understand the process to remodel their home,” she says. “They don’t know how long it takes, how much they will be eating out for the next two to three weeks.”

Understanding that remodeling projects require a real budget, and not a figure of what’s in a homeowner’s bank account, is crucial to a project’s success Wilkerson says.

“If someone is serious about doing something, I think they should do a little research on market costs,” he adds.

View photos of kitchens with a streamlined design:

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For more information about streamlining the kitchen, visit,, and

Scottsdale Living Magazine Winter 2013