By Paul Bookbinder, M.I.D., C.R.
Many of us have traded in our old gas guzzling vehicles to help save the environment (and some money as well). After surviving a summer of ridiculous heat and rain even I am beginning to believe that global warming may have some validity! So, besides owning a hybrid automobile, I gave a lot of thought on how else to pitch in to help good old Mother Earth and reduce our carbon footprints.
Then, the (LED) light bulb lit up over my head, just like in the cartoons, and I came up with the idea of the “Hybrid Kitchen Remodel”. It’s not just refacing and it’s not a complete remodel. It’s a clever combination of both of these processes enabling you, the homeowner, to get a completly new look for your kitchen by redesigning the cabinets and layout areas that you don’t like and refacing the ones that you do like (to match the new ones).
Ever since the national kitchen and remodeling organizations overcame the pressure from the cabinet industry and admitted that refacing was indeed, a legitimate form of remodeling, refacing has lost the stigma of being a poor choice for making existing cabinets look and work as well as brand new ones. But until now combining new cabinets with refacing was a more complex/costly endevour. Very few companies offered this option because the new cabinets had to be built from scratch and then refaced to match the balance of the refacing job. This limited the number of new cabinets that you could add to a refacing job due to the higher cost of building the cabinet and refacing it to match. The old rule of thumb was that you could change up to 10% of your existing cabinetry in a refacing project and still save money over a complete remake.
Today, however, there are companies that offer new cabinets and replacement fronts with refacing material so that it is much more practical to accomplish a remodel where you can change up to 50% of your cabinetry and still be economically better off. The selection of replacement fronts has expanded exponentially over the past few years, however there are not as many choices when you compare the hybrid remodel to either a full remodel or a full reface. I suggest you visit a showroom to see what is available in the type of project you are considering. And don’t forget you can add all the modern internal conveniences that you find in any new kitchen cabinet in the hybrid system.
The three most popular reasons for refacing cabinets, rather than replacing them, are the three “C”s: convenience, conservation and cost. With our hectic schedules, most of us don’t want to have our lifestyles disrupted any longer than necessary. It’s hard enough getting everything done that we’re supposed to each day without having construction going on for several weeks. While it’s true that the hybrid reface will take a little longer than a regular reface it’s still less time than a total renovation, depending upon the changes that you select.
After all the times you read in my column, or heard me say, “you get what you pay for”, now (at least in this senario) you can finally “get more than you pay for!” With a properly installed hybrid kitchen you will end up with a redesigned room encompasing both new and new looking cabinets for less than the cost of a completely gutted kitchen. So, it’s time to wipe off some of your carbon footprints on the front door mat and get a new hybrid kitchen, saving time, money and the health of our planet all at the same time. Talk about a win-win situation.
Paul Bookbinder, M.I.D., C.R., is president of DreamWork Kitchens, Inc. located in Mamaroneck, New York. A Master of Design (Pratt Institute), and E.P.A. Certified Remodeler, he serves on the Advisory Panel of Remodeling Magazine. A member of the National Kitchen & Bath Assoc., he is also a contributor to eZine and Do It Yourself magazine. He can be reached for questions at 914-777-0437 or www.dreamworkkitchens.com.