Jennifer Butler's Kitchen: PLANNED AND PREPPED

Jennifer is planned and prepped; now construction is underway!

Even a small interior design project can seem overwhelming. But with good planning, a positive outlook, and a realistic understanding of a project's process, those fears and nerves can be dampened.

 Jennifer's kitchen project makes a good example for outlining the basic process of a home remodel or renovation project. We'll touch briefly on what we think are the key steps in taking a remodel successfully from concept to completion.

If you're just joining us, you can read about the context and design vision of Jennifer's project in our last blog entry: Jennifer Butler's Kitchen: Ready for Demolition.

From vision to construction, thoughtful planning and preparation can make or break a project. Here are tips from Jennifer on ways to ensure the remodel process will be smooth and simple.


Dreams with poor plans offer impossible or improbable results. Dreams with thoughtful plans inherit promising outcomes. Planning and design are critical players in moving ideas from concept to desired completion.

Interior design is not an afterthought. It is, however, an integral, crucial, and primary part of the complete design process and requires planning to handle the complexities and layering of a project's timing.



Visit our recent blog post for more on the value of Planning with an Interior Designer.


When setting a project budget, Jennifer always asks three questions:

1. What's the value of your home?

2. What's your home's value in relation to your neighborhood?

3. How long do you plan to stay in your home?

These answers help inform a reasonable project budget by making sure you aren't over- or under-spending based on your home project's context and range of value. 

One helpful rough rule of thumb in gauging an appropriate range for a kitchen project budget is to estimate a cost of 20-25% of your home's market value. Even still, depending on your neighborhood, that percentage may have roughly a 5-10% error of margin.

Factors influencing the timeline of a project vary depending on the extent and scope of work involved. Do you have an addition involving exterior design? How many different trades do you have involved? Does your project occur during a season where inclement weather may interfere? How extensive are your layout changes? These questions will all help build a realistic project timeline.


With a vision of the kitchen they wanted, Todd and Jennifer took their dreams from idea to action. Being Jennifer, she had the unique position of bypassing the selection process in finding a fitting interior designer. She didn't, however, bypass the process of seeking design expertise. 

You second guess yourself when it's your own house. As a designer, you need to get out of your own way when it's your own home.

Jennifer worked with kitchen designer, Todd Wiley, at TruKitchens to aid her in quickly narrowing down the options of what she'd like to see in her own home. Jennifer and her husband knew how they wanted their kitchen to function to fit their family and what style would best fit their house, but TruKitchens was able to guide them with options that would help acheive their desired function and style within their desired timeframe.

We'll share more about the team that pull it all together and the design components that result in Jennifer's kitchen transformation.


The construction process of a project depends heavily on a project's size and scope as well as a homeowner's physical and financial resources. Being a kitchen remodel, and with a sizeable lower level, Todd and Jennifer, were able to temporarily and comfortably move downstairs during construction. With a larger project scope or with limited living quarters, another homeowner might find themselves displaced from their home altogether during a remodel or renovation. Plan for alternative living arrangements early to avert stress from your project.


With any renovation or remodel, expect for the unexpected. The older the home, the greater the risk of uncovering more surprises. There is always something you'll uncover in a remodel. A little thoughtful inspecting can be done ahead of time to explore and expose what could present bigger challenges. It is always wise to build measured contingency into your budget, timeline, and especially your frame of mind. The risk of surprise is inevitable, estimating and addressing surprise is intelligent. Planning for potential problems makes the issues that arise easier to handle.

So far, Jennifer's only surprise was a pipe that interfered with the new layout. It need to be rerouted, but fortunately it didn't compromise their budget or timeline.


Watch for our next journal entry to follow Jennifer's progress!