Studies show that the typical person spends an average of five years of their life in either the kitchen or their bathroom.
This is indeed a significant chunk of time hence the need to design these defining rooms for maximum comfort cannot be gainsaid.
Whether you are embarking on a new design or contemplating a renovation of your kitchen or bathroom, you must understand that this space needs to be made aesthetically pleasing and functional while meeting your budget guidelines.
Kitchens and bathrooms have the greatest impact on future buyers and the value potential of the overall home price. According to real estate professionals, the overall return on your investment in these two rooms is 90 to 100 per cent.
Over the past few years, the real estate marketplace has seen changes in both kitchen designs and bathroom designs. “A majority of clients want open-floor plans, which for buildings with a small kitchen calls for the removal of walls,” says Chris Mwangi an architect based in Nairobi.
Unless the walls involved are load-bearing, their reconfiguration is limited only by space and the client’s imagination. Kitchen designers can draw computer-aided designs (CAD) of board-accepted plans, enabling them to try different aspects of the design and offer clients multiple views and options.
Among critical variables in bathroom or kitchen designs are budgets and schedules. A typical remodel takes anything between 3 and 8 weeks, provided materials are ordered in advance.
“For a bathroom remodel, clients should be prepared to stay without a working toilet for at least 3 weeks,” says Mwangi. “Most of our clients make arrangements to stay elsewhere, especially if it’s a one-bathroom unit.”
Understandably most designers provide contracts with loose verbiage such as “substantial completion.” A caveat is necessary because often things happen that are beyond the control of the designer such as waiting on materials.
“All projects have challenges that can take more time to fix so understanding all your options now versus later is important,” Mwangi adds.
With regards to lighting, experts encourage the evaluation of lighting locations with emphasis on the home’s relation to the sun. “Another good idea is adding low voltage lighting in the bathroom under cabinet at the base and in the kitchen adding low voltage above and below cabinets,” he concludes.