Inspiration for my own kitchen remodel

My Kitchen Sucks -Episode No. 03

Establishing Your Project Priorities; It’s Time to Dream

In previous episodes we identified our design challenge and we set the big picture goals for our kitchen renovation.  Now, we’re ready to dig down deep into some of the details of the project – things we have been thinking about for years.  This is the time we get to dream a little and think about the what ifs. What if I could have that sub-zero refrigerator? What if I could take down that wall and open it up to the eating area?  What if I really like that waterfall countertop? The what ifs can go on and on and on!  However, with every good project there is always a limit to what we can fit in our designs that meet our budgets.  We need to identify clearly those things that we need to have versus those things we would like to have.

Okay, let’s dive into this concept a little deeper.  NEED TO HAVE items are those things that address your project goals directly.  For example, in my kitchen one of our goals is to have a better visual connection to our backyard.   So, one of our NEED TO HAVE’s is new, larger windows that open our views to the backyard.  Now, it would be really nice to have a folding window wall with an indoor/outdoor countertop, but I know this comes with a cost. And, I really don’t need that to make my project a success.  So, those things that we might like to have, but are extras, kind of icing on the cake, we categorize differently.  We throw these ideas and dreams into separate buckets.

Create 3 Separate Buckets

At Your Modern Cottage, we recommend that you make your list of dreams and prioritize them into 3 categories: The Need to Succeed, The Love to Have, and then finally OMG This Would Be Awesome, But…

Here’s the wish list that my wife and I have discussed about for the past several years. It’s random ideas just written down as we thought about and discussed the project. (See video)

Now – here’s that same list of our dreams in the 3 prioritized categories mentioned above. Need to Have…..Love to Have…. And OMG This Would Be Awesome, But… 

This doesn’t just happen.  It takes some negotiating among team members (in this case, my wife and I) in order to separate the items into the various buckets.  It’s usually pretty clear what items we really need for the project to succeed (especially if we created a Challenge Statement and set our Project Goals).  But, it gets a bit more difficult from here.  What are we willing to sacrifice if in the end we can’t afford all of them?  So, we have to ask: Does this item lean more towards a NEED or a DREAM?  Then drop it in the right bucket.

Try This to Help Prioritize

Here’s a way to help prioritize. In our list, we have a cabinet depth refrigerator as a NEED.  This is not due to it’s function, but it’s truly an aesthetic thing.  I hate refrigerators that stick into the room.  So, priorities are not only categorized based on function, but beauty as well.  One tool that we recommend is the Beauty/Function Scale.  Rate your item on a 1 to 10 scale for both function and beauty.  If it rates high enough on the beauty side, it may make the NEED TO HAVE list even if it is low on the function side.  Successful projects need to be both functional and beautiful.  Otherwise, we may grow tired of them quickly.

Without a good solid priority list, we tend to fall into the trap of reaching for our fancy dreams at the expense of meeting the basic needs.  Those flashy, bright and shiny objects just seem to get more attention than the basic down to earth things.  Believe me, it’s fun to live in the fantasy, but we need to do this grounded in reality.  Yeah, I know – I’m a bit of a downer here, but we want to make sure that in the end we have a project that we can afford and has some of those glitzy things that we just love.  I’ve seen too many projects become derailed when dreams don’t meet budget.  We need to be honest with ourselves and set clearly defined priorities.

Watch Out for Episode No. 04 – We Will Be Establishing our Project Budget

Thanks again for watching My Kitchen Sucks.  We are getting deep into this project now.  Please join me next time as we talk about creating our budget for the project.  You do not want to miss the important information that will be shared.  Things are going to get real – real fast!  We will see you soon here, at Your Modern Cottage!