A kitchen renovation can do amazing things for your home, from increasing its potential resale value to making it an even more delightful place to occupy. Watermark & Company is providing this guide to help you organize your thoughts and avoid the typical pitfalls that can cause you to exceed your budget and drive your remodel past its scheduled completion date. Adhering to these six simple steps will make your kitchen renovation a much easier experience.

Determine your goals & inspiration.

What are you looking to get out of your kitchen remodel? Do you need a complete overhaul, including a floor plan reconfiguration, or expansion? Or do you want to update any or all finishes including cabinetry, countertops, backsplash, flooring, fixtures, and appliances? For kitchen renovations, functionality, storage capacity and aesthetics are all intertwined components that make kitchens the center of attention. We recommend keeping the design simple with an emphasis on the work triangle between the sink, cooktop, and refrigerator.

Engage an architect or designer.

If you plan to relocate walls or appliance locations, we recommend hiring an architect to transfer your thoughts to paper. Do you need help with making cabinet, stain, paint, countertop, and appliance selections? Interior designer fees are typically very reasonable and being able to brainstorm about the potential designs and materials is important when finalizing your selections.

Set your budget.

Depending on the size of the room and desired finishes, the cost to renovate a kitchen can vary greatly. To get a ballpark estimate for your remodel, it’s best to contact a local remodeling contractor to discuss the details of your project. Watermark & Company has found that the cost for a kitchen renovation typically ranges from $30k to $75k up to $150k for larger, high-end kitchen projects. The total cost will ultimately depend on the overall scope of the project.

Make design & material selections at the beginning of the renovation.

It is imperative that you determine all of the material and design selections prior to beginning the remodeling project. If you opt to approve each design selection and material as you go through the renovation, you will soon be burdened with a disorganized project that will take longer than necessary to complete and will likely cost you more to finish. Additionally, this step-by-step method is will likely strain the contractor-client relationship. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you plan to make your design and material decisions early on in the process.

What types of material and design selections do you need to make?

  • Cabinetry: wood species, stain color, cabinet style, door/drawer design, linen & medicine cabinets
  • Countertops: granite, marble, Caesarstone, Silestone, Cambria, concrete, recycled composites
  • Appliances: range, exhaust hood, refrigerator, ice maker, dishwasher, wine cooler, warming drawer
  • Electrical: under cabinet lighting, under cabinet receptacles, pendants, recessed cans
  • Flooring: tile, wood, stained concrete
  • Backsplash tile & grout: natural stone, glass, porcelain, ceramic, recycled composites
  • Tile designs: patterns include diamond, brick, grid, offset, etc.
  • Plumbing: sink type, sink faucet, cooktop or range pot filler
  • Paint & sheen: sheens include flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, & gloss

A list of potential vendors in the Austin area can be found on our website.

Hire a qualified remodeling contractor.

Hiring a reputable remodeler that you feel comfortable working with who also has a proven record of outstanding workmanship is the single most important factor in making your kitchen remodel a success. We strongly recommend only enlisting the services of a local contractor that is insured, affiliated with national and/or local remodeling organizations, and has been recognized for their work professionally. Always use caution when considering the lowest bidder and be sure to check any contractor’s references before you hire them.

If you’re looking for advice on how to select a remodeling contractor, Watermark & Company has you covered with our two part series on choosing the right contractor for your project (Part One, Part Two).

Set the stage for success.

As with any project, communication is critical. Discussing the following questions with your contractor is crucial for a successful renovation.

  • Are you planning to live in the house during renovations? If so, be prepared for minor interruptions to your normal routine.
  • Will any water, sewer, gas, or electric utilities be turned off or disrupted. If so, ask the contractor to provide you with notification at least 24 hours ahead of time so you can make other arrangements if necessary.
  • Is a permit needed for your remodel? If so, ask the contractor to handle permit acquisition.
  • Do you want lien releases from the contractor and his subcontractors? If so, be sure to notify the contractor before the project starts to allow him time to notify his subcontractors.
  • What are the start and finish dates for the renovation? Are they specified in the contract?
  • What are the working hours for the project? Are you ok with work occurring on weekends?
  • Was your home built before 1978? If so, all painted surfaces or materials to be removed or disturbed must be tested for lead based paint by a Lead-Safe certified firm per EPA regulations. Additionally, the firm completing the demo or removal work must be EPA Lead-Safe certified.
  • How does the contractor handle dust containment? Ask the contractor to hang plastic sheeting over doorways and openings to help contain as much dust as possible.
  • Is the contractor planning to have a portable toilet delivered to the job? Or, will they be using your bathroom?
  • How will jobsite debris be dealt with? How often is the debris removed from site?

After the project has been completed, and prior to making or authorizing the final payment, create a punch list of items that need attention or touch up and give a copy of this list to the contractor.


Watermark & Company hopes this advice serves a good starting point as you begin to undertake the great adventure that is renovating your home with a kitchen remodel. We are dedicated to making sure that all homeowners, not just our own clients, are well educated and thoroughly prepared for the remodeling process.

If you have any questions regarding the above information, or if you would like to discuss Watermark & Company’s Design | Renovate process, please feel free to contact us at your convenience. In the meantime, good luck on your renovation and we’ll see you on the next project.