We’ve all heard horror stories from friends and neighbors of kitchen renovations gone awry. Their nightmares involved shoddy work, cost overruns, incomplete projects, time delays and unmet expectations. Why do projects fail? One reason may be a concept that Noble prize-winning economist Daniel Kahneman calls the planning fallacy. In his book, Thinking Fast and Slow, Kahneman explains that the planning fallacy occurs when there are unrealistic expectations that do not account for the unexpected.
Anyone who claims that they will deliver a perfect project should be viewed with extreme caution. There are always surprises. The key is to anticipate potential what ifs as part of the planning process. Unfortunately, there are businesses that offer kitchen renovation services that thrive on the unexpected. They make their most profit on change orders or additions to the original plan. Kahneman claims that “the failures of forecasting in these cases reflect the customers’ inability to imagine how much their wishes will escalate over time. They end up paying much more than they would if they had a realistic plan and stuck to it.”
Kahneman’s advice underscores the benefits you receive when you rely on a professional kitchen designer and showroom to help turn your dreams into realities without having to incur undue stress, unrealistic cost overruns and less than desirable timeframes. The bottom line is to work with a professional kitchen showroom that can walk you through every stage of your renovation. A detailed plan saves time, money and headaches. Additionally, when you work with an experienced professional you can be reassured that your project will run more smoothly and there will be less likely occurrences unpleasant and expensive surprises.
Avoiding the planning fallacy begins by recognizing that kitchen renovations involve making decisions on everything from cabinet quality and style, to door and cabinet hardware. The devil is truly in the details, and that’s where a professional can be a true asset and advocate for your project. Take the time to ensure that all of the I’s have been dotted and the T’s crossed before demolition begins. Changes can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive when they occur in the middle of a project. When you spend the time upfront, you minimize the likelihood of changing course midstream.
Another detail devil is to ensure that measurements are accurate. A professional who knows how to measure space for cabinets, countertops, appliances, sinks, floor, backsplash and wall covering areas, can help you avoid expensive or deflating errors. Who wants a new kitchen with gaps between countertops and appliances?
You should expect your kitchen designer to review the existing infrastructure of your home to help determine if it will be able to support any new additions that you choose. The age of your home can affect costs. Older homes may need to be rewired, re-plumbed, re-ventilated and re-engineered to meet present-day codes. Because we can’t see behind walls, we recommend a contingency fund that will deal with the unexpected should it occur once renovation begins. Typically, the contingency should be 10% of the cost, but could be less or more depending on the scope of the project and age of the home. Moving walls and reconfiguring plumbing, gas lines and electrical systems increase the price tag.
Additionally, we advise our customers to also include in the budget the cost of eating out more often during the renovation. Our plans often include setting up temporary kitchens or cooking areas that will allow for our clients to reduce the number of times they eat take out or dine away from home.
Creating a dream kitchen brings years of joy to many of our clients, and we know how to develop plan that meets your needs, addresses your concerns and offers realistic budgets and timeframes. If you are interested in adding a dream kitchen or bath to your home, call us at (401) 257-6610 or visit our showroom at 2949 Hartford Avenue Johnston RI.