From Renee on December 16th, 2008 in Kitchen Remodel
In addition to being “happy remodelers,” Nitsa Lallas is a partner in a business consulting firm that specializes in shaping and enhancing corporate culture. Her husband, Ignacio Arribas, is a university professor of international business and currently manages the distribution and publicity of their new book. They’ve recently contributed the following guest post about the process of remodeling their kitchen:
When we bought our house back in 1985 we thought we had found our dream house. It had good sized rooms, and the nice kitchen really sold us on the house. Ironically, the kitchen was the first room that we remodeled. We learned very quickly about space functionality.
We both like to cook and we found that the kitchen’s “functional space” was way too small for two people trying to work in it. As a result, we started planning our future kitchen. Ignacio likes to clean up as he cooks. Nitsa throws everything in the sink to clean up later. So, we decided to incorporate two sinks, about 10 feet apart, in our new kitchen. (While having “his & hers” kitchen sinks might have resolved the issue, Ignacio still ends up cleaning his as well as her dirty kitchen tools.)
Our new kitchen took about two years from planning to execution – the construction itself was about three months – but we believe that the time we took to plan our new space, how to use it, and what would or wouldn’t work for us has really contributed to a kitchen that we have enjoyed for 17 years. Its design is still perfect. At the time, we decided to forego granite counters for tile in order to stay within our budget, and instead to spend the money in high-quality cabinets and appliances.
Later, after taking some time off from our kitchen remodel, we also remodeled our dining room, living room, guest bathroom, patio and yard, a master guest suite, and our master bedroom/bathroom. All this was done in stages, taking time off in between.
What others believe to be totally amazing is that every single remodel and renovation project we have done turned out to be perfect, exactly how we wanted it, we had great contractors, and were always within budget.
Over the years, we have heard of unhappy and unsuccessful remodeling experiences; we have heard of people who are generally satisfied with their remodel but have regrets with some of the decisions they made at the time, and in hindsight they would have done them differently. And also, there are examples of couples whose relationships suffered because of their inability to align together regarding their decisions or of stress during construction. We are happy we missed these during all of our remodeling projects.
After one of our latest remodels, we were reflecting on the journey of our remodeling projects over all this years and asked ourselves, “why has remodeling always been such a happy experience for us, and so often unhappy for others?” We decided to write down what made it work so well for us, and share it with others. That is how our book, “The Happy Remodelers,” came to be.
From the beginning, we decided that we were not going to write another “how-to-design-your-kitchen” book. We wrote a book to provide in-depth solutions to many of the problems that homeowners face remodeling their homes. Some of the solutions we cover in our book: how to make decisions easily, how to bring your remodeling project to life, how to get the best from your architect & contractor, avoiding financial surprises and minimizing budget overruns, how to budget your remodeling, and communication essentials with your architect, contractor and yourselves, among others.
- Check in to the blog for more from Nitsa and Ignacio, who will be back to discuss some of the principles outlined in their book, “The Happy Remodelers.” Get some guidance to forge ahead with your own positive remodeling experience.