Well…yes…and no.

Assuming the following:

A. the seller is cooperative in allowing your designer inside their home
B. you’re not moving any walls or changing the kitchen layout in any major way
C. you’re willing to chance an imperfect result
D. you ultimately get approved by the building!

then yes, you could take some initial measurements now.

As for your kitchen then being ready for installation in a matter of weeks based on those measurements, ready for your move-in, I would have to say an emphatic NO. Generally kitchens are not made of Lego, they are generally not (though sometimes ARE) modular and they are certainly not “plug in” or “snap together.” Not even if they’re from Ikea!

Kitchen design is a complex set of steps that must all interlock (yes, like Lego and modular furniture) and function together as a whole, not unlike the inner-workings of the human body. Initial measurements are exactly that, initial measurements.

And while you may be able to order your cabinetry and appliances and have them available for delivery and installation in -sometimes as little as- eight weeks, that can only happen once a series of measurements are taken, re-taken and re-taken again. A 1/2″ mistake in a kitchen design is HUGE and could potentially leave the narrowest pass-through EVER in the middle of a wall of cabinetry. You could wind up with an inexplicable gap on one side of your dishwasher or an aluminum foil roll-sized space above your microwave!

Depending on your building, you will need to review your Alteration Agreement for allowances and restrictions, including work time start and stoppage, disposal of debris and so forth.

You may require the services of an architect, in which case you’ll have to file your plans not only with your building Board (and await their approval) but with the City. You may also go through several revisions on the drawings making adjustments or adding lighting or other details.

And demolition and construction can only begin once YOU are the proprietary lease holder.

Scheduling of trades, from the plumbers to the tile setters have to be carefully coordinated. Missing sinks, faucets or door handles have the potential to throw a project off course for 2-4 weeks…as do material discontinuations and unforeseen shipping delays.

In the open plan kitchen below, site conditions AFTER initial construction, forced a re-think of where to hang the glass cabinets: too far out into the living room would have made them difficult to reach from the kitchen side, while too far into the kitchen left a sharp corner protruding into the doorway where banged-up foreheads would have been a regular occurrence.

West70_Kitchen_2_EDITED

These are typical problems that arise on any construction site and cannot necessarily be guessed at or anticipated from a drawing. Sometimes you have to see it “in person.” And sometimes that means a re-fit, i.e. taking the cabinets down and re-hanging them!

Too, in any building of any age, the ceiling height is likely to vary, being 7′.6 7/8″ in one place, while 4 feet away it could be 7′.3 3/4″…but the real estate agent will tell you the ceilings are 8′ even!

What you decide to do for your floor covering will also impact your design, making those ceiling heights even tighter…and they’ll raise your appliances as much as an inch too, which in turn impacts your counter and base cabinet heights!

So, like the “sand in an hour glass” or the organs of the human body, FIT is everything. Don’t take it for granted…and don’t rush the preparation stage to accommodate a move-in or you may find yourself with a half-baked souffle!

© 2012-2013 Design Discourse / Ask Kent and Co. All Rights Reserved

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