Renovations – The Plans


Now that Nina has an idea of what she’d like to change in the kitchen, it’s time to draw up the renovation plans.

Nina and I sat down together and chart a course of action including a timeline and budget. One important factor in this project is that Nina’s apartment is part of a condominium association. So I have to submit all design plans to her condo board and allow up to a month for approval.

Next, I’ll take measurements of the kitchen and adjoining dining room since our plan is to create a great room adjacent to the kitchen. Before we get too far into the design process, I suggest we meet with the building engineer to find out if the kitchen column and the wall separating the two rooms can be taken down. I don’t want any surprises, especially after kitchen cabinets have been ordered – they can’t be returned so all specifications must be exact.  Luckily, the building engineer is available and comes right up to the apartment to assess the situation. He’s positive that they’re not supporting structures and can be removed – great news. The entire space can be opened up and will flow together.

It’s now time to talk about the look of her new kitchen. Nina wants a modern kitchen design but one that complements her building’s timeless and classic architectural style. Nina shows me magazine clippings that depict the type cabinets, colors and lighting that she’d like included in her new kitchen design. We both agree that she should keep her “Wedgewood” oven, because it’s in good working order and gives the kitchen an authentic vintage touch.

Now it’s time to discuss the layout. Nina says the current arrangement of the appliances and sink works well, so we agree to keep them in the same location. Keeping these major items in the same location keeps construction costs down by eliminating the need to move plumbing and gas lines. I ask for her list of ‘wants,’ which include a small seating area in the kitchen as well as a peninsula/island for entertaining/dining with a beverage refrigerator nearby. She’d like the wall taken down between the back hallway (which leads to the kitchen) and the dining room. Finally, recipe books shelves and display space would be an added perk.

So here I go to the drawing board or, in this case, my computer screen. I start with a 3-D color drawing that will give Nina a more precise idea of what I envision for the kitchen layout. My computer drawings are an effective way to visually explain design concepts to clients. I love seeing my ideas jump out at me almost as quickly as they spring to mind. Once the basic kitchen layout is determined, it will be time to select materials for cabinets, flooring and the backsplash.

I create two layout concepts. Both feature countertops that run along the two kitchen walls. In layout #1, a peninsula is connected to the end of one countertop to create a seating area along the adjacent dining room wall. In layout #2, an island with seating for four is placed where the dividing wall once was. I’ve incorporated all the items Nina gave me on her ‘want’ list.  So we’lll have to wait to see which one she selects…


About Norma Zeiger

Norma S. Zeiger, ASID is a professionally registered interior designer with more than 10 years of experience. Her firm, Entwine Interiors, focuses on urban living spaces with a specialty in kitchen and bathroom renovations, space planning, fireplaces, custom built-ins and home offices. Ms. Zeiger stresses the importance of improving the function of a space along with making it an inviting, comfortable and beautiful sanctuary. Her kitchen/bathroom designs have won several ASID Design Excellence Awards, and have been featured on HGTV’s Bang for your Buck.