How to Get a Handle on Renovation Lead Time


How long will you be eating takeout and living with construction mess? Will the kitchen be ready in time for that big family event? How much will the project set you back? We talked to the pros and crunched the numbers on kitchen renovations, so you’ll be prepared before demo day.

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By Mary Kate Hogan
Design and Photos by Arthur Zobel


You’ll face dozens of decisions when working on a kitchen renovation, from layout, cabinets, and appliances to seemingly endless smaller details, such as the metal finish for your faucet, size and style of drawer pulls, and grout color for your backsplash. Still, the whole process is exciting and seems less daunting when you have a clear plan and budget in place. To help prospective renovators get a handle on it all, we talked to Arthur Zobel of Majestic Kitchens, who has 28 years of experience working on all types of kitchens, from modest to luxe.

Though every kitchen is different, the steps that homeowners need to take to complete a renovation are similar from project to project. There are three main phases of the timeline, and the duration for each varies, depending on the complexity of the job, how quickly the homeowner can decide on materials, and other factors. 

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Though you may have been dreaming about your kitchen and mentally designing it for months, this stage begins when you first talk with a kitchen pro to discuss your needs, budget, and wish list. “When prospective customers sit down and we start looking at different aspects of the project, they should come in with an idea of what they want to spend,” says Zobel (see “Costs” on following pages). After you visit a kitchen showroom and take an initial look at cabinets and other elements, a design pro will come to your home to measure your kitchen. That professional will generate a drawing of the proposed layout, then you’ll need to review and discuss changes or fine-tune the plans until you’re happy with them. During this phase, you select your cabinets, appliances, tile (or other surfaces), and countertops. Though it’s also possible to choose some of the materials during the next two phases, the more you can pick and order now, the more quickly the installation will go. Why such a range in the duration of this stage? “This all depends on the homeowner,” says Zobel. “We all have busy lives and there are lots of things to pick out. The project has to fit into our lives.”








Custom cabinets typically take 8 to 12 weeks for completion and delivery to your home, says Zobel. There are a few basic lines of semi-custom cabinetry that can arrive in 4 to 6 weeks. While you’re waiting is a good time to select other items in the kitchen: sinks and faucets, cabinet and drawer pulls, and lighting.





The amount of time that elapses between when the cabinets are delivered to your house to the day you hand the contractor the final payment depends on the size and scope of the project. If you’re doing a gut renovation, installing new floors, moving mechanicals, and reconfiguring the whole space, it will obviously take longer than a project in which appliances and cabinets are upgraded but the layout remains mostly unchanged (this also affects the range of labor costs, see on following page). If during demo, the contractors uncover rotten beams or an issue with plumbing, you’ll need time to fix the problems, and that will add to the timeline. Besides size of project, other factors that can impact this phase are things like specialty lighting, extra cooktops, a sink in the island, double ovens, and a second refrigerator. 





Budget isn’t a four-letter word. “It makes my life easier when people have a good idea what the kitchen’s going to cost,” says Zobel. Every project is different, of course, but below are some ballpark figures.



Custom Kitchen in Westchester

Cabinetry: $18K–$25K (larger space up to $50K)
Appliances: $12K–$18K ($18K–$25K for Sub-Zero/Wolf)
Backsplash: $150–$500 for a 20 to 30 foot backsplash via Tile America
Cabinet Hardware: $1/knob or pull to $20/knob or pull 
Labor: $10K–$20K  
Counters: $5K–$7K
Sink: $300–$1,500
Faucets: $300–$1,500


Basic Kitchen Costs for Smaller Space or Condo

Cabinetry: $7K–$10K
Appliances: $3K–$4K
Labor: $5K 
Counters: $3K–$4K



Pro Tips to Cut Kitchen Reno Costs

By Laurie Yarnell
There are ways to keep the cost of a kitchen renovation down.
Interior designer and contractor Lyn Peterson has these suggestions.




Questions to Ask Before a Kitchen Reno

By Laurie Yarnell
Thinking about renovating your kitchen but don’t know where to start? We asked interior designer and contractor Lyn Peterson of Mamaroneck for the questions to ask first.



How long will the process take?

“Most kitchens take at least four to six weeks,” says Peterson. Think about asking your contractor to commit to a completion date in your contract with financial penalties for not meeting it.  


Can you set up a temporary kitchen?

“A fridge, microwave, and toaster oven just plug in. Running water is where the cost comes in.” Look at using a nearby bathroom or laundry room with a sink as a temporary kitchen.  


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