If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then getting the design right is the heartbeat. Every home is unique but they all resonate to the sound of laughter, a glass of wine, and good friends preparing and sharing food together. That is the primary reason to go to great lengths to customize your perfect kitchen. From layout, to cabinet choices to the latest innovations to small details, it all needs to add up to a space where you want to spend time, entertaining and nourishing family and friends. The first question to answer is, “How will we use this space?” You have to keep in mind that your kitchen should be the perfect blend of form and function. No amount of beautiful granite, colorful tile or state-of-the art equipment will be worth it if you’re disappointed in the results. In a kitchen, more than any other room in the house every detail must fit down to smallest measurements. For instance, a new floor may affect the base for appliances or base cabinets very slightly but, unfortunately, the result is the one or the other ends up making the surface uneven. Although it’s a small detail it’s the kind of thing that bothers you every time you go to work in the space. Every change in the space, whether it’s removing a wall or new plumbing or wiring can have a domino effect on each decision that follows. So before you start revising guest lists and planning your culinary calendar, it’s important to do a serious workout with your budget. Think about how much you are willing to spend. Be realistic. It is pointless to design a $100,000 makeover, if $50,000 is your upper limit. Give yourself a margin for unforeseen construction issues. Unlike the measurements on your cabinets, you need to have a little flexibility in this area. If you overlook this step you may find that the first problem effectively brings your project to an end. With a good budget in hand, you are ready to start into the fun part. With kitchen remodeling, it is a good idea to start with the appliances. How many do you want? What size? What features? Answering these questions, affects decisions to be made regarding cabinets and other storage spaces. Refer often to your wish list. There’s no point in designing cabinet layout and discovering later that there is no place for your rolling pin collection or that warming drawer you have always wanted to have. It is always a good idea to read magazines, watch television design shows and to view as many kitchens as possible at home shows or real estate open houses. You will learn your personal preferences and see many things that you may not have considered. With your growing file of pictures, clippings and notes you are ready to meet with a kitchen remodeling expert. Over a few meetings, you will work together until, together, you arrive at the best layout. This is a great milestone and marks another transition into the fun part of filling the room with innovative products and personal decorative statements. Once again, because you did your homework – or, more correctly, your kitchen work, you have got your pulse on everything you need for rejuvenating the heart of your home.