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Property Pros: Q&A With Erin Foster, Owner of Foster & Company Design

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This is a sponsored column by Jim Muldoon, a Northern Virginia native, Arlington resident and one of the real estate and remodeling experts at Legacy Home Improvement Consultants. Legacy HIC is your source for all real estate and home improvement needs. Please email with any questions or topics you would like covered.

Original 8.10.15 (8)Cabinetry was the part of the kitchen that the majority of readers voted for in last week’s poll. I was able to get an interview with the renowned Erin Foster, the owner of Foster & Company Design. She is known for her expertise with design and understanding of the construction phase, as well as supplying some of the top cabinetry lines in the area.

What are the first steps to ordering cabinets?

The first step is to address what you like and what you don’t like.  I recommend starting on Houzz and Pinterest, and looking at kitchens and saving photos of what you love.  A pattern will start to emerge, and you can share those photos with your designer as a tool to help communicate what you are looking for.

The 2nd step is to identify your budget and scope of work.  Don’t be afraid to share your budget. It is crucial to provide this information to your designer and contractor so they can help you prioritize your wish list accordingly. This keeps you from spending valuable time on options that are not appropriate for your home value or total budget.  The scope of work is equally important.  Are you looking for new cabinets and countertops only, or do you also need to set aside a portion of the budget for new appliances, tile backsplash, light fixtures, and floors too?  Thinking this through ahead of time is imperative.   

Once the budget and scope of work are determined it is time to meet with your designer. These first three steps have proven to streamline the entire process.

Are there certain features that are a must have?

Everything is on the negotiable list, depending on your budget and the size of your kitchen. But, some safe bets are soft close doors and drawers, because the price difference now is so small, that is definitely worth it.  More often than not, it is standard on most cabinetry lines. Always pick wood dovetail drawers over glued and stapled drawers. The glued and stapled drawers fall apart over time.  Also, think about where your trash will go. I always recommend a double pullout wastebasket. 

What is a reasonable amount of time from the start of your cabinet search to when they are delivered?  

Four months is reasonable.  But the more time, the better. You should expect a minimum of 2 months for planning, design, drawings, revisions, and selections.  The design and selection process takes time, not just for your designer, but you also have to think about your own schedule.  A homeowner needs to be available to go see different products and options that are available. The most successful projects require all selections be made in advance of placing the cabinetry order. Appliances, sink, countertops, under-cabinet lighting, faucets, floors, door and window locations can all impact the cabinetry sizes.  Then you need to account for the manufacturing of the cabinetry and the delivery time frame, which is typically 4-6 weeks for semi custom cabinetry, and 8-12 weeks for custom cabinetry.  

What is the most popular color scheme?

In our area, white cabinetry and light countertops are still the most popular choices today.  Accents of warm grey and soft grey tones are very popular.   

What are some costs associated with purchasing cabinets that most people would not think of?

Many designs on Houzz and Pinterest are showing high-end hardware that give these kitchens the custom look that is highly desirable.  But high-end hardware adds hundreds to even thousands of dollars to the total price. These same kitchens often feature custom wood hoods, high-end sinks and faucets, built in appliances and designer light fixtures and backsplashes.  Remember to discuss these items and price points with your designer.

What are the advantages to buying new cabinets instead of re-facing old ones?

Refacing can be almost as expensive as replacing cabinetry.  Refacing is a good choice if the cabinet boxes, drawers, and glides are still in great condition, if the countertop is already updated, and the layout of the kitchen is exactly what you want to keep.  Replacement is usually the right choice if you want to update your countertops, change your layout, or improve the quality and longevity of the interiors of the cabinets.   

Email me at [email protected] with any questions or topics you would like me to discuss. Be sure to follow us on Instagram @LegacyHomesDMV and like our Facebook page Legacy Home Improvements for project inspiration and breaking news.

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