Stephanie Anderson July 26, 2012
Kitchen need renovating? Costs can run up to $50,000.
Cooking up the perfect kitchen can make for an expensive recipe, writes Stephanie Anderson
Fans of the yellow-skinned, four-fingered family The Simpsons may remember the episode when Marge treats herself to a shiny new kitchen.
Standing in the cartoon marvel of stainless steel, she remarks that ''when Virginia Woolf wrote A Room of One's Own, she must have meant the kitchen''.
Anyone who has read the classic feminist text knows it has nothing to do with stove tops and floating island benches, but that hasn't stopped my friends and family from being whipped into a financial frenzy over the state of their kitchens.
It starts innocently enough with my housemate coming home from a shopping trip with a new dinner set, or my brother calling to boast about a new barbecue.
But spurred on by the likes of MasterChef, it escalates and I'm now hearing about the search for a new ''old-fashioned'' stove - to match the retro mix-master - and house-hunting visions of finding the perfect breakfast nook/ceramic sink combo.
I may know nothing about the superiority of slate bench tops or sinks that look like urinals, but I am able to offer one word of advice: buy a home with a half-decent kitchen, because fixing one can be expensive.
Ian Agnew, the ACT and NSW general manager of Archicentre- the building design, inspection and advice service of the Australian Institute of Architects - says fully renovating a conventional kitchen can cost up to $50,000.
Agnew says reality television and increased interest in celebrity chefs has been pushing the room into the spotlight.
''Far from being a drab backroom, the kitchen has become part of the entertaining area, with the guests all getting a view of their meal being prepared,'' he says. And preparation is also key to redoing a kitchen, Agnew says.
''Before starting to renovate a kitchen, it is appropriate to assess the timing and the aim of the renovation,'' he says.
''If you are renovating to sell the property it can sometimes be better to leave the kitchen un-renovated, allowing the new owner to renovate to their own style.
''Renovating the kitchen to improve the home for your family is totally different to renovating to sell.''
Agnew says an environmental focus is also a trend on the increase in kitchen renovations.
''The increasing cost of energy prices is also focusing renovators on utilising natural light and energy-efficient appliances,'' he says.
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