1. To stay on deadline, be available. By keeping in constant contact with the contractors, I was always able to answer questions quickly to keep things moving along.
2. Preorder your appliances. Have all appliances delivered and ready to install before construction starts to prevent potential lag time.
3. Examine your grocery basket. I wanted everything to fit well in my pantry, so I measured my fattest spice jar (Tony Chachere’s!), my widest soup can, and my tallest cereal box.
4. Rethink existing cabinets. Are they in decent shape? Thankfully, mine were. I really saved on costs by making them work with only minor upgrades (paint and hardware).
5. Consider your lifestyle. When choosing a sink, I wanted to have one big enough to bathe the kids in and to hide all my dirty dishes in, in case of unexpected company.
6. Always add personal touches to your space. I hung my 2-year-old’s small but colorful picture on my gallery wall—he loves seeing his art in the mix.
7. Remember, pretty can be durable. To protect my often-used sofa from food and drink spills, I had the fabric treated with stain-resistant Nano-Tex (nanotex.com).