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Remodeling Musts for Your Kitchen: An Interview with Jason Carducci of JP Carducci Inc.

By Jason Carducci

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

JP Carducci Inc. was founded in 2004, starting with minor remodeling/handyman services and now has grown into a full-service construction company specializing in new construction of ICF (insulated concrete forms), kitchen remodeling and bathroom remodeling.

Our company thrives on referral business. We are currently operating around a 98% referral rate, which is an awesome feeling for myself and my team. Our company won a few awards in 2014, one being Finest on the Emerald Coast, Kitchen Remodeling. Remodeling is something we have been proud of. Hopefully we can carry it into 2015!

I believe what sets our company apart from the rest is the envelopes we will push for designs as most do what is comfortable or traditional we go for more of the edgy, modern and bold look. My M.O. is "I do not want to do what everyone else is doing." Now that we have a few of our own designs out there it is really nice when clients just let us do it; they give us some colors, tile pieces and/or style and just let us run with it. This makes the projects extremely exciting. We have now started our own YouTube channel that gives our viewers an inside look of our projects past, present and upcoming. We are very fortunate to be as busy as we are and are very thankful to all of our clients.

What are some of the most common reasons that people want to remodel their kitchen?

A lot of reasons. Ugly, dated, not my style, doesn't function well, in bad shape, need to sell, etc. , just to name a few. Out of all those I would say the number one reason is dated.

What are the basic choices that a homeowner will need to make before the construction starts?

I honestly would have to say there is no basic choice. There really is only one choice: find the piece you love or absolutely have to have in the kitchen (tile, granite, cabinet color, etc.) and that's where you start. Make your other selections off of that and the process seems to be easier and a lot less stress. The kitchen usually just starts to come together.

Can you briefly talk about how to set a realistic budget that can hopefully be maintained?

Do not listen to reality shows, period. I think the last report said an average kitchen remodel is $50K, that's crazy! Budget is the most important part of the process but the most difficult part to keep. I recommend clients include a 10%-15% cushion because 99% of the time you are going over. Why you ask? We are Americans we love the wow factor and most of us get caught up in that - not that it's a bad thing but it can take your budget right out the window.

Start with layout: are you changing it or not? It's a lot easier to budget if you keep the same layout because that means you have no major electrical changes or plumbing changes. Then start with a cabinet count and multiply that by $500-$600 per cabinet, for example 15 cabinets = $9,000. But please do not get me wrong. There are a lot more factors that play into cabinet pricing. Amenities are your price maker or breaker. Please do not be upsold on soft close drawers and doors; nowadays they come standard. (If they don't, call me I'll send you to the right cabinet company). If I had to put an average number on a budget start at $25,000.

What are the areas/features in a kitchen that homeowners should spend the most money on?

Tough one! I think it's an overall wow factor you want to focus on, the end result. It has to flow, it has to compliment you and your style. Countertops and backsplashes are the number thing that will get this and make you feel great about the money you spent. The hardest part about this is you have to be open minded to new designs and features but at the same time be conservative on what the feature will truly bring in value.

How should people decide on the type of new flooring to have installed?

Flooring is a preference wood, tile, cork, laminate, etc. Wood is finally getting more common around here, now that people have learned you are not going to stop wood from scratching and it takes a lot of water to damage it. Tile is your most durable choice but only porcelain; ceramic is soft. Make the choice on what you love and what you want. My two biggest no-no's are cork and laminate. Cork wears really fast and truly isn't all that great of a product. Most laminate is cheap and absorbs water like a sponge. The old saying rings true when selecting flooring, "you get what you pay for."

Is there anything I didn't ask about remodeling that you wish more homeowners knew about?

Be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. It's construction, anything can go wrong, materials coming in damaged, shipping times delayed and the most important one, the unforeseen. Yes I am a contractor but I cannot see into your walls. I do not know what previous owners did in the past or if there's damage that cannot be seen from the outside. It happens all the time. This is where that cushion we mentioned in your budget comes handy.

The most important part of these remodels is do not start anything until you have everything picked out and cabinets have arrived where they can be checked for damage. You have waited this long, no need to rush to be without a kitchen for something that could have been prevented.

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