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Q: What makes a kitchen more or less expensive?

A: Cabinets account for about half the total cost of the project and will have the greatest impact on your budget. They range in price considerably based on quality, the type of material they are made of, and whether they are stock (ready made in specific sizes) or custom (produced specifically for your kitchen in whatever sizes are needed). The material you choose for surfaces including counters, back splashes and floors can also account for variations in price.

Other key elements that factor in to the equation are talent and workmanship. Our accomplished designers, skilled sub-tradesmen and expert installation crew will help you stay within your budget. We are sure you'll appreciate their ability every time you use your kitchen.

Q: How can I possibly pay for a new kitchen?

A: Like any major purchase, you should only spend what you can afford to spend. That means setting a budget and sticking to it. You work with our professional kitchen designer, he'll help you make the most of it - and he'll respect the budget you've set.

As for payment, there are a number of options. Some homeowners tap into personal savings to get the kitchen of their dreams. Others take out home equity loans. If you're buying a house and know you'll need to remodel the kitchen, you may be able to incorporate the costs in your mortgage.

Q: What can I do myself to help cut costs?

A: How much you can or should attempt to do depends on your ability and knowledge of remodeling. You'll definitely be able to tear out old cabinets (be careful not to damage walls and beams), take up old vinyl flooring and handle trash removal. You may also want to paint or wallpaper on your own. You're better off letting the pros handle plumbing and appliance hook-ups -- if you try it on your own, you may violate building codes or invalidate manufacturer warranties. And let our professional installer put your new cabinets in so that they look their best.

Q: What about contracts and orders?

A: Before any work begins on your kitchen, you will get detailed, written estimates, project specifications and signed contracts from Naples Kitchen & Design. We are fully licensed and insured. We will give you references you may contact. Our designer will prepare project drawings including floor plans and renderings that clearly represent your project. If anything changes mid-project, you will be asked to sign a change order.

Q: What about payment?

A: Our company will require a percentage (usually 50 percent or so) when you sign the contract, additional payment (usually 40 percent or so) when cabinets are delivered or installation begins, and the balance (10 percent or so) when the job is complete. We may also require you to pay a design retainer at the start of the job.

Q: What is the kitchen "work triangle" and why is it important?

A: The "work triangle" is the kitchen area from the refrigerator to the main cooking area to the main sink. Connect the three and it should form a triangle (unless you have a 'one-wall' kitchen). It's important because at or immediately adjacent to the triangle's points all the key kitchen activities -- food preparation, cooking and clean up -- take place. The work triangle helps to ensure that your kitchen will be functional. It keeps cooking activities centered in one area, with all the necessities close at hand.

Q: Where's the best place to put a microwave?

A: Like most things about your new kitchen, it will depend on how you and your family use the appliance. From a safety and accessibility standpoint, the microwave should be positioned so that the bottom of the appliance is 24" to 48" above the floor. Consult with your designer for the best place to locate it.

Q: What is GFCI and do I need it?

A: GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters. GFCI monitors the balance of electrical current moving through the circuit. If an imbalance occurs, GFCI cuts off the electricity. Its purpose is to prevent fatal electrical shocks. As you know, water and electricity are a deadly combination. Since both are necessary in kitchens and bathrooms, all switches, sockets, breakers and circuits for those rooms should be GFCI protected for your family's safety.

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