One of the questions that we get most often when people are considering a bathroom or kitchen remodel is, “How much is my kitchen going to cost?”  Choosing “how” you want to approach your home renovation project will play a huge factor in the true cost that you will pay. (Not much of a reader? Click here to watch our video of this same content.)

Often, people focus on just the total dollar amount without considering other important “costs”. We like to share with clients what we believe is the True Cost of a Remodel. The formula that we use looks like this:

Time + Money + Frustration & Stress = the True Cost of a remodeling project.

Ask any married couple who has entered into a home renovation project with the goal of saving money at the expense of all sanity. Were there arguments? Were there delays? Were there things that had to be redone? This is what we refer to when we discuss time required and frustration endured. Read on for more details.

4 Different Ways or approaches to accomplish a kitchen or bath renovation, or any home remodel for that matter.

  1. DIY (do it yourself).
  2. Self-Contracting
  3. General Contractor
  4. Design/Build

Let’s take a look at number one, DIY.


Most people are familiar with this concept. A lot of us have attempted to do a home improvement project by ourselves and the thing to be aware of is that you have to have plenty of time. Chances are you don’t install cabinets, set tile measure and cut flooring every day. You will probably need to take some time to do research and to look at YouTube videos, brush up on some math calculations of square footage plus waste, and collect samples for matching counter tops, light switches, paint colors and more. You may not do it right the first time so you may have to do something over again, but this is a good scenario for somebody that maybe already has some experience in the trades, perhaps having learned a few things from a family member. A great tip here is to humbly evaluate your skill level and know when to put yourself on the bench. The biggest Pro to the do it yourself approach is that it will typically take the least amount of money (as far as what you will physically write a check for). Realistically, all you will need to pay for is the materials and potentially some tools. The Con’s would include much longer timeline (particularly if this is your evening and weekend project), and also, pretty high on the stress chart (particularly if you and your family are living in and around the project while in progress).

The second is what we term self-contracting.


In this scenario, you take yourself out of the hands-on role in some or all functions of the remodel and hire professionals (often trades) to perform tasks that yo may not have experience in performing. Likely, that new tiled shower will look better because you hired a skilled craftsman who knows the tricks of the trade. If the scope of your project is larger, and involves a designer, electrician, plumber, painter, etc., then it will typically take more time to complete. Coordinating individuals, in the optimal order and laser focused on the same goal, is often more difficult than just writing them down on a calendar. This approach is a little bit more costly than to do-it-yourself as you are paying others for the skills they bring to the project. So the Pro’s would be that it could be reasonable cash investment for potentially good results. The Con’s, 1) stretched timeline due to coordinating of schedules, 2) frustration if you don’t know all the pieces involved and who to hold accountable for each piece, 3) harder to pinpoint and stay on budget with multiple factors involved, 4) more individuals in and out of your home, 5) any problems in the future may be difficult to identify who to call.

The third one is general contracting.


This is where you hire a general contractor to come in with their trades to perform the duties of the project. Typically, with this scenario you are going to end up with a high quality project in the end. A good general contractor will have access to skilled tradespeople. The downside is they typically don’t have design capabilities in-house and may require you to source your own design and the related materials. Unfortunately, there can be a disconnect between what the designer designs and what the contractor builds. If you do not have a really high level of communication between those two, it can lead for a higher stress level during a project. So on the Pro side, there are fewer people to manage than if self-contracting and a general contractor should ensure important steps are not missed. Conversely, you will pay a higher fee for the contractors involvement but ultimately, you will be required to manage the design and production progress to ensure your expectations are met.

The fourth and final methodology for improving your home is the design/build scenario.


This is where you work with one contractor from the very beginning with initial design, all the way through the process to the build out in your home (hence, design/build). This is where DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen falls in the 4 methods of accomplishing home improvements. This method is sometimes the highest cost (Con) as far as what you actually have to write a check for but it is the easiest model (Pro) for accomplishing kitchen or bath improvement in your home. You start out working with a designer, make all your material selections (at DreamMaker you can do that all right here in our showroom) which are then included in a fixed-price contract, with full scope of work. An in-house production team will complete the entire project in your home. It is going to have the smallest time frame and it is going to be the least amount of stress that you’re going to endure doing a remodeling project. An added benefit would be the single source of contact in the future should any questions or issues arise.

Each of these Four Ways to Remodel has its individual pros and cons. Choosing the best fit for your family and your bathroom or kitchen remodel will depend on what skills you have, how much time you can put into the project, probably everyone’s level of patience, and the amount you are able to invest. We encourage you to keep in mind all costs that make up the True Cost of a Remodeling project – your time + money + frustration and stress.

In most families, the kitchen seems to attract all the miscellaneous items from everyone in the home. Cell phone chargers, recent Amazon deliveries, last week’s mail, empty boxes, etc. seem to all make their way to the kitchen. It isn’t surprising that when remodeling a kitchen, homeowners want to make sure there’s ample storage space. A good kitchen designer can creatively design space for all your miscellaneous items without making the new kitchen look like a storage unit. Here are a few of the most popular kitchen storage ideas we’re seeing at DreamMaker:

Built-in Custom Kitchen Pantry

While walk-in kitchen pantries are highly desired, sometimes they aren’t feasible from a design and layout perspective. Custom kitchen cabinet options have come a long way. Today, wall cabinets can be customized with fixed or rolling shelved, drawers, and racks to provide you with the pantry of your dreams.

Organization can be customized so there are separate compartments for canned foods, cooking spices, baking utensils, pot, pans, etc. They make it easy for you to identify which items need restocking and which need to be replenished.


Hiding Trash Cans

Exposed trash cans can be an eyesore. Cabinet manufacturers (such as Showplace Cabinets) have created glide-out wastebaskets in a variety of sizes and configurations. Many even offer convenient recycling separation options. Best of all, they are there when you need them, and gone when you don’t; making sure your kitchen always looks great.

Appliance Garages

The coffee maker, Keurig, blender, and toaster may not always need to stay visible on your kitchen countertops. An appliance garage is a hidden compartment that allows you to place small kitchen items when not in use and easily access them when needed. Once you’ve used them, you can simply close the door and they are hidden from view.

Rolling Cart 

Rolling carts have become good kitchen storage options for smaller spaces. They can serve a double purpose by acting as a small kitchen island (adding valuable storage space) as well as adding more counter space.


Utensil Drawer

The possibilities of customizing kitchen cabinetry are almost endless. A clever utensil built-into a drawer can hold all your silverware and serving utensils.

Corner Pullout Drawers

Corner pullout drawers that run diagonally into the kitchen corner, making them deeper than most, will give you that extra storage boost.

If you are in the planning phase of a kitchen remodel or just looking to step up your kitchen’s organizational potential, any of these clever kitchen storage ideas will help make your life in the kitchen a bit easier. We also offer remodeling seminars where you can learn the latest kitchen trends and better understand all the details of remodeling a kitchen; from design and layout options to product selection, through kitchen construction. Seating is limited.

At DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Springfield, we’ve remodeled hundreds of kitchens throughout the Springfield area.

Call us at (217) 529-9300

or stop by our Kitchen Showroom & Design Center at

3730 Wabash Ave. Springfield, IL 62711

The Showroom is designed to help you find your kitchen design style (traditional, contemporary, eclectic, transitional, cottage charm, French country, coastal, etc.). We also have samples of cabinetry, tile backsplash, under cabinet lighting, countertops, sinks, faucets flooring, etc.

For many decades, kitchens were once considered utilitarian spaces. Older home floor plans had well-defined spaces; such as formal living rooms, formal dining rooms, and of course kitchens. Kitchens were hidden behind closed doors and disconnected from other rooms. Today, most homeowners want larger open and multi-functional areas and want the assistance of experienced kitchen designers to create the kitchen of their dreams.

Kitchens – The Heart of the Home

Kitchens are where many families gather at the end of the day, as a result, the kitchen tends to be the heart of the home. The popularity of kitchens continues to expand and has become the welcoming focal point for guests and entertaining. Many homeowners consider the kitchen as the heart of the home. An open plan kitchen fully encapsulates that notion. We have continued to see this trend in the greater Sangamon county area here in IL. Homeowners are looking to open up their kitchens so that it flows seamlessly with adjoining rooms.


Lifestyle Changes Precede the Open Kitchen Layout

Today, we are more casual in everything we do; family members are always on the go, each needing to get things done and a place to do them. In this fast-paced lifestyle, the kitchen is a ceterpoint for family activities of all kinds. This is where the kids do their homework during the week, where you have friends over on Saturdays, and where you watch football on Sunday.

When it comes to home remodeling and updates, the kitchen tends to be the most popular spot for these plans. It’s not uncommon for people to upgrade their kitchens before they look to upgrade any other part of the home. The kitchen is an important source of food, comfort, family, and togetherness. Often, families enjoy spending time preparing a meal together or simply sitting at the dining table and going over the tasks of the day.

Cooking is no longer a one person activity. If you’re entertaining, several people could be cooking at once. In fact, having space for more than one cook is high on many wish lists. This means that space has to be found so that two people don’t continually bump into each other. This space isn’t usually inside the confines of a work triangle.

This evolution of kitchen design is underpinned by a change in lifestyle. The attraction of this style of living is the luxurious feeling of open, clear, and light space.


Removing Walls

Today, homeowners don’t want partition walls. Many seek the advice of experienced kitchen remodelers who can determine which walls are load;-bearing walls and how the home can be supported safely without them. Removing walls creates new options in terms of kitchen design and layout. New kitchens are part of open living areas that include a place for casual eating and a family room. Often, there will be a home entertainment center focusing on a wide-screen TV. The dining room is pretty much a thing of the past. If used at all, it’s only for special events.

The Importance of an Island in the Open Plan Kitchen

Open plan kitchens, with their adjacent family rooms, great rooms, or casual living spaces led to the use of kitchen islands. Islands do important things they add storage space, cut down the walking distances between work centers, and establish traffic patterns that direct people easily through the kitchen and out of the cook’s way.

Large islands function like big tables, providing room to eat or to put food out for buffet parties. They have lots of space for younger kids to do crafts or play games. For older ones; it’s an after-dinner homework area, and for adults a place to recap their day.

Islands are also natural room dividers. In open plans, there are shared elements between rooms, with specialized storage on both sides. They are also a shared design element.

Discover Your Kitchen’s Possibilities

Remodeling your kitchen is a big decision. Kitchens are one of the most complicated rooms to remodel in a home. In addition to electrical and plumbing considerations, there are many kitchen design, layout, and material selections. We believe you should consider retaining the expertise of an experienced kitchen remodeling specialist.

At DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen of Springfield, we’ve remodeled hundreds of kitchens throughout the Springfield area.

Call us at (217) 529-9300

or stop by our Kitchen Showroom & Design Center at

3730 Wabash Ave. Springfield, IL 62711

The shoroom is designed to help you find your kitchen design style (traditional, contemporary, eclectic, transitional, cottage charm, French country, coastal, etc.). We also have samples of cabinetry, tile backsplash, under cabinet lighting, countertops, sinks, faucets flooring, etc.