Using the Web
The Internet is an ocean of information—but its sheer size is one of its drawbacks. Another is the unexpected directions your search will take you. Start looking for tips on remodeling your kitchen and you may end up finding a recipe for Amish pickles.
Here are a few sites that are useful for kitchen remodeling:
The official site of the National Kitchen & Bath Association
) is a good place to start. It can help you find a designer or retailer in your area with a ZIP code search, or link you to appliance, cabinet and countertop manufacturers. In addition, there is a library of general information on design and remodeling. You can also order a planning kit for kitchen design.
If you're wondering where to shop for appliances, try www.homeappliance.com
. A simple questionnaire asks what type of appliance you want, your price range and when you plan to buy. What comes up is a list of recommended appliances, plus a list of local dealers. Retailers who sell appliances online are flagged.
Need a remodeling contractor in your area? Turn to www.improvenet.com
. The cost estimator on kitchen remodeling is also useful. It provides rough numbers on how much your project is likely to cost.
The 20-20 Kitchen Design site
) provides access to a server loaded with a limited version of the 20-20 Technologies software that many design pros use. Plans you develop here can be forwarded to a retailer in your area for fine-tuning and revisions, saving both you and the showroom people a lot of time.
Kitchen design is only one of many home care-related topics available at www.DIYonline.com
. Useful background articles cover kitchen design basics, technology and how to pick a remodeling contractor. Design software, with a downloadable work sheet, will help you visualize cabinet styles, color schemes and room layout.
You'll find products, a directory of retailers, a question-and-answer section and a good description of basic kitchen design rules at www.kitchen-bath.com
. Best of all, this site is fun to read, witty and full of good information—it's never a bore.
Manufacturers of cabinets, appliances, countertop materials and flooring also offer their own Web pages. Some are better than others when it comes to offering general design information, but they usually are helpful in learning about specific products. Some sites have easy-to-use catalogs that allow you to price different products. Many of these sites are found simply by adding a ".com" to the brand name. for example (www.whirlpool.com