Bilotta Advice Corner

Are you ready to embark on a kitchen renovation? With all the options out there, are you unsure of where to start? Most people are, so we asked a handful of our designers that, if they could give one piece of advice to someone starting a kitchen renovation, what would that be? The following are what they find most important.

According to designer RitaLuisa Garcés from our New York City showroom, her advice is to “Pick your appliances first!” Then she says, “Trust the professionals. Find a designer that hears you (that you “click” with) and understands your needs. If you like to cook, make sure you have all the right appliances to be able to do so. And let your designer design around them.

White Bilotta recessed panel cabinets and wall tile contrast with dark flooring and blue, black and gold accents.
This project was designed in collaboration with Hirshson Design + Architecture. Photography by Stefan Radtke.

Next, we talked to designer Jeff Eakley from our Mamaroneck showroom. He is in agreement with Rita. He tells clients to research appliances and plumbing fixtures before they start to look at the cabinetry and layout. “They don’t have to pick out the brand but they need to have an idea on sizes, finishes, etc. so the cabinetry can be designed around it.”

View end of island with brass faucet and range in the background with dark brown cabinets, stainless steel hood with brass band and hardware
This project was designed in collaboration with KA Design Group. Photography by Julie Leffell.

Designer Jeni Spaeth, who works out of our Greenwich showroom, tells her clients to gather “target” images (from magazines, social media…) and bring those to their first meeting so the designer knows what their vision is – and have a price point in mind. Then trust the process. The designer has your best interests in mind at all times and is not there to “upsell” you, but rather to help you navigate a very complicated process that involves vision, timing, money, and (believe it or not) psychology – and they want you to have a good time! Kitchens are big ticket items and there can be a lot of fear – make it fun and collaborative.

Designer Paula Greer, CKD, also from our Mamaroneck showroom, is right alongside Rita and Jeff on choosing the appliances. But her reasoning is different – lead times. Delays remain historically high due to underlying supply chain issues, delivery delays, and inventory backups so it’s important to select and order appliances early in the process. She adds that flexibility and patience is key – maybe hold on to your existing refrigerator so you have a backup until the one you ordered arrives.

Traditional kitchen with inset Bilotta cabinetry in a mix of Farrow & Ball light blue and natural cream. Counter tops are Danby marble with La Cornue range and oak accents.
Photography by Stefan Radtke

Paula, however, couldn’t pinpoint just one piece of advice. She continued on with “prioritize the cabinetry!” Investing in quality cabinetry should be at the top of the list, according to Paula. “Purchase the best quality cabinetry that your budget allows. It’s the main fixture of the kitchen and needs to stand the test of time and potential abuse. Appliances, countertops, tile backsplashes, etc. can be replaced at reasonable costs down the road, or even changed out multiple times over the course of the cabinetry’s lifetime. The cabinets are typically the largest part of the project and become the focal point that all other selections are made around – so again, prioritize their finish, door style, etc.”

Aston Smith, a designer in our New York City showroom, simply says: “Shoot high, design what you really want and scale back from there if you must.

Traditional kitchen with Bilotta custom inset cabinets that are painted with Benjamin Moore Super White and polished chrome hardware.
Photography by Stefan Radtke

That way you’ll know you got the most out of the experience and investment, you’ll love what you have and never play the ‘woulda, shoulda, coulda’ game in your head!”

Next we spoke to designer Jeaninne Comstock from our Mt. Kisco location. She also had two pieces of advice. She says it’s important to consider the overall design of your home when making selections to ensure the kitchen complements the style for a cohesive flow from one room to another. woman sits on floor with a drawing of her kitchen in background Especially with the trend of having one big open space for the kitchen and “great room”. Her second piece of advice is to plan for ample storage. “You want everything to fit the way you are used to – or even better than you’re used to. Take inventory of what your current storage needs are to ensure the redesign of the kitchen can accommodate those needs.”

And last, but certainly not least, Mamaroneck designer, Dulcie Acompora tells her clients to make it their own! She says, “I want my clients to walk into their kitchens every day and say, ‘this is my space and I love it!’

Contemporary kitchen with gray and white flat-panel cabinets. The countertops and backsplash are gray marble.
Photography by Stefan Radtke

It should be designed to suit their specific functions and style. The latest trends, or what their neighbors have, won’t always be the best choice to make them happy and comfortable in their new kitchen space. They need to do what they will love!”