Complete Home Renovations Atlanta Home Improvements "I make it a practice to not recommend contractors, vendors... etc. Ed Cholfin of AK is the one time I make an exception and recommend without hesitation"
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AK In The News

Kitchen Remodeling Q & A With AK Complete Home Renovations

Posted by Yamini Mudaliar

(You can find Yamini & AK on Hometalk - The place for small talk & great improvements! Check out the conversation going on now - you can post questions, find ideas and even write reviews! Best of all, it's local for the Atlanta home improvement crowd!)

When AK Complete Home Renovations posted their project pictures on Hometalk they got raving reviews from all Hometalkers. I personally loved their elegant design of the French Classic yet modern kitchen renovation (to the left). The company’s posts and advice were instant hits and I wanted to learn more about their services and recent projects.  AK Complete Home Renovations is a 15-year-old Design Build firm firm and a 2007 COTY award winner.  The company is dedicated to remodeling homes that are timeless.

 The company stands out for its many unique services, tools, resources and a gallery of before-after pictures that educates a homeowner even before a remodel starts at home. Their unique method of pricing, an “All Inclusive” detailing that involves everything anticipated in the project provides the client with a comfortable budget range to complete the full scope of work. End result?  A very happy client!  This is a win-win strategy for both, the client and AK. In fact, it is a very important strategy for every Design and Remodeling firm - Choosing the right client leads to a very successful business.

 “The Key to any successful Project starts with design and planning stage. Our goal is to provide the customer with their dream design through our experience and leadership within the industry” –

 Price is a big factor for everyone when it comes to remodeling but AK strongly believes that it is not the ONLY factor involved in a successful project. Honesty, Trust, Quality, Service, Value and Design are other factors that are important as well and clients who seek these factors apart from COST alone find AK Complete Home Renovations to be the BEST fit for their remodel or facelift project.

On Hometalk AK’s project posts reached a record high of 140 and still counting comments of “Oohs! & Aah’s!” 134 & still counting “Thumbs up” from users who simply loved their work. AK continues to educate Hometalkers on kitchen remodels and one of their popular advices on Hometalk was “Easy Tips for Spring Cleaning your Kitchen” through AK’s very own Blog written by their President. Because of their popularity I was particularly interested in learning more about Kitchen remodeling and the grime and grace it involved for a homeowner.

Ideas and Suggestions from AK Complete Home Renovations:

Emily Smith is a Design Consultant with AK who shared with me a wealth of information about kitchen remodels and facelifts. Here are some realistic items a client needs to check off of a kitchen remodel to-do- list.


  • A general idea of the look and function a client hopes to accomplish with the remodel
  •  An idea of the extent of the remodel (complete tear out vs. facelift, etc.)
  •  A timeframe for completion
  •  An ideal investment amount for the remodel


Emily says an initial phone conversation kick starts the process of a kitchen remodel and she stresses, knowing the above pointers is very essential for any remodeling project. A complimentary house visit by an AK principal is scheduled once a good fit is developed between the client and AK during the phone conversation. Then a signed letter of intent binds the client’s requirements and AK’s promise of delivery, service, products and quality workmanship.

A detailed You Tube video developed by AK, documents the painstaking process and delivery of a remodel in a matter of minutes.  “It is a must see for every homeowner to understand how AK works on its projects, and get an idea of what a real remodel looks like during each phase. It’s a little different in your own home than what you see on HGTV – no time lapse or commercial breaks” says Emily.

Here are a few scenarios we may all encounter during a kitchen remodel and Emily explains to us how to go about these situations.



Kitchen Facelift –

Yamini: What are the alternatives to working with existing cabinets?

Emily: Very few production builder homes are designed for function; most were engineered to meet a certain price point. Therefore, the best answer for many of these homes is a complete tear out and redesign. However, if the remodel is limited by budget, time or another factor, these cabinets can be upgraded with molding and faux finishing for an amazing new look! This is what we would call a facelift!


Yamini: Can you suggest an alternative for improving existing counter tops?

Emily: Laminate countertops cannot be altered in any way. People have tried to paint or stain them, but this is not a viable, quality option for long-term use or safe food preparation. If the homeowner doesn’t mind the countertops and just wants to update the look of the kitchen with cabinet faux finishing, a new backsplash and new appliances – this is a possibility! However, countertops are usually not the highest ticket item in a remodel and are often the most requested item to change. Solid surface countertops have many more benefits other than just the aesthetic appeal and dramatic change to the look of the kitchen!


Yamini: What are the storage options available for homeowners to incorporate into an existing kitchen?

Emily: There are storage options that can be added to existing cabinetry, but they are much more limited than the endless options that exist for new cabinets! Existing cabinetry can have roll out drawers added, silverware caddies, pegboard drawers, potholders, etc. These are all limited by the size of the cabinets or drawers.



Complete Kitchen Remodel –

Yamini: What “Green” materials are must have’s for every kitchen?

Emily: The kitchen alone is responsible for nearly half of the home’s energy consumption, so choosing products, materials & appliances that are energy friendly will make a big impact on the home’s energy bill. (TRIVIA) Must-haves for the kitchen that are “green” factors are open, well-ventilated and well-lit spaces, special storage for sorting recycling and/or compositing and energy efficient appliances.


Yamini: What is a kitchen friendly flooring and why?

Emily: Wood plank flooring is an extremely popular option for kitchens in Atlanta. Wood can be scratched or damaged, but is no more apt to be so in the kitchen than any other room in the house. Tile is also a good option for the kitchen, mostly for the same reasons as wood: ease of cleaning and care. Cork has also become popular as it meets green requirements while also offering less stress on the legs than tile.


Yamini: What are the different options for making a small kitchen look bigger?

Emily: Any time walls are moved there is more involved in the remodel – a little additional time and expense – but it’s all within what AK does on a regular basis. Opening a wall is a great option for many homes that have small-enclosed kitchens. Open floor plans are still a popular feature for most homes and help bring families together in their home. Typically you can expect to have some electrical work, flooring work, sheetrock and painting associated with the opening or removing a wall.  Potentially, you may have to address structural issues and plumbing also.


Alpharetta Kitchen Before --



Alpharetta Kitchen After Full Facelift --

Yamini: The “work triangle”Is this still popular? What are other ways to achieve a functional kitchen?

Emily: The work triangle is out! While still applicable to many kitchens, the true proper way to design a kitchen is with landing space around appliances. When AK designs a kitchen we ask many, many questions about how the home owners cook, how they live, how they shop, etc. This allows us to design a kitchen for the way they will use it! This redesign often does involve moving plumbing or gas lines, and again, this can add small time or expense when compared to remodels where this is not necessary. However, it’s very common to do this during a complete remodel!


Yamini: When adding a kitchen island, what is the best method of ventilation and what are extra costs involved in this type of remodel?

Emily: A kitchen island can contain appliances, like a cook top, or it can simply be for prep space! Often it’s used for a sink and can contain the dishwasher. A price point is dictated by the cabinets and countertop used to create the island, whether it is multi or single level and the design extras like corbels or furniture base, etc. When using the island for a cook top you would either have a down draft type of venting or a peninsula hood.  The cost involved in addressing these 2 scenarios is predicated on many factor like - Is there a basement for us to run ductwork? What is above the kitchen to run ductwork for a hood?


Yamini: A popular remodel today is integrating office space into a kitchen, what does this involve?

Emily: A desk area made out of the same cabinetry as the kitchen is a great option for an office/mail/computer space in the kitchen. This can be integrated into the kitchen design during the remodel! Many of our kitchens incorporate a mudroom or specially designed area to off load cell phones, keys, mail, etc.  They would have built in electrical so that all the clutter can be hidden from view.


Yamini: What are some latest additions in today’s kitchens? Are energy efficient appliances popular?

 Emily: An induction cook top could assist a family in cooking up pasta, potatoes, and other large pot meals.  It is safer and more efficient than standard gas or electric. Fridge drawers are great for placing chilled food/drinks in a comfortable environment for kids to get to.


It was a really great opportunity for me to talk with Emily and learn so much about kitchens from AK Complete Home Renovations.  You can also ask more questions and make small talk with them on Hometalk for big improvements to your home!



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