Try This At HomeIf Jessica could give you just one piece of advice: "Figure out what's most important to you and that's where you'll put the most resources in your kitchen design," she says. "If you're a serious cook and everyone comes to your place for the holidays, don't skimp on the appliances. Get the best, and then maybe buy drawers or cabinets that are veneer instead of solid, to compensate. There's always a way to get a look for less in areas that aren't as important to you.
"If the point of your kitchen is to have something to show off, but not as much a place for everyday cooking, go for that granite and then pull back a bit on, say, the appliances. You can still buy stainless steel but at a lower price point, not the professional quality. And keep in mind, it's a personal decision. There are some things you find that you value so much you can't even put a dollar amount on them."
Meet the Designer
"I like to help people understand that only by taking some risks do you get to express yourself," says Jessica Kalina, a designer for more than nine years who holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in Interior Design from Chicago's International Academy of Design and Technology. She is a member of the National Kitchen & Bath Association and also teaches seminars for people getting ready to embark on a kitchen or bath remodel. Recent projects include several high-rise condominiums in Chicago and more than 50 high-profile showroom displays in the greater Chicago area.