The $70,000 Dream Kitchen Makeover

Here's how to get the most out of your luxury makeover.

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Granite may cost more but pays for itself with durability and style.

A $70,000 makeover is best for someone who plans to spend more than seven years in their house. Forget what potential buyers might want in a kitchen and think more about what your dream kitchen should include. "Most people put off what they want to do with their kitchen for too long," says Janice Anne Costa. At this price point, you can invest in what your ideal kitchen would have. Nevertheless even at this cost, she reminds us, "Everyone cares about value, even at the high end."

While custom-ordering cabinets is de rigueur when you can spend this type of money, this is also where you can personalize the detailing. Want ornate French country or Queen Anne-style moldings? Here's where you can take the chance on more luxurious woods, like mahogany and decorative styles. In fact, highly decorative or period styles, advises Janice Anne, should only be chosen at this price point because, at the lower budget ends, the risk of authenticity is too high.

Go natural with marble, granite and other long-lasting materials now. Granite tends to be the most coveted because of its captivating combination of texture and durability, along with its ease of use: Put a hot pot directly on the surface, roll out dough and even cut on it without a scratch!

Look beyond appliances with merely new features. At this price point, you're seeking out cosmetic add-ons like furniture features for a family-room look or more than one of the same appliance so you can dedicate each to a specific function. A trio of sinks relegates food prep, dirty dishes and a beverage station to separate areas while multiple refrigerator drawers make it easy for on-the-go kids to grab snacks and drinks. Additional items, like this stylish updraft vent hood from Bosch and built-in appliances ranging from an espresso machine to a vegetable steamer, are viable options for kitchens in this budget.

Of course, to bring all these fine products together, opening up your kitchen's floor plan is a smart idea. And opening up the conventional kitchen space so it blends into the dining or living room is one of the popular high-end requests, according to Carmen Giralt, New York design director and showroom manager for Bulthaup in New York City. "Cooking becomes part of your entertainment when you host in such a well-designed and beautiful space."

In one of Bulthaup's most popular new floor plans, called b3, cabinetry and appliances "float" on walls, revolutionizing the concept of "built-ins" to "bolt-ons." It's one of the latest innovations in kitchen design — at least for now.

$70K Tip: When you have the ease to choose your style, consider your clutter factor. Old World styles (think rustic Tuscany or Spanish Colonial) are more forgiving of everyday kitchen messes than sleek and streamlined modern European styles, according to Costa. Driven by a minimalism aesthetic, your collectibles and family photos may look misplaced in this contemporary, utilitarian setting.

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