A $100k Kitchen Remodel: What Goes in it Anyway?

The $100k Kitchen Remodel: What Goes into it Anyway?

You’ve seen luxury kitchens in magazines and TV shows, but you may not have realized just what goes into the design of a luxury kitchen.  From jaw-dropping kitchen design to professional-grade appliances, we will break down what it takes to create your ultimate luxury kitchen.

What is the $100K Kitchen?

This simply refers to a residential top-of-the-line kitchen.  Once kitchen begin to approach this price point, they cease to be just another great kitchen remodel; they become a work of art in their own right.  Not only a space to make memories with friends and family, but a space that elevates a home to a new social status!

Kitchens of this caliber can vary massively in cost depending on square footage and material selections, but it’s not uncommon for them to cost as much as one-fifth of a home’s value.  That’s a serious investment that requires serious consideration.

Why a $100K Kitchen?

Owning a luxury kitchen is more than just optimizing space and quality materials.  It’s a mindset, a lifestyle. It’s the conscious decision to purchase and construct a space that goes beyond maximizing time with friends and family.  It doesn’t just provide an ideal space to prepare the day’s cuisine.  A $100K kitchen utterly astounds and astonishes all who experience it, and at the end of the night dominates their dreams.

But don’t confuse this with common snobbery!  The $100K kitchen is for owners who know and appreciate the very best in materials, design, and technology.  It’s a space that can be enjoyed equally by all who enter: professional chefs, bakers, and those with no desire to prepare meals at all.

The $100K kitchen is a day-to-day dining area, a formal dining overflow area, a buffet, a work space, a meeting space, a decompression space.  It is as utilitarian as a commercial kitchen, while cleverly disguising itself as a magazine cover kitchen!

So what goes into a luxurious kitchen?  Glad you asked!

Elements of the $100K Kitchen

Jaw-Dropping Design

The foundation of the $100K kitchen is no different than any other successful kitchen reimagination: thorough architectural design, a style that fits the home and the owner, and optimal layout planning.  Modern interior architectural styles that focus on more ornate elements tend to be more visually striking:

  • French Country
  • Shabby Chic
  • Bohemian
  • Modern Farmhouse
  • Rustic
  • Modern Country
  • and, to a lesser extent, Traditional and Transitional

A visually-striking style means nothing if the layout makes it frustrating to use.  The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) guidelines are the basis for successful planning, and your designer should be an expert at using these guidelines.

Brilliant Lighting and Color

All the beautiful colors and surfaces in the $100K kitchen don’t mean anything if the lighting doesn’t optimize their appearance!

Lighting and color are the two most important factors in any space, yet these are the last things homeowners usually consider. Ignoring light and color is a recipe for disaster!  It is the driving force behind all the emotion experienced in a space, but even more so for kitchens.  Luxury kitchens need bright task lighting while preparing meals, and soft lighting that still highlights all of the nuisances and high-end excellence during casual get-togethers.

Colors need to be considered and observed upon each surface and throughout the day’s changing light spectrum.  For a luxury kitchen this often means having flooring samples down, sample cabinet doors hung, walls samples painted (and repainted) and different window treatments applied, so that a true representation of every color and light selection can be observed, and to see how they compliment or clash.

Professional-Grade Appliances

What separates varying degrees of consumer-grade appliances from professional grade? Literally everything. Ranges that hold precise temperature, exhaust hoods that remove all odors and smoke, refrigerators that quickly reach temperature after opening the door, freezers that are completely sealed and dehumidify quickly (preventing food waste from freezer burn), dishwashers that you can’t hear even standing right next to them, that blast dishes and flatware clean the first time.

Worried about commercial grade appliances in a residential kitchen? Opt for “pro-sumer” grade, where you get the quality, durability, and function of commercial-grade appliances, without the worry of, say, a broiler that reaches 800-1000 degrees!

How about the ability to replace the door skins of these appliances with panels that perfectly match your cabinets, making them blend seamlessly?  Now that’s luxury!

Luxury Custom Cabinets

Luxury cabinetry is made from the highest grade lumber, and designed not only to look amazing, but to last for generations.  The catalyzed finishes now come in any color imaginable, and are resistant to nearly every cleaning solution and method.  With glazing and a wide variety of glass door panels available, a $100K kitchen can have cabinetry that is truly bespoke!

High-quality cabinet hardware is also a must-have so that heavy, quality doors and drawers close softly and silently against their frame.  Luxury handles and pulls can gently patina over time, adding to their beauty and uniqueness, or maintain a bright, polished appearance that will never fade.  The options are now limitless.

Amazing Countertops

Counter material has come a long way in the past few decades, and the technology used to fabricate them makes any configuration possible.

Natural luxury counter material is an old-world luxury that has been appreciated for ages. Common luxury natural materials include granite, marble, soapstone, wood (think butcher block slabs) and other exotic stone. Granite, in particular, has become popular among luxury kitchen owners because of its versatility; the stone can be light or dark with infinite colors and patterns available.

Common luxury man-made materials include quartz and polished concrete.  Quartz is by far the most popular due to the fact the slab manufacturers can mimic nearly any natural material (marble, onyx, granite), and it is virtually maintenance-free.

When it comes to complimenting designs, backsplashes are no longer an afterthought. They’ve become a focal point of the kitchen, and a luxury to be enjoyed. Whether it’s a beautiful mosaic tile or a modern stainless steel panel, backsplashes have taken on the role of art in kitchens across America. As with any other part of your kitchen, you should make sure that your backsplash is made from high-quality materials that will last for years to come – but don’t forget about style! You’ll want something that not only complements your cabinets and countertops but also reflects who you are as an individual.

Is a $100K Kitchen Right for You?

Luxury kitchens aren’t only for celebrity chefs.  In fact, owners of luxury kitchens might not even like to cook!  Is the $100K kitchen right for you?  Let’s dive deeper and take a look!

True luxury kitchens are just as much about the intangible as they are the material components.  Luxury kitchens are an attitude – a mindset – representation of a lifestyle.  At the extreme end of the spectrum it can be purely a symbol of wealth and status.

Many average modern homes are void of classical architectural style.  In these cases, the $100K kitchen can help to set the tone for the rest of the house, and make it more inviting.  This is a space that simultaneously pulls everyone in with its massive charismatic gravity, and radiates its style and beauty to the adjoining rooms and sometimes even the entire floor!

Luxury kitchens are for those who know and appreciate real quality and value.  As I mentioned before, we’re talking about the difference between furniture and appliances that come with a one to three-year warranty, and those which will outlast  their owners.

And speaking of value, with a 2020 national average return on investment of 54% for major upscale kitchen remodels, luxury kitchens can significantly increase the sale value and potential of your home!

How to Choose a 100K Kitchen Builder

When considering a $100K kitchen, choosing the right team is critical!  You don’t need a designer selling a fantasy that no one can build, and the best crafts-people out there can’t build your dream with a poorly-drawn design and plan.

Enter: The Design-Build Team

Design-Build companies come with the inherent advantage of having both the design team and construction team under one contract.  They work together, and have a symbiotic relationship that yields results greater than the sum of their abilities.

The Process

No matter whom you chose for your dream kitchen, the process should be clear, logical, and easily followed throughout.  Since a Design-Build team works together always their basic process never changes.  Because of that they can confidently lead you trough every step, answering questions before they’re asked, and make you feel like you’re a critical part of it instead of an outsider once the contract is signed.


The most critical, fundamental aspect of any project team, and the biggest cause for praise and complaints from homeowners, is communication.  Design-Build teams hold a distinct advantage over run-of-the-mill builders in communications internally because everything in-house.  No emails ignored, phone calls missed or meetings rescheduled between the designer and builder.  And when internal communication is excellent, customer communication is excellent.

The 100K Kitchen Remodel Process

You’ve chosen your design-build team, you’ve made your selections, floor plans are complete, and a permit has been issued.  What’s next?

Get Out!

Major remodeling means major mess and mess-control: floor protection, dust barriers, dust extraction, and so on.  There are plenty of loud noises, and the equipment making them poses health and safety risks to those unfamiliar with them.  Your contractor likely had a clause in the contract terms that prohibits family members from occupying the active construction areas of the home, and with good reason.  Major construction poses a risk to everyone, curious children and pets especially.

Your best options for dealing with this are:

  1. Move your kitchen and family area to another part of the home, like a finished basement, if available.
  2. Send kids and pets to stay with grandparents or friends.  You might be rough-it for a few weeks to a month, but kids and pets can introduce compounding frustration during these times.  Not to mention certain vapors and particulates can cause real harm to them.
  3. Take a Staycation!  Move into a local hotel, and explore adjoining cities and states that you’ve always wanted to, but will “get to it another time.”
  4. Treat yourself to an all-out vacation!  Homeowners may be nervous about leaving their home in the hands of near strangers, but modern security technology may provide a suitable solution.  At Mortise & Miter, we’re able to provide independent, secure, encrypted monitoring of our construction area that also allows for two-way communication and walk-throughs.  This gives homeowners peace of mind knowing they can monitor their project anywhere on Earth.

Everything Must Go!

That’s right – all of it.  The first step in correctly constructing a luxury kitchen is stripping the existing space down to the studs.  Why do this if the existing walls are fine?  Because professional-grade appliances need professional-grade gas and water supplies.  Professional-grade ovens and broilers need not only additional heat shielding and insulation, but special drywall and wall-finishing products.

High-end ventilation requires walls to be opened for larger ducts.  Sinks being moved, electrical cables being run to an island, task lighting everywhere, all adds-up to starting from scratch.  And to be honest, it’s the correct way to do it.   

The Show Begins!

Think of your carefully-selected design-team’s project manager or lead carpenter as a director, planning not only the overall flow of the performance, but also the interaction between all the performers on-, and off-stage, making sure it all comes together in one flawlessly executed show.

“Can a major remodel always go as smoothly as planned,” you ask?  Don’t we all wish.  The truth is, there are more factors outside of our control than we’d care to discuss.  Among them are suppliers, material shortages, price spikes, weather, unforeseen circumstances in the existing structure, illness, accidents, and on, and on, and on.

The difference between a professional project lead and your local handyman is that a real pro with real experience already knows these curveballs are on the way, and has a plan to mitigate or eliminate them altogether.  I take pride in knowing that the biggest “oh s**t” moments of my projects have never been known by my customers.  It caused them neither one ounce of concern, nor a dollar extra.

While every project is a little different, they all share a basic workflow: demolition, framing and insulation, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, wall & ceiling finish, and then any combination of finish work, with the PM trying to keep everything moving without a complete traffic jam.