Cabinets of the Desert | Enhancing Your Desert Living Experience

General Remodel Check List – Wish List

Take this Remodel Check List and make it your Remodel Wish List. It was developed by the principals at Cabinets of the Desert when they were remodeling contractors.

Our purpose here is to address the most important aspects of the remodeling process in order to help you arrive at a practical end product in a style to suit you and within your budget. The emphasis is on you. Our goal is for you to create and fill a space that realizes your vision and relates to your lifestyle.  Good remodelers/interior designers will not seek to impose their personality, style and ideas upon the client’s home.  Their purpose should be the opposite. They should learn about your tastes and preferences and make the final product all about you.  They will certainly make remodel and design suggestions and comments intended to help your thinking; but will want all design decisions to be yours and for you to be comfortable with them.

We offer this Check List in order to help you explore, refine and structure your thoughts and develop your Wish List of exactly what it is you want to achieve with your remodel project.

This Check List to Wish List is to help you and your interior designer/contractor map out the entire project from start to finish. It also helps the due diligence that is necessary in project planning, budgeting and execution; and also in anticipating and heading off potential surprises along the way.

Your responses to the questions in the Check List will start an interactive planning process among you and your interior designer/contractor. Use the right hand margin for any detailed comment. Otherwise, just indicate your reaction by circling or highlighting words in the text. No need to answer all questions – just the ones that are important to you.  Your interior designer/contractor will want to understand the wants, needs, likes, dislikes, and priorities that will make up your Wish List.  This Check List is designed to make this as easy as possible.

First, some broad questions:Off the top of your head, what are the three topics that come immediately to mind when you think of your remodel project?Have you worked with a remodeler/designer before? What was your experience?

Are you planning to remodel the entire space (interior / exterior) or partial, such as kitchen or bathrooms? (We have separate specialized worksheets for kitchen and bathroom.)

Do you have a budget in mind?

What is your timeline?


Permanent residence or vacation home (perhaps eventual permanent residence)?

Will it be used in a rental program?

Household Members: How many adults, children, pets?

Any special needs? Counter height, door width, disabled, elderly, very young?

Is entertaining important?

Our entertaining style is: formal / informal /  both

How many guests, typically?

Entertaining type? Meals, music, games, watching TV, indoor / outdoor, other

What cooking facilities are required? Standard / professional

Does more than one person cook at a time?

Where do you like to eat meals? Dining table, kitchen table, kitchen counter, family room, other

Hobbies? Reading, entertaining, cooking , TV / home theater, music, crafts / sewing, sports, other

Any technical needs? Computers, wireless, DSL/satellite, surround sound, home theater, other

Home Office? Necessary? If so, any special needs (lighting, soundproofing, computers, etc.)?

Lighting? (Please check any locations that need additional lighting): Bedrooms, bathrooms, office, kitchen/nook, living room, family room

Storage needs? Multipurpose furniture, books, closet storage / organizers / garage storage


(Note these choices may be restricted by the HOA)

Exterior features that are most important to you?  Patio for dining, covered patio,  Pool, Spa, Fire pit/fireplace, BBQ, Sun deck/private spa, putting green, bar/outdoor kitchen, outdoor dining, fountain/water feature, courtyard garden entry. If these already exist, will you want to change or upgrade?


Do you want to add balconies, windows, window seats or patios?

Do you prefer higher ceilings (11’ plus) or lower ceilings (8’ to 10’)? Coffers / soffits

Do you want to alter doorway sizes? Higher / wider / lower / narrower

Do you want to change / upgrade the front door or entryway?

Do you want to display artwork or collections? In wall niches, for example. Does this need special lighting?

What interior features are important? wet bar with seating, basic wet bar, dry bar (no sink), refrigerator in bar, fireplace in living room or great room or bedroom, whirlpool/soaking tub in master suite, separated closets in master suite, guesthouse/casita, other? If they exist are they to be upgraded?

What fireplace treatment do you have in mind: New mantle, surround, hearth?

Do you want to add a fireplace, sitting area, or outside patio in the master suite? If they exist are they to be upgraded?

Are there any other amenities that you wish to change/add in the master suite?

Do you want to add bedrooms or bathrooms?

Do you want to add a “snore room” to keep the peace at night? It could double as a gym or reading room or den.

Do you want to enlarge rooms to create additional space?

Do you want to move / alter partition walls to create space / light?

Would you like to provide extra space for visitors such as a guest or entertainment room, attached suite, or detached casita?

Do you want to add: formal dining room, formal living room, breakfast nook, den or office, air conditioned storage, home theater, wine room/storage, butler pantry, exercise room, other. If they exist do you want to change / upgrade?


Do you want to change the lighting in your home? How much lighting control do you wish to have?

Do you want to add a central vacuum system?

Do you want to install sound systems?

Do you want to add an automation system? If so, what functions should be automated, Audio/video, lighting, drapes, awnings or sunscreens, security screens, gates?


Are “Green” objectives important to you? Will you weigh cost and benefit?

Is heating /cooling adequate?

Are there adequate electrical sockets, telephone / cable outlets?

Is lighting adequate? Where does it need to be improved? Do you need more natural light? Would you add solar tubes or skylights?

Indicate items of interest: energy efficient air-conditioning system, energy efficient appliances, indoor air quality items such as low VOC (volatile organic compound) in paint, lumber and glue, low “E” or dual pane windows, shaded windows, covered entrances, new insulation, duct sealing. If these areas are important we can arrange a Home Energy Audit.


What effect, mood or atmosphere are you seeking to evoke? casual, formal / defined, spacious, clean lines, warm / cozy, open / light / airy, elegant, sophisticated, lived in, welcoming, romantic, contemporary

In what style? Tuscan, Beach Cottage, Old World, Mediterranean, Country Cottage, Art Deco, French Country, Asian, Tropical, Early American, Mission style, Southwestern, Modern minimalist, Chinese, Mexican, European classical, American country, Modern avant-garde, other.

Does bringing indoors outdoors or vice versa appeal?

Color and tone preferences: lighter / darker, whites, blacks, burgundies, pinks, greens, teal, orange, reds, blues, yellows, peach, grays. Warm colors, cool colors, subtle, bright, neutral, earth tones,  bold, pastel, other

Colors you dislike:

Hard materials you like:

Hard materials you dislike:

Flooring / accent preferences: wood (hardwood, cork, bamboo), carpet, laminate, marble, natural stone, stamped/etched concrete, ceramic tile, Saltillo tile, combination, other.

Counter / vanity preferences: granite, quartz, marble, tile, wood, other.

Window treatment preferences: custom draperies, blinds (verticals / horizontals / roll), sheers, Bermuda shutters, curtains in fabrics, metal, wood, security, other

Door hardware preferences: knobs /levers / pulls, bronze, chrome, brushed nickel, other

Cabinet preferences: styles are numerous. Any you like? Do you want dovetail built drawers, self closing drawers / cabinets.

Do you have magazine clippings, photos, websites that illustrate your likes or dislikes? We suggest