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If you’ve ever shopped for antique furniture or an old home, you’ve probably been asked the question, Does it have “good bones”? This expression is similar to the age-old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” What it means is that if the foundation of a structure is good to start with, you can easily spiff it up to its original brilliance so that it lasts a lifetime. But like all good things, you must start with a solid core. The same can be said of your kitchen when you’re tackling a remodel, which was the premise behind a recent “Chicago Tribune” article titled, “Nate’s Approach: Build good bones.” The Nate of which the article speaks? None other than Oprah regular, interior designer Nate Berkus.

Subtitled “How to design a timeless, classic kitchen,” the story offered an ingredient list and a few style pointers for a kitchen remodel that never goes out of style. Before diving into Berkus’s suggestions, however, the article pointed to “Remodeling” magazine’s annual “Cost vs. Value Report,” to pinpoint the price of a major kitchen remodel in 2008-2009 at a whopping $56,661. Faced with a price tag like that, you’re going to want to make sure your kitchen remodeling efforts are ones that will endure the test of time.

“Ideally, it [your kitchen remodel] should look as sharp and attractive in a couple decades as it does the day the renovation crew clocks out,” the article stresses. But how do your accomplish this formidable feat? Here is Berkus’s main piece of advice: From the get-go, give your kitchen “beautiful bone structure.”

Short of ripping your home apart and starting new or adding on, there are parts of your house that are not going to change. “The entire Berkus team consider flooring and other unchanging materials “the bones” of a house, and they consider it their job to build bones that are timeless.”

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