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Kitchen Design

The Process

There are those who say “if it works don’t fix it” and in today’s economy it certainly rings true for many. However, for those who want to maintain their investment, be proud to entertain in their home, need order and convenience, and have the capital to invest, a new kitchen is in order. Now having said that, you may not go out to one of the big box stores and simply order a new kitchen like you would an automobile. The new kitchen needs a fair amount of consideration unless you are just fixing it up to sell your home.
It is hard to say where the best place to start is when trying to arrive at the best design for your new kitchen, but i usually like to start in the existing kitchen; as it is less expensive to build a new kitchen in the same location. This is true because most of the utilities are in this location. I first determine if the space is large enough for the client and then, if not, look to see if there are any walls that i can knock down to make the space flow into other areas. Of course this is the trend, and my guess is that this trend to have a kitchen part of other rooms is going to stay. I also like to see if there is a natural flow to the outside. I also like to know how many cooks are in the house. Increasing the number of cooks changes the flow patterns and spacing required. Next debriefing or quizzing the cook(s), to see what specific needs exist.

So, besides figuring out the size, location and configurations of the kitchen, it is necessary to find out the style of the kitchen. Is it going to be traditional, french colonial, contemporary? These answers help to solve the problem of what type of wood, stain, colors, counter top and appliance finishes will work the best. Then we need to look to the actual construction of the cabinets, the hardware for the doors and drawers. There is particle board frames, veneered plywood, solid wood doors, plastic drawer guides, metal drawer guides that have self closing mechanisms, exposed and concealed hinges with and without soft
Close, to mention a few. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Kitchen Design, The Process 2

Once you have settled on the size, location and style for your new dream kitchen, the next thing to consider is where each cupboard is going to go and what use it will have. If the range location is decided then chances are that you would want a couple of large roll out drawers to house your pots and pans. Perhaps on either side of the range you would want a tray holder for baked goods. Of course one or two of the adjacent top drawers should be for the miscellaneous utensils. The newer kitchens usually have a deep upper wall cabinet above the refrigerator which works well for those large serving platters. For those of you who use your heavy mixer frequently, you may want to have a pop-up shelf so you don’t have to lift it all the time from one cabinet to the counter. Don’t forget to have an electrical outlet placed behind that pop-up cabinet.

Most often kitchen clients want the everyday dishes and glasses closest to the dishwasher and/or sink. If you have one of those corners cabinets, it is nice to put in a lazy susan so everything that is stored in those huge cabinets is accessible. The cabinet above the lazy susan is sometimes in a location that lends itself to having clear glass doors so that some of the finer china or glasses can be on display at all times. I like to design my kitchens with glass shelves and a light above so that the contents are always on display. Make sure that there is always enough counter top space next to the following areas: sink, refrigerator, range, oven, and dishwasher. At least 18” on either side and at the sink one side should be a minimum of 24”. If you are having built in pantries then for sure have roll out shelves from just below eye level to the bottom. Some tips on hardware; if you go frameless then you will need to have knobs or handles for the doors and drawers. Most new kitchens have the handles or knobs regardless of cabinet style. Soft closing concealed hinges for doors and self-closing hardware for the drawers are the only way to go if you ask me. One cool option that can be seen on our web video is the toe-kick roll out drawer that houses a step stool.

Next month i’ll discuss finishes.

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