Often times when talking to friends and clients I come across giving advise about various areas in ones home. This blog spot will focus on the kitchen, as I feel it is one of the most important spaces in the home.
The kitchen has become in recent decades the space where we convene to discuss topics of the day or the goings on in life. It is the center of the home during parties and when you simply want that drink after a long day. A really well designed kitchen can really change your life. When it comes to layouts I create for clients or myself, I have a few ideas that I always keep in mind.
So I have focused on 5 things I feel are very important when thinking about a kitchen design or re-design....
ONE: Your use
Spend a bit of time thinking about how you use your kitchen. Here are some questions I like to ask my clients: Are you formal or are you casual? Are you a serious cook, i.e. will you use the space every day, three or more times a day or are you a take out and catering type of host or hostess? Do you like to eat in the kitchen? All of these questions help one decide on the materials you may use. For example, if you are a take out maven, you may want to use a white marble; if not you may want to look at a quartz composite materials for the counter-top. You may not need a lot of storage for pots and pans and small appliances. You may simply want to keep your microwave and dishwasher in a prominent location.
IF on the other hand you are not like the person listed above and heavily use your kitchen: here are a few chic tips to get you thinking about materials etc. Try a Caesar Stone or other quartz composite; I like Caesar stone because of the color ways they have available. Use a simple back splash: back-painted glass, ceramic or glass tile with a dark grout. Use heavy duty drawer glides and hinges with soft close. Finish the cabinets with a shop spray or stain that is durable and easy to clean.
I know, I said it, but think about how long you plan on living in your home, if this is a five to 10 year home, stay neutral with the design and selection of materials and colors. Pick colors and materials that please 99% of the population. Chances are you are one in a million and so are most buyers. Helpful hint: most people like white or stained wood cabinets and stainless appliances. You can always ask a local realtor what they seem to see more of in a specific area and do people lean towards specific finishes. I know one realtor I know said she said that the white traditional kitchen was the sure fire way to sell a house in her specific county.
If you are planning on sticking around for a while, you can keep things neutral and still add some personalizations. Remember, painting the walls is the easiest way of updating a space.
If you plan on tackling this re-design further without the professional help of an architect or designer, spend a bit of time thinking about the size of the room. The key to any successful space is scale and proportion. The average american kitchen size is scaled to fit a 30" range, a 30" wide refrigerator and a 24" wide sink. If your kitchen is larger than this feel free to go bigger with any of these items, also think about adding a wine fridge or a second dishwasher. Spend some time thinking about exactly how much storage you need. Do you have a lot of small appliances or do you like having loads of counter space? I always recommend that clients make an inventory of their small appliances, dishes, glasses, cookware and typical food needs.
FOUR: Hardware and Fixtures
My number one recomendation to all of my clients: buy the best faucet you can afford. this is the single most used item in the kitchen on a daily basis and it typically can be the first thing that needs adjustment. I highly recommend going to a plumbing supply show room and trying them out. The internet is helpful sometimes, but you really need to handle the faucet. I can't tell you how many times I have walked into my plumbing vendor with a client thinking they know what they want, and them completely changing their decision once they are there.
My other useful advise: think about if you want a hot tap and or water filter, if you can afford it, I always tell clients to get one!
FIVE: Design customizations
Here are a few options to make your kitchen look like it was professionally designed:
Buy cabinets that go to the ceiling, or filler strips that can get you there.
Buy a crown moulding in the style of the cabinets and your home.
Think about drawers in your base cabinets, rather than doors.
Add those organizational solutions to the drawers and cabinets. I like to specify products from a company called Rev-a-Shelf. They sell everything you need to organize each cabinet.
Look around on the internet for knobs and pulls, google is your friend! I use TopKnobs a lot; knobs.com is also handy.