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Design Process

It's the most important, most-used room in your home - the hub of family life that everyone uses. It's where we socialize; it's where our kids do their homework; it's where we eat; it's where we entertain; and not incidentally, it's the workplace where we store and prepare our food. Considering the varied and demanding requirements that we place on this one room, it's no surprise that many kitchens are in need of a major overhaul. It's a difficult challenge, but the rewards of an efficient, well-planned kitchen will be worth the effort and investment.

Overview -There are two basic areas to consider: 1. Construction, and 2. Cabinets.

  1. Construction - will involve everything - and the kitchen sink. There's demolition, heating, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical, appliances, insulation, sheet rock, flooring, interior trim, hardware, painting, and cleanup. Hire a contractor who is experienced in remodeling, properly licensed, and insured. Make sure the contractor is someone you can live with - because for several weeks, you will. Interview the contractor and check references. Carefully consider cost, time, and most importantly, the ability of the contractor to effectively coordinate the work and at the same time, attend to the details. Remodeling your kitchen may seem like a daunting project, but it can be done - and done well; with the help of experienced professionals.

  2. Cabinets - and counters are the most prominent design element in your new kitchen, and may account for about half of the cost of the total project. As you select the type of cabinets and their finish you are expressing your own personal taste and sense of design. Whether traditional, historical, or contemporary, careful attention to style, color and details will set the tone for the look you want. Choose a cabinet supplier with a showroom, plenty of samples, and in-house design service. Thoughtful design requires years of experience, in addition to specialized training and specific product knowledge. The insights of a capable professional will go a long way toward helping you achieve the quality results that you want.

Planning - Plan the work, work the plan.

Both the construction and the cabinets require extensive planning. Start by deciding what it is that you want and need in your new kitchen. Is your present kitchen poorly laid out, are the appliances inefficient, does the floor need replacing, is the lighting inadequate, are the cabinets dated and worn?

Consider these issues and others as you make notes about appliances, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, and flooring. Your contractor can help you find the many products and services that will be required for your project. You may also want to hire an interior designer or architect to coordinate styles, colors, and finishes. And you will need to consult with a kitchen planner. Preferably, this service is available from the supplier of the cabinets, but if not, it can be a third party designer. Either way, it must be someone with good communication skills that has the design experience and project knowledge to put together and efficient attractive design that satisfies your needs.


The Results

With sound advice and the right help, you can successfully transform the most vital room in your home into a beautiful and efficient "Grand Central" of family life. Careful space planning and materials selection will be a source of everyday pleasure for years to come. It's an investment that will pay for itself financially and in your quality of life.

And don't forget to make room for the cookbooks: as you experience the pleasure of your new kitchen, you may just want to cook a whole lot more.


Design Process

Planning - How do you use your kitchen?

  • How many people cook in your kitchen?
  • Do you have young children to accommodate?
  • Are you an avid cook - how many people do you serve daily?
  • Will you eat in your kitchen?
  • How much entertaining do you do?

Cabinet Design - Be creative, but avoid trendy

  • Cabinets are available in hundreds of styles, colors, and finishes
  • Vary heights and depths of both wall and base cabinets
  • Use different materials and heights for countertops
  • Consider peninsulas and islands
  • Incorporate higher back splashes at the cook top and sink
  • Dress up your design with crown moulding and light rails

Appliances - First select all the appliances before designing the cabinet layout.

  • Buying locally is helpful when it comes to service
  • Consider the capacity and style of the refrigerator
  • If you do a lot of baking, consider double ovens
  • Do you want a warming drawer or trash compactor
  • Microwaves are available that function as ovens
  • Would you prefer gas of electric cook top
  • Range hood exhaust is important to eliminate odors and moisture

Ergonomics - Think efficiently

  • Minimize the steps required to perform each task
  • Establish work stations: located pots near cook top, pans near ovens
  • Use drawers instead of pull-out trays behind doors
  • Incorporate full-extension drawers with dividers
  • Avoid blind corners - use lazy susan hardware when ever possible
  • Always allow counter space next to the refrigerator and ovens
  • Raise dishwashers and ovens to a comfortable working height

Counters - Function and style

  • Counters can be laminate, granite, stainless, wood, or other material
  • Lower a section of granite or marble for pastries and bread making
  • Incorporate wood butcher block to add warmth and a cutting board
  • Choose plastic laminate for economy and color
  • Use stainless steel for utility and easy clean-up
  • Solid surface materials like Corian can provide integral sink bowl design

Lighting - A very important design element.

  • Don't overlook the importance of natural light - get as much as possible
  • Provide general overhead lighting
  • Task lighting is important - use lights under the wall cabinets over counters
  • Use multiple switch locations and dimmers
  • Mood lighting - low level creative lighting adds atmosphere






Helpful Links

Basic Kitchen Layout Guidelines

Kitchen Design Checklist

Kitchen Layout Options

Consider Your Appliances

Recipe for a Kitchen

Back to Design Process

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