You've looked through dozens of design magazines, watched numerous episodes on kitchen remodel projects, and you're ready to start planning your dream kitchen.
Beginning a kitchen renovation can be a very frightening experience for many people.
Where do you begin? What inspires you? What's on your 'must have' list?
Here are some steps to help you plan a beautiful kitchen renovation.
- Make a list of the most important items you want in your new kitchen.
- Think about preparing daily meals. What do you need most?
- Take careful accurate measurements of your existing kitchen space. If you're not planning on enlarging the area, this should be a great first step in working with your layout. (Perhaps, though, a great contractor might come up with some ideas to better utilize adjoining space.
- You can use graph paper, to scale, if you so desire, and create or purchase kits that will give you small representations of actual appliances and cabinetry.
- For those computer-savvy folks, you can use a CAD program that will actually let you load brand-specific items. The software available today runs the gamut from free to relatively inexpensive, each with it's own 'good' and 'bad' attributes.
- Give careful thought to the style and feel of your kitchen. This is where magazines, brochures and visiting showrooms might come in handy! What makes you smile?
- A country French kitchen?
- Clean modern lines?
- Curved, contemporary, sleek?
- Traditional shaker-style?
- Determine your cooking style. Do you cook solo? Or is this a family activity? Something special to share with your significant other? Designing the work area carefully, you'll want to envision preparing a holiday meal with lots of people participating so that no one gets in the way.
- Plan for multiple cooks, and thus, create multiple work areas.
- Anticipate what appliances you'll need to prepare specific types of meals and thus, group them comfortably for easy access.
- Special guidelines play an important part in kitchen design.
- Kosher kitchens require separate areas for the preparation of meals, storage of serving utensils, cookware, bake-ware, flatware, dishes and more. Often, given the space, you may want to consider two dishwashers or two dishwasher drawers. Some observant families will use a single dishwasher for either dairy or meat meals and hand-wash the other. Double ovens come in handy here, as do separate sinks; however practicality and design can open other options of switching drainboards, protective grates for a single sink, and a host of other inventive ideas. Your preference and observance will guide you best here.
- 'Green' kitchens allowing for recycle bins for paper, plastic, glass and metal will require pullout cabinetry for easy accumulation of these items.
- Are you an 'Organic Foodie'?
- Perhaps you'll want to consider a small greenhouse window so that mother nature and the beauty of sunshine will allow for growing your own herbs.
- Storage bins for grains and other health-conscience items that require storage away from sunlight might be a consideration, for items such as potatoes and grains.
- Baking is a lot more than flour. A serious baker will want easy access to a stand-mixer, food processor, smooth marble surfaces, and storage for every conceivable shape pan.
- Storage is critical in any kitchen. Before you decide on a layout, be sure that you've allocated space for all of your kitchen items. I find it particularly helpful to open your existing cabinets and quantify what's inside. Are you planning on keeping everything you have? Replacing it with new? Adding to it?
- Many cooks can sometimes spoil the broth, but more to the point, create a traffic jam.
- Give thought to holiday cooking and who usually lends a helping hand.
- Set up your baking items in one area, cutting boards, knives for chopping/slicing/paring, and be sure you've got easy access to both the garbage disposal and waste basket.
- Plan, plan, plan... however you decide to envision your layout, work on it, walk away, come back to it and do it all over again.
- Think about the direction you usually take, how you reach, the way you turn when you need to get something, and then flip it. Sometimes this might give you another perspective.
- Give careful thought to how you cook. If you make a lot of soups and sauces, prepare a lot of vegetables and like to freeze ahead you'll absolutely love a pot-filler faucet. (I've made many a 20 quart stockpot of soup in preparation for holidays. What an event to carry a pot full of water from the sink to the stove top OR consistently fill the pot with glasses, pitchers and the like.)
- The typical kitchen triangle exists no longer. Kitchen layout styles and shapes have changed and many designers today suggest a long work island with appliances and cabinetry on either side to facilitate ease in prep time. Plus, two cooks can work simultaneously and be able to reach what's directly behind him or her.
Of equal importance is choosing your appliances. Give thought to oven types: convection, steam convection. Do you want the comfort of easy-glide roll-out racks? If you're Sabbath observant, many manufacturers offer Star K Sabbath mode. Refrigerator manufacturers offer man different layouts. Do you want your refrigerator to blend in with your cabinetry by using a custom cabinet panel? Side-by-side? Bottom freezer? (with one drawer? two drawers?) Dishwashers are available in standard type but today many offer a 3rd rack for cutlery, or you can purchase dishwasher drawers, particularly convenient for empty-nesters or newly marrieds with no need for a single large dishwasher, or great, too, for a kosher kitchen.
DECISIONS... DECISIONS... DECISIONS...
No matter your style, color choice, or habits, designing a new kitchen is a big undertaking. There are many resources out there, television shows to watch and it's in your best interest to take your time in planning.
But, at the end of the day, the team you choose to renovate your kitchen makes the process a pleasure or pain-staking. While it may affect your price point somewhat, to hire someone that you feel has the expertise and experience to lead your project, the expense is worth it.
Need help with your kitchen renovation?