Sunday, July 23, 2017  


Kitchen Design

During the holiday season, you probably spent more time in your kitchen than usual. Maybe you were in a family member or friend’s kitchen and saw that their design was much more efficient than your own. Did you find yourself wishing your sink, stove or refrigerator was in a different location? Or that you had more countertop or storage space? Did you catch yourself wondering of a life with under cabinet lighting and a garbage disposal? With the end of year sales offering great discounts on new appliances, lighting, flooring, etc., did you consider what a little remodeling job could do for your kitchen? Not only can you make it more functional and updated, but money put into a sensible kitchen remodel is guaranteed an almost 90-95% return when you sell your home.

On the other end of the spectrum, it could be possible that you are in the process of planning/building a new home, adding an addition or removing a wall to expand your kitchen space. In an ongoing series, we will give you ideas for your kitchen. This issue will explore kitchen design including layout and work zones. Our next issues will have information on such interesting topics as cabinets, counters, appliances and flooring. The age old three point triangle is actually no longer what homeowners are following for today’s modern kitchen designs. Nowadays, because there is usually more than one person cooking or preparing in the kitchen, work zones have become the new fad. Work zones in the kitchen allow plenty of space for individuals to complete kitchen tasks without stepping on top of each other. So think outside the triangle with your new kitchen concept and create a kitchen to suit your family’s needs today and into the future. Consider hiring a contractor or professional kitchen designer to walk you through the entire process. Their wealth of knowledge will be a huge asset during this project and they are up to date on the new trends and know what is worth a splurge and what is not and can keep you on a budget as well.

Kitchens today take on numerous roles besides the normal cooking/baking and eating area. Your children do their homework here; you spend time researching recipes on the web or paying bills and entertaining your family and friends here, in the heart of your home. It is important to have the kitchen design that allows you to do all of the above and do it smoothly. So you must first decide on the style of kitchen that functions best for your needs. Your options are endless. Should your kitchen be open to the family room or great room? It will definitely make it look more spacious but does this require removing a wall or just rearranging appliances or cabinets? Or you may be interested in adding an island for storage, countertop space or as a work zone with a sink or cook top. Another option is changing the shape to an L shape, U shape or C shape with specialized work zones.

If you do not have a lot of space to make big changes, the galley kitchen is coming back into style and becoming more efficient with updated storage, appliances and custom cabinetry. Of course if you are designing a completely new build kitchen, your budget is the only issue you have to worry about because you have a clean slate to work with. It is paramount to establish which layout will work best for your family and daily life. Keep in mind the idea of a pantry or specialized cabinets that have more than one use could come in very handy in your new kitchen. Also a kitchen bar or island can take on the added use of a buffet when entertaining.

If you have found that your kitchen has taken on many new “jobs” then you must decide if you will work them into the new design. Do you need an area for communicating, such as with internet use, telephone conversations or just a place for people to sit comfortably to chat? This can be your communication command center. Or maybe you need a central hub for your children’s activities such as homework, computer use, gaming and television so that you can monitor them while you are prepping/cooking meals. This can become your homework/screening zone. If you use the kitchen table or bar as your desk to plan meals and weekly activities, pay the household bills or organize your pictures or scrapbooking, then you may be interested in creating your own work station or office zone to keep yourself in order.

When it comes to actual kitchen work zones, there is a bevy of options to name them. The consumable zone is one or two areas that contain food staples as well as pasta, rice, cereal, canned goods, drinks and refrigerated items. The non-consumable zone consists of glassware, dishes, storage items and large platters/bowls, plastic containers, knives, silverware and specialty tools. The cleaning zone includes the area of the sink, garbage disposal, dishwasher, trash compactor, trash can, recycle bins and cleaning supplies. The preparation zone will be the most widely used area. This is where all food assembly is performed and will include utensils, mixing bowls, cutting boards, knife storage, measuring/ mixing utensils, spices, oils, cookbooks and small electrical items for processing. This zone could be near the fridge and trash and could have its own sink away from the cleaning zone. The cooking zone is the core of the kitchen and should be close to the food prep zone. This will include pots and pans, cooking utensils, some spices and oils, oven mitts and gloves, baking sheets/pans, cook top, oven, microwave and small cooking appliances like a toaster, toaster oven, deep fryer, etc. Most importantly this zone should have a kitchen fire extinguisher. Some cooks include a baking zone with ample counter space and storage for cookie sheets, cookie cutters, baking tins, measuring/mixing utensils, rolling pins, food processor, electric mixer, cake decorating equipment, cookbooks, etc. This zone should be near the oven. A snack zone is a must for a household with children and teens. Storage and placement of healthy snacks and easy access for children will make your life much happier because they can wait on themselves. Locate this area close to the refrigerator and have ample storage available for a multitude of snacks. Of course the eating zone is a must have and you may have more than one. Serve family dinner at the table and lunch or quick bites at the bar or island for fast easy clean up. Flatware, napkins, placemats and sugar, salt and pepper are key staples here.

As you may have noticed, several of these areas overlap and may be placed side by side or combined, whichever is your preference. A variety of necessary items overlap as well and if you spend a lot of time in your kitchen and you have the room, it may be worth the expense to have multiples of some items if it makes the work more convenient. This can be multiple bowls or measuring cups to dishwashers and different sized refrigerators.

So whether you are planning to remodel your kitchen or are building a new home, take the time to design it in
a way that is family friendly for today’s
fast paced living. Allow room for future storage/growth and choose a style that will blend with the rest of your home. Using work zones will not only give you a great kitchen to entertain in, it will do wonders for resale value if you decide to sell your home. Sometimes it is the kitchen that actuallymakesthesell!!