Have you ever hosted a party at your home and everyone wants to hang out in the kitchen? There’s laughing and talking and everyone is having a wonderful time! Even with an open floor plan, and lots of subtle hints to move to the great room, they all want to stay in the kitchen. The downside to this, if you’re the hostess, is that guests are in your way as you try to get the food ready. It’s hard to move around them to grab to what you need, and you end up getting a little stressed. At that point, you might start wishing that your kitchen had a better layout. So how can you create an amazing kitchen design that works for YOU and your family?
One of the first things we do in a kitchen consultation is talk about what you want and what you need in your new space. And almost always my clients’ first response is “I want our kitchen to be more functional with lots of counter space and storage.” Sound familiar? Everyone has their own idea of how they want to work in their space. You want a functional kitchen design that’s been customized just for you and way you want to work and entertain.
To make this happen, always start with a plan. Would you ever go on a trip without knowing how to get to your destination ? I know I always check it out on WAZE. The same thing applies to designing a kitchen that works for YOU. When you have a vision for the end result, all the steps along the way fall into place.
Begin with making a list of everything you need in your kitchen. This would include things like all the appliances you need (ex. refrigerator, cooktop, oven, dishwasher, etc.). Then move on to lighting, flooring, and countertops.
Next is your dream list of wants. On this specific list add things like a 48” refrigerator, a double oven, roll out trays in every cabinet, drawers instead of cabinets. Don’t forget all the bells and whistles that go into a cabinet, the accessories. Specialty cabinets like trash drawers, tray dividers, spice pullouts are always convenient things to have in a functional kitchen.
What are the specific reasons why you want each item. For example, you want drawers because you don’t want the extra step of opening cabinet doors. Or you prefer cabinets because you can’t stack things and find them in drawers. Remember that this is YOUR kitchen, and it needs to be designed for the way you want to work in your space.
A place in the pantry to store serving platters in plain view.
My friend,Jane, designed this utensil drawer for her island
Jane’s island tray divider drawer
The last thing to consider during this planning phase is what items need to be next to or near each other. The obvious is the sink next to the dishwasher. But what other products do you need to be grouped together? Do you like having your trays and cookie sheets next to the oven or closer to your work area? This exercise might take a little longer. But once you have it, your space planning will be much easier.
Dish drawers directly across from the dishwasher for easy unloading.
Spice pullouts next to the range.
Keep in mind that having each and every one of your “wants” isn’t always going to work, even if they do fit into your budget. So be willing to compromise on the amount of products and even the locations of certain things. In the end, the goal is to help you create an amazing kitchen design that’s not only beautiful, but it’s functional.
You know how we all like tackle a DIY project every once in a while? Maybe we do it to save money. Maybe we do it because design TV makes it look so easy. Even though it can be fun (and sometimes stressful), there may come a time when you have one of those “What was I thinking?” moments.
As an interior designer, I often get the SOS call to fix it. What I would really love to do is help you prevent it. And so MY #1 Reason to Have a Designer On Your Team is to help you avoid costly mistakes.
These costly mistakes seem to be broken down into two categories. Let’s take a look…
Purchases your regret later because you realize you don’t like them:
- You had a “love at first site” moment and just HAD to own it
- You didn’t really love it, but had a “hole” to fill and thought it would work
- Oops! You forgot to measure.
Purchases and decisions you made because you didn’t know better or didn’t think it through:
- Appliances that will be placed against a wall and the impact that will have on opening and closing doors and drawers.
- Adding expensive new counter tops and then realizing you should have purchased new cabinets.
- Not checking the specifications of appliances to see how they will affect the cabinet.
- Buying on line,which we all do, and realizing you don’t have all the parts and pieces to finish the job correctly.
Your Design Action Steps:
1. If you’re in the “information gathering” phase of your project, remember to study everything. That means look over the plans when you have them, and check out the specifications and dimensions of each item you hope to purchase.
2. Hire an interior designer to be a part of your team. The peace of mind you’ll get from relying on someone you trust will be well worth the investment.
At Authentic Living Interiors we offer many ways to work with Randi.
Whether it’s an old furniture piece that no longer works in your bedroom or family room, or maybe you made a great estate sale find; an old armoire can become a fabulous “baking station” for your kitchen. If you want to make a splash in your kitchen, try painting the armoire an accent color that compliments your cabinets. Whites and off-whites, sandy taupes, celadon greens and French blues are just a few ideas for accent colors with a generally universal appeal!
If you don’t have experience painting furniture, you want to make sure you:
1) clean the furniture thoroughly
2) sand off all hints of a glossy finish
3) clear the dust and prime it with something like Kilz primer
4) sand again (!) and clear the dust
Whew! Now that that’s done, make some modifications to the armoire doors.
For example, you can insert a piece of cork-board on the inside of a paneled door, that way you can tack up your written recipes to refer to them as your prep in your new space. The back of the other door could be transformed with a coat of magnetic chalkboard paint. Then not only can you make note of some quick recipe conversions, you can also use it as a place to store magnetic tins filled with spices or cake decorating details.
Better Homes & Gardens recommends reinforcing a waist-high self to serve as a workstation, and fitting a low drawer with wire dividers to sort pans and baking sheets. Bakeware can be hung inside the cabinet and dry ingredients can be stored in decorative glass or acrylic canisters with sealed lids. Crate and Barrel even offers white stoneware canisters, in three sizes, with a chalkboard label. Now you have all your baking needs right at your fingertips and you’ve added an interesting and beautiful custom furniture piece to your kitchen!
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