Looking toward 2012 one of your goals might be to create that Dream Kitchen that you have always wanted. That term gets thrown around a lot but what exactly is a Dream Kitchen and what is the best way to achieve this lofty goal? Well every one’s dreams are different and for the most part their kitchens are too. Kitchens should be a personal thing, and often we adjust our lifestyle around the space rather than designing the space to fit our lifestyle. Given the opportunity we can correct this and create the space to fit our needs, lifestyle and personality. I believe that a dream kitchen should be functional, beautiful and healthy.
So how does your current kitchen function? Is it laid out properly? Is it too small? Do you have enough storage? Is the storage that you have efficient? Do you know what is in the back of your pantry or that weird corner space that can accurately be described as a Black Hole?
I encourage my clients to make a list of the things that they love and hate about their current kitchen and then we proceed to remove or add them to the new design. Think about landing space around your work centers (sink, range and refrigerator) – do you have room to set your groceries down and load them into the refrigerator or do you walk them over by the handful from across the room? Do you have to take a knee to get to the back of a lower cabinet or can you just open a nice big drawer that fully extends giving you a full view of its entire contents? And I can honestly say that the aforementioned corner space has never been a subject people can talk about without using the word “hate” at some point.
Corner access issues can be addressed in a number of ways using easy reach cabinets with Lazy Susans, magic corners and even drawers which are a personal favorite of mine (yes, corner drawers!). Is a closet with food in it a pantry or is it really a closet with food in it? Usually it’s the latter although sometimes if they are big enough to walk into then they can be functional but if they are smaller many times it makes more sense to replace them with a tall cabinet that has full extension roll out shelves. The approach to storage should be to try to achieve the ability to easily view and access everything inside the cabinet which can be done with roll out shelves and full extension drawers.
The kitchen really is the heart of the home; it’s generally in a central location and we spend quite a bit of time in it so it’s only natural that we want it to look nice. There are a lot of benefits to having a beautiful kitchen, one of them being the psychological benefits of being in a space that is pleasing to the eye and does not immediately put you into a bad mood because half of the doors are hanging open because the hinges failed 3 years ago and the honey oak finish happens to be one of the things you least enjoyed in the 70’s. So create a beautiful space for you and your family to enjoy – not only will it improve your property’s value but it will help lower your stress levels and support your mental well-being.
The old adage that “if you’re going to do something, do it right” applies to obtaining your Dream Kitchen in more ways than we commonly think. Most of my clients are generally concerned with using color palettes and designs that are not going to be dated in five years. The more we become aware of the harmful effects of formaldehyde and how much of it is used in the production of case goods it makes little sense to not consider harmful off-gassing in addition to a beautiful aesthetic. I will save this for another post but if you truly have a choice between using a product that will off-gas for years in a room that we prepare and store our food in, store our dishes in and spend sometimes hours of our day in wouldn’t rather use materials that will not off-gas, contain no VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) or HAP’s (Hazardous Air Pollutants)? We are fortunate to have the benefit of past research and better manufacturing practices now in place that give us the choice to make better informed decisions that will affect our lives in every positive way making it that much easier to obtain a Dream Kitchen that is functional, beautiful and healthy.