The kitchen is the perfect place to continue our conversation on “I Deserve it Features”. No surprise, the kitchen continues to be the hub of activity in the home. Cooking is fast becoming America’s favorite family hobby. Consider the popularity of shows like Master Chef and Chopped, and the ever increasing number of food blogs that put a steady stream of new recipes at our finger tips. Add in appliances that do everything except walk your kids to school and the kitchen is the ideal spot to splurge on a few “I Deserve it Features”. (If you missed the first part of this series, get caught up here on what an “I Deserve it Feature” is and how they can be incorporated into the owner’s entry)
Cabinetry is a good place to start customizing your kitchen. Pre-fabricated cabinets now have more options than ever. There are door styles for every taste, endless choices for finishes, and storage alternatives for any need.
“It is an exciting time in cabinets right now. We are seeing all colors represented this year, including but not limited to, white, grey, blue, and even red. As designers…we love it!” – Angela Harris, TRIO Environments.
Floating shelves have become a popular alternative to traditional upper cabinets and large drawers are a preferred storage option to the standard cabinet. Granite is no longer the only upgrade available for countertops. Quartz, concrete and recycled glass can add a personal touch to your work surface.
The island is more than a prep area for dinner. It is the crossroad of the 21st century family. Look for large, uncluttered islands that are more like “kitchen continents”. This multi-purpose top is where the Christmas buffet is laid out, Billy works on his math homework while Sally recreates her game winning soccer goal, and Dad might tinker with his latest project. All of this taking place under decorative lighting so exquisite, it’s like jewelry for the home.
An area of opportunity for vast improvement is the pantry. By simply removing the door and walls, you can extend the cabinets and rich finishes of the kitchen and still have a functional storage area that’s more inviting, better lit, and provides extra counter space. It is also a place to put the under-used small appliances that often clutter kitchen counters (toaster, coffee pot, blender, etc.).
Many large homes have a butler’s pantry that connects the kitchen and formal dining room. Instead of having a space that is only used for a few formal occasions, reclaim this space for the kitchen! By removing the wall in between the kitchen and butler’s pantry, the countertop can flow into this space and make this seldom used area an extension of the kitchen. This is an ideal place for a freezer or an additional dish washer. Take a look at the sketches below.
Combining these two spaces creates the perfect “back-kitchen” that can be used as a secondary food prep area when you entertain in the kitchen. This approach also provides opportunity to address the needs of cultural cooking traditions.
Let’s not forget we need a place for Padma, Bobby and Giada. Can you think of a better place to watch Gordon Ramsay lose his temper on another “MasterChef”? If you can’t see the family room TV from the kitchen, incorporate a mini-entertainment center in the cabinetry or on a nearby wall. Take advantage of technology that allows us to project recipes or the kid’s homework from our tablets and smart phones on to the TV for easy viewing while we prepare dinner.
Just because the kitchen is a multi-tasking work area for the entire family does not mean we can forget its primary purpose – cooking! The latest in cooking technologies, says Mark Hopwood of Builder’s Appliance Center, include built-in combination steamers with convection wall ovens which introduce moisture – great for reheating leftovers; induction cooking which allows you to control the temperature like gas but is more efficient (at any elevation) and much safer; and three rack dishwashers that offer 30% more space for irregularly shaped items such as tongs and cookie sheets. Keurig even now has a coffee system that attaches to the water dispenser on certain refrigerators. These make up just a few examples of cutting edge products currently available to transform a kitchen into a “Cooks” kitchen.
Bottom-line: you can splurge on great gadgets for your kitchen, but remember – good kitchen design is about efficiency and having everything you need at hand.