Is The Kitchen Work Triangle Effective?

Granite island and perimeter surfaces

Create a snack zone prep area between major appliances. This usually involves a micro & refrigerator nearby. http://studio76kitchens.com

Since most homeowners now admit there is more than one person working in the kitchen, the inefficiency of a basic “work triangle” (sink, fridge, stove) is rather obvious. Where do you put an army of small appliances and still keep adequate counter space? Balancing the choices of large appliances is also a challenge since the goal is to accomplish a floor plan that doesn’t seem “forced”. Here is a small quick list of pet peeves (more politely called design challenges) that I see out there in all different kinds of kitchen spaces. Try to avoid these.

1- A giant microwave over the range or on the counter

2- A dishwasher trapped in the corner/fridge up against wall

3- A refrigerator that is too deep and sticks out into the room

Another negative that you may want to avoid …… anything that cannot be wiped down with a sponge doesn’t belong in a kitchen.

The best kitchen is an uncluttered kitchen, no matter what your style choice is, and creating “work zones” rather than a strict triangle. Here are a few that I like:

A) Snack zone or nook

B) Mail drop

C) Electronic device charging station

D) Two prep zones

E) Medicinal/vitamin separate storage

D) Cooking zone properly scaled for the space

E) Smaller appliances zone created with cabinetry http://customcupboards.com/meaningfulchoices/productlines/heartland/

Lighting Up The Kitchen

Lighting that is "layered" for tasks in the kitchen www.studio76kitchens.com

Lighting that is “layered” for tasks in the kitchen http://www.studio76kitchens.com

Here’s the latest on lights for your kitchen.

Don’t hesitate to use LED lighting as you update your home’s lighting, especially in the kitchen. I am always pleasantly surprised how rooms are beautifully illuminated. (and you won’t need to keep changing out the bulbs!)

5 Kitchen Styles – You Decide!

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Continuous hardwood flooring (showing hickory species in photo) can blend rooms, making the space appear larger and open.

Continuous hardwood flooring (showing hickory species in photo) can blend rooms, making the space appear larger and open.

Candice Olsen, Divine Design

An extraordinary kitchen of “contrasts” designed by Candice Olsen

TRANSITIONAL STYLE – This is simple really. Don’t throw away all your things …. mixing the old with the new and creating a cleaner-looking kitchen with more storage is the trick to creating this look in your kitchen. For example, even if you will keep your appliances and flooring, try to select a cabinet style with simple lines and upgrade your countertops to a one-color quartz. You might want to take that old closet out and replace it with tall pantry cabinets to organize better.
RUSTIC AMERICAN STYLE – We used to call this “Tuscan” but here in the states we are really into re-purposing materials! So for a really interesting, laid back and casual approach to this kitchen style, I enjoy searching for old barn posts, or using the vintage details in an old century house to gain tremendous texture and aura. A honed slab of granite or a rugged 2-inch thick piece of limestone, soapstone, or wood can be used for countertops. Slate, distressed hardwood, or textured porcelain large tiles are great for the kitchen floor. By all means, go to the flea markets or small stores that sell vintage accessories. In my area, I recommend a resale shoppe called “Life Is Sweet”. Here’s their Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Lifeissweetinhudson
NEW AMERICAN COUNTRY – Your life will reflect this timeless style. A long time ago, we used words like colonial, or Georgian, or early American, but life in casual America has never changed really. However, now I need to plan for more modern appliances and a place to charge those techy devices and cell phones! Using colorful fabrics at the kitchen windows and on the barstools has never been more fashionable…..AND we always seem to dine-in the kitchen with this all American style of stained cabinetry (cherry is nice) and granite surfaces and hardwood floors in maple or oak or hickory and cherry. Because the kitchen is “open” to other rooms, all your collectibles can be displayed as well as kids artwork and family photos. The backsplash can be small mosaics or larger subway tiles and adding color to the walls is always in style.
EUROPEAN CONTEMPORARY – Nevermind that it’s clean … and sharp … and high-tech, this look can be designed in several cabinet finishes and surfaces. There are however two ways to go with color. If I was ever to design a city high-rise loft kitchen and it had a window with a gorgeous skyline view somewhere, I’d probably want to stay with neutral colors on the big items and specify a couple spectacular light pendants to mimic the lights in the city. But if a family wanted to have that magazine picture pizazz, why not eliminate some of the upper wall cabinets and display art on open shelves or hide the big appliances such as purchasing “Refrigerator Columns” by Sub-zero. There are so many choices for a modern style.
CLASSIC TRADITIONAL – If you need to remodel your kitchen in a timeless tradional style, this is a great look that’s “safe” even for when you go to sell your home in a few years. White painted cabinets with a possible stained or color-painted island works, as well as stainless appliances and granite with movement and pattern. Small lamps on the counter’s corner and accessories such as decorative storage jars and beautiful serving bowls with colorful placements can jazz up this look as well as a modern runner rug for in front of the kitchen sink. The new gray neutrals also work well (and yes, beige goes with gray!) See Abby M Interiors blog about this style: http://www.abbyminteriorsblog.com/2014/02/designer-favorite-granite-for-your.html

My favorite Designers

Before and After Kitchen

Before and After

The Before and After of this kitchen near Cleveland, Ohio, would make any homeowner proud. The value of their home just went up. The clutter is gone. The cabinets are new. The countertops are granite. The appliances are new. The island adds tremendous flexibility. It’s easy to prep and clean-up. The family entertains with ease. Nice seating. Storage galore!

I love “Wow” before-and-after photos!

Can you achieve a renovation of this caliber on a budget? I think so. Here are 3 things to keep in mind when considering a total “gut” kitchen remodel.

1) Where your house is located will have an impact on which projects to tackle. However, an updated kitchen always adds an immediate value, especially after a depressed housing market.

2) Depending on the values of other houses in your neighborhood, a total kitchen remodel (rather than a partial) will most likely set your home apart from them. I just talked to a couple who purchased a house based solely on the fact that the kitchen was totally renovated and updated to an “open floor” plan (walls had been taken out) and they could simply move-in and know that the value already exists.

3) Staying on a budget is important. The material and product choices today afford great flexibility in kitchen remodels. For example, the recent kitchen remodel I’ve posted in this blog had moderate selections in their new appliances, keeping several thousand dollars available for granite counters. That’s just one area where a budget can be maintained. Another is new cabinets. I’m not a big fan of refacing existing cabinets … there’s just too many manufactured cabinet lines out there with all the upgraded and latest hardware and drawer and door construction features at modest prices.

Stay tuned in to my blog as I review current kitchen designs and products.

Deb

My view of smaller kitchens…..

Single bowl for Small Kitchens!

Single bowl for Small Kitchens!


Since I get a lot of feedback on posts about small, even tiny kitchens, here are 5 more tips:

1- ADD A COUNTER You’d be surprised how useful 18-24 inches can be in countertop space. Either have a kitchen dealer design and order a 2 X 2 or 3 X 2 island in a painted or stained furniture finish (which, of course if your kitchen is tiny, you will put up against a wall or against the side of one of your existing cabinets, even if it “floats” into an adjoining room)

2- COOK IN STAGES Think about it this way …. all the cooking shows you love to watch show the chef standing in one place, facing the camera, with all the measured ingredients already measured out, ready to put it all together for the viewer. Most restaurant people will want their cooks to stay confined to a prep area that’s basically a “station” with an appliance and very little counterspace. I have a small kitchen myself, and like to prepare the ingredients perhaps the nite before, clean up…and then before dinner the next day, only use a bowl or pan and few utensils to finish preparing the meal. It helps!

3- BUY THE CABINET ADD-ONS Here are just a few….foil and towel roll accessories you can attach to the insides of cabinet doors; wire inserts to make one of your cabinets store things vertically; a pot/pan hanging wall rack (get those everyday pans out of the cabinets) Make a trip to a local Bed Bath&Beyond and you’ll be surprised at the organizers available (even if you only have 6 cabinets!!!)

4- DON’T STORE ANYTHING ON TOP OF YOUR COUNTERS Or keep it to a minimum. Case in point: I used to think I HAD to have a full blender, but realized those little handheld blenders work great and is much easier to store in a drawer.

5- KEEP EVERYTHING WHITE & STAINLESS This, my friends, will make it look larger. Trust me.

More to come on small kitchens.

Luv ya
Deb

Kitchen Designer Notebook

Shown above: Design Craft cabinets which prices out for the moderate budget.

A kitchen with a combination of painted and stained cabinetry http://www.designcraftcabinets.com/estore/en/designcraft.

Do you need some kitchen design tips? Here are a few more for you to “collect” for your own notebook.

A) If you have a “dark” kitchen, a reasonable update would be to paint your walls in a neutral, and then splash the sink wall area with color by adding a fabric valance at the window and glass doors on all the wall cabinets. Call a qualified lighting designer (it’s worth the 40-80$ for an hour of their time!) to give you an effective kitchen lighting scheme. I would also consider replacing your countertops to a lighter color of quartz or high-def surface.

B) Consider new accessory inserts for your cabinet drawers to clean up the clutter on your countertops. Rev-A-Shelf has some custom fitted inserts that are very clever and do the trick. http://www.rev-a-shelf.com/

C) The kitchen sink is really important in a kitchen remodel. I am getting more homeowners asking for something other than stainless steel sinks (but remember, stainless is an extremely sanitary material!) Consider Blanco Silgranite II sinks, made of rock-hard granite.
Available in a palette of seven on-trend colors designed to coordinate with a range of warm and cool toned countertops, SILGRANIT II offers a great option for your kitchen renovation.http://www.blancoamerica.com/c3/blanco_usa/_www/en/pub/customer_service/silgranit_faq.cfm

D) On trend: Combining painted and stained cabinets for those homeowners who have stained woodwork casings and baseboards all over their house. There is always the question with my clients on how far to take the kitchen remodel since the rest of their house has 20 or 30 year-old trim throughout the house. An easy fix is painting all the woodwork white, but another option would be to actually “add” a header to the ceiling to break the kitchen from adjoining rooms visually. This option can let the paint/stain combination stand on its own in the kitchen.

More of my notes will arrive in a future blog. Happy remodeling!