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/

Remodeling the Kitchen in Stages

AFTER showing the new fridge and ovens....nice!

AFTER showing the new fridge and ovens….nice!

I used to tell homeowners that they couldn’t remodel their kitchen in stages… but I’ve expanded my view of this option, with caution. Here are 5 possible steps to remodeling over time, keeping in mind that the entire process shouldn’t be dragged out over years of time. Lets make this a 2-3 year plan (at the most!) okay?

1-DO THE PLAN. Most people now understand, through the plethora of homeowners education TV programs, online forums and digital media (along with following their favorite celebrity designer!) that a detailed floor plan and design board can always be accomplished first. This IS the no.1 stage for your kitchen remodel. Get a professional to help you… or simply start with your own journal of notes and decorating samples.

2-BUY YOUR APPLIANCES. Usually a homeowner is “forced into high gear” when one of their appliances breaksdown. You can live with old countertops and cabinets for a while longer, but you can’t operate without your main appliances. Go ahead and purchase the main ones, even if it’s just your fridge that went kaput. Most appliance manufacturers have a better deal when purchasing more than one. Even high-end makers (ie. Subzero and Wolf) have rebates when you purchase more than one. Oh…and don’t stress about which finish to choose. Choose STAINLESS please! or a finish that mimics the stainless look. I just don’t want to see you “outdate” yourself from the start!

Eliminated closet for more kitchen space.

Eliminated closet for more kitchen space.

3-PAINT THE WALLS. I know, I know…normally that’s the last step. But I find that homeowners are energized when they can paint in a fresh, updated color. It helps to finish, at least mentally, what the rest of the kitchen’s colors and patterns will be. It’s a great atmosphere and very inspiring to live for awhile in your kitchen, while saving bucks for the big items.

A great storage option when you order new cabinets!

A great storage option when you order new cabinets!

4-REPLACE CABINETS. Now if you think your existing cabinets are worthy of stone tops, and IF your existing cabinets are less than 6 years old, this 4th step could be my no. 5 stage below. Being logical, if you intend to get a new floor, you really can’t do that until the final stage, simply because it’s most likely going to RAISE your floor to finished ceiling height. So since you have your floor plan done (that was no. 1 above) get some quotes in the finishes and doorstyle that is current, appealing from a design point of view, AND functional. That means the latest closures and drawer systems. Don’t skimp because even very basic “stock” lines of cabinets (ie.Medallion Silverline)offer the latest in hardware and glides. Be looking at flooring at this point …. at least select your main items on your design board.

4.5-ARE YOU KEEPING YOUR EXISTING FLOOR? or replacing it? If you are going to keep a wood floor, for example, set up an appointment with a flooring refinisher that can do this AFTER step 5. If you need new flooring, specify the height, and make sure to shim the cabinet installation accordingly …. then you’ll be able to put the flooring in last, since your main appliances sit on top of it.

5-NEW COUNTERTOPS & SINK (possibly faucet unless you can safely reuse your existing). Please don’t do this step on old, outdated cabinetry. There’s no temporary approach for great surfaces on great looking cabinets. You’ll need to get the plumbing updated at this stage, since your new sink will mostly likely be undermounted and drain location may change slightly. NOTE TO HOMEOWNER: please don’t purchase laminate tops as you will outdate yourself immediately, and eliminate much of the value of the kitchen remodel, okay? I write this from my 20 years of experience…

Stay tuned for my 2014 Favorite Kitchen Products, and a closer look at the new lighting available.

Call me for help in setting up your kitchen remodel budget.

I know what things cost these days 🙂

Deb S.

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

Small Kitchen Top 5 Design Tips

Small Kitchen = Elegant Cozy Design

Small Kitchen = Elegant Cozy Design

Here are my top 5 design musts for small kitchens:

1- Opposites attract, so I always recommend selecting either painted cabinets, which will keep your color palette light, or
very dark stained cabinets which will keep your color palette dramatic, but still on the lighter side.

2-Backsplashes are powerful, especially in a smaller kitchen. Usually the 30-inch range prevails, so consider a designed backsplash in lighter tones of color with geometric shapes.

3-Add fabric somewhere. Chair cushions and window coverings are great places in tight spaces to add fabric for warmth and coziness.

4-Wood is king in a tiny space…..as long as it doesn’t overwhelm. I love the wooden table in this photo. If the cabinets were a dark stain, then a painted table and chairs would be my choice. Wood flooring is also an option.

5-Consider angles in a small kitchen. As you can see in this one-wall kitchen photo, the range was turned on a 90-degree angle and custom countertops to follow. This is a great way to take the eye away from the “smallness” of a room and yet in a kitchen provides interesting design detail.