When you purchase a home, you inherit the kitchen design that comes with it. In other words, it’s someone else’s idea of what a kitchen should be. Unless a major remodel or a new house is in your future, you have to learn to do the best you can with what you have.
If you are lucky, someday you will get to design a kitchen. In this process, you’ll be making many important decisions. If you plan to host dinner parties, then you need to create a design with this in mind.
If it’s a remodel, you will have some constraints, but work within them to the best of your ability. You will be transforming something that already exists into something even more extraordinary of which you can be proud.
With new construction, you will be working from a blank palette, and it’s your chance to go well beyond form and function. Your new kitchen should be well organized. It should be logical, clear, orderly, welcoming, warm, simple, humble and not too trendy.
Some important points: Be sure there is adequate storage, so everything is able to be stored out of sight. Having tableware such as plates, dishes, silverware, and glasses close to the dishwasher is a good idea. Locating spices, so they are visible and close to the stove is preferable (but not too close to adversely affect them). The food preparation area should include plenty of clutter-free counter space. Adding an island and a food cart will create a more efficient workflow.
If you have room, be sure to include a pantry and at least one closet. I would suggest building the laundry room someplace away from the kitchen. Space is much too valuable for a laundry room to encroach on this area.
Allow plenty of space for extra bodies, not just for workers, but also for observers and kibitzers. I encourage having guests in the kitchen; however, don’t make it so large and rambling that it loses its intimacy and charm.
The following appliances are an absolute necessity: double-oven, deep sinks, a very large refrigerator, and a commercial-grade stovetop with a minimum of five burners with hood. And if you are really serious about entertaining, a second dishwasher (I don’t have a second one, but I can dream, can’t I?).
Give special attention to the placement of your appliances. This is critical to efficiency, so plan carefully.
I would also include two eating areas: a not-so-formal open area adjacent to the kitchen where conversations can be held with your guests while dinner is being prepared, and a formal dining room adjoining the kitchen. A formal dining room isolates your seated guests so they can’t see what’s going on in the kitchen. They also can’t see the mess.
We occasionally hire someone to serve the food and do the clean-up. With the guests seated in the dining room, this work won’t be in view of the guests.
Your new kitchen should harmonize with the décor of the rest of the house. It should exude a sense of peace, calm and serenity. Keep it interesting, and above all, it should reflect you and your lifestyle.
Note: When we decided to build our house, we sat down and decided what we wanted the final product to be. We wrote a creed that we followed. It kept us on track, and ten years later, we are still thrilled with the space we created. If you are heading down this road, perhaps this might be helpfu, or at least stimulate some thought and discussion. Click on The Creative Creed.