Unfortunately, many of my clients have begun the design of their kitchen without fully comprehending the scope of what is involved in the process in terms of design, money, timing, and other factors. In these circumstances, the customer and I both found the design process to be frustrating. As a result, this article will simplify the process so that you are better educated before beginning your kitchen makeover, allowing you to avoid making rash judgments or wasting time and/or money.
This article isn’t about your kitchen’s specific design elements or how to design it. There are a lot of useful resources for that. Rather, it’s about the process of creating your dream kitchen. Its purpose is to assist in obtaining a head start and to introduce anyone who is, or maybe, embarking on the design of a new or remodeled kitchen to the first and most crucial step in the process: planning.
Designing a kitchen for a new or existing home takes a lot of time, money, and effort, and it may be stressful and difficult at times. Unfortunately, several businesses and television shows avoid discussing this topic, leading to consumer confusion about the amount of time and effort required. Even though designing a new kitchen is difficult, most clients agree that the result is well worth the work. I hope that the information offered here will be of use in getting you well on your way to completing a successful project.
Before you begin the process of creating your new kitchen, you must first establish the design requirements. I propose hiring a professional kitchen designer who will not only design the cabinet arrangement but will also design every other aspect of the kitchen and will be involved throughout the project to ensure that the end result is a coherent design that reflects optimum function and style. The designer will not only assist you in creating a beautiful, functional kitchen but will also save you time and money while you both enjoy working on your collaborative creation. I’m confident that what follows will get your blood pumping and your mind racing in preparation for your voyage. It is, after all, a voyage!
THE MODERN KITCHEN
Cooking and sharing food has long been crucial to family life, therefore the kitchen has traditionally been the most significant room in the house. Meals will always be crucial, but cooking has altered dramatically in some circumstances. Hundreds of restaurants have incorporated “to-go” into their business model, and the supermarket industry has focused on substitutes for home meals. Kitchens remain the cornerstone of family life, whether we cook frequently or not because they are where we live and assemble. It is where most of us begin and end our days, as well as share the events of the day.
Today’s kitchens perform more functions than ever before, including entertainment, home office, cooking, and eating. An entertainment center might feature a TV, music, and an internet connection, whereas an office might have a desk, files, a computer, and bookshelves.
THE VERY FIRST STEP
Determine who uses your current kitchen and how, as well as the features you’d like to see in the new one, alongside your family. Make a scrapbook with articles and notes about kitchens and kitchen features that you’re interested in, as well as photos of kitchens you enjoy. Examine how and when you cook, where and to whom you serve meals, and how often and how you entertain. Make a list of your dishes, silverware, serving pieces, cookware, linens, and typical supermarket storage needs to ensure that the new design will fit everything.
No matter how much time you budget for a renovation project, it always seems to take longer than you anticipated. Depending on the scale and scope of the project, the downtime during construction can last anywhere from two to three months to considerably longer. In the meantime, your family must eat. So, before the work begins, make plans to store, heat, and clean enough food to last you until the kitchen is operational again. Many of my clients who have the good fortune of having a bar sink in their family room have moved the old refrigerator and microwave near the bar sink to serve as an interim kitchen while the new one is being built. The positive is that it gives you a good reason to dine out more frequently!
THE FOOTPRINT IN THE KITCHEN
Let’s start with the kitchen space you have available. Whether you’re creating a new home or remodeling an existing one, the amount of space you have available to realize your vision is restricted. If the room is limited, you should assess whether or not you have the ability to expand. You might be able to do this in your current home, and in a new home, you might still have time to change the architectural layout if necessary. In any situation, removing or relocating a wall or walls, or adding to the house to make extra space for the kitchen, will considerably increase the room’s function and value.
However, if you don’t build an extension and instead remove or relocate a wall(s), you’ve encroached on a contiguous space and reduced its size, so you’ll have to decide which choice is best for you. Is it worthwhile to give up other space in order to expand the kitchen? If you can do without the next room, it is far better to devote that extra space to the kitchen, in my opinion.
When removing or relocating a wall, the most important consideration is whether or not you will meet a load-bearing condition. This happens when the wall(s) are part of the house’s structural support system. This is usually something that a contractor can figure out. If the contractor is unsure, you should have a structural engineer inspect the construction. If it is not load-bearing, the contractor can proceed to build out the area according to the revised plan when you are ready to begin building. If the problem is load-bearing, you’ll need to hire a structural engineer or architect to create a structural solution for removing or relocating the wall (s).
He or she will submit the solution’s design drawings and calculations to the building authority for review and approval. When you get the permit and are ready to start building, the contractor can finish the project according to the engineer’s or architect’s standards. This is the procedure in California, which is based on Title 24 of the state building code. The procedure is quite similar in the other states.
In either event, you’ll know the size and form (footprint) of the space you have available from a horizontal position – Plan View – once you’ve decided whether or not to expand or reconfigure.
SPACE IN THE VERTICAL
You should also think about the size and shape of the room from a vertical aspect. If it is possible to enhance the height of the room by elevating, removing, or modifying an existing low ceiling or soffit, you should strongly consider doing so. The increased height of wall cabinets will provide more cabinet storage, and the room will become more expansive, which is always more visually striking and pleasant. The load-bearing concerns will apply to both expanding the room height and relocating or removing walls from a building standpoint.
Of course, you will not be dealing with all of these design and construction difficulties and decisions on your own. Your designer will be the most important person in assisting you in evaluating the options available to you. He or she will create drawings to visually demonstrate these possibilities and will provide advice on which is the best option and why.
I appreciate how tedious and difficult this all seems. These two terms, in some ways, encapsulate the design/construction process. What I’ve described above, however, is done thousands of times every day, and the majority of those homeowners have survived and now have the new, gorgeous, functioning kitchen of their dreams. You’ll notice that I used the word “most”! Seriously, the endeavor will be difficult, and issues will arise. This is the nature of design and building, which is why you should not proceed without the assistance of an experienced professional throughout the entire process, from start to finish.
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR KITCHEN
Are you an excellent chef who can do it all: cooking, baking, and barbecuing, or a minimal cook whose main objective is to get a meal on the table for the family as quickly as possible, or somewhere in the middle? Do you cook by yourself all of the time or do you frequently enlist the help of family and friends? Do you frequently host and invite everyone into the kitchen to snack on Brie between sips of chardonnay? Do you bake a lot and want a marble countertop for it? The list of inquiries is endless.
Some of our clients have huge, prestigious houses in which they frequently party and/or have large families. They might hire someone to cook for them. Some of these projects, such as a butler’s pantry or walk-in pantry, two islands, two refrigerators, two dishwashers, two microwave ovens, a wine cooler, a separate beverage cooler, a built-in espresso machine, sink, prep sink, and bar sink, and glass-door cabinets to display family heirloom china, may require the full treatment.
Most clients only need a fraction of this, but I bring it up to underline that how you use your kitchen has a significant impact on the design, therefore, as I previously stated, you should consider how you want to function and what you want to allow in your kitchen. You can begin to consider the types of appliances and features you want. Consider the three main work areas in a kitchen: food preparation (refrigerator and sink), cooking (cook top, oven, and microwave), and cleanup (cook top, oven, and microwave) (sink, dishwasher, and recycling). There are numerous styles and alternatives to choose from, which you and your designer should carefully evaluate. Of course, there will be more planning!
WHERE AND HOW WILL YOU EAT?
An island with chairs may be preferable to being able to eat in the kitchen. The number of people you can sit with is determined by the size of the island that space can hold. Because seating at an island limits the amount of storage space available on the island, the rest of the kitchen storage must compensate. There are three counter heights to choose from: chair height (29-30″), counter height (36″), and bar height (38″). (42″).
If you have an adjacent breakfast room, you might as well eat there to free up extra storage space on the island. Instead of a traditional table and chairs, you might prefer the notion of a built-in booth in the breakfast room or kitchen if space allows it. Many customers prefer the flexibility of eating in both the breakfast room and the kitchen island. There is no breakfast room in some circumstances, thus the dining room acts as both a breakfast and a dining room. In any event, you should think about these and other options carefully.
THE STYLE OF DESIGN
Traditional, Modern, Contemporary, Country, Craftsman, Cape Cod, and other design motifs are all accessible. The design motif you choose will certainly have a significant impact on the rest of the kitchen’s aspects. The cabinet style and finish have the most impact on the kitchen’s design style. As previously stated, you might begin by collecting kitchen photographs from magazines to get a sense of what you like and don’t like. They will provide you with fantastic kitchen ideas. Stock, semi-custom, and custom cabinets come in a variety of styles and finishes, and custom cabinets, of course, can be made in any design and finish.
The planning will continue until every detail of the overall kitchen design has been chosen and specified. You’re more than halfway there once you’ve determined your footprint and vertical space, how you want to use your kitchen, how and where you want to eat, and your design motif. On a smaller scale, the planning process continues as you make more judgments about all of the elements and challenges that go into a complete kitchen design.
Do you frequently prepare spaghetti and noodles, which necessitates filling a large pot with four to six quarts of water? If this is the case, a pot-filler should be placed over the cook top or range top. Because there are only two of you and it takes a long time to load the dishwasher before you can wash the dishes, you should consider a two-drawer dishwasher, which allows you to wash one drawer at a time, conserving energy and allowing you to wash your dishes more frequently. Do you want the disposal to be controlled by an air switch in the countertop or by a switch on the backsplash? Do you want waste disposal in both the prep and main sinks? Do you want your cabinet drawers to close softly? Do you think pendant lighting over the island is a good idea? Do you want a filtration system for your water? The list goes on and on!
The following are the various categories you will meet when planning your new kitchen. This category list will give you a taste of what’s to come. I didn’t say it would be simple!
I hope that after reading this post, you have a better understanding of how vital thorough planning is for a great kitchen design. The more thought and time you put into it, the more prepared you’ll be when you meet with your designer, and the process will become easier and more efficient, which will benefit everyone involved.
After you’ve made the majority of the macro-decisions I’ve described, you’ll be ready to face the micro-decisions that follow. As you can see from the examples I’ve given and the categories listed above, you still have a lot of preparation to do, but keep in mind that you’re already halfway there. Be strong and determined, and I am confident that you will make it through the process relatively undamaged. And, if you’re thoughtful, organized, and operate in a cooperative spirit, you’ll probably have a good time! Keep in mind that you aren’t responsible for everything. Throughout the journey, your experienced designer will be by your side.
I genuinely hope you found this material useful, and I wish you all the best on your journey.
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