Updating The Heart of Your Home: The Kitchen
Is the kitchen the heart of a home? Oftentimes it is, indeed, the emotional and physical center of a home. It is where meals are made and eaten and it serves as a gathering spot for family and guests.
Families come together in the kitchen in the morning, getting ready for their days or brewing a cup of coffee. Kids do their homework there, so they can be near parents who are preparing dinner.
Many people now prefer a more casual style of entertaining guests, where friends can stop and chat in the kitchen while sipping wine or nibbling hors d’oeuvres. Because of this, the kitchen is a very popular room to remodel.
There are many reasons why people remodel their kitchens Sometimes the goal is nothing more than a kitchen upgrade, with new countertops, cabinets, floor, and appliances. Sometimes the goal is a gourmet kitchen, with professional-grade appliances and cooking capabilities.
Regardless of the reason for the remodel, the goal is a multi-purpose space that conventional kitchen designs cannot fulfill. Luckily, with a little bit of inspiration, kitchens can be redesigned and remodeled to better fit their multiple uses.
The Invisible Triangle
In kitchen design, one of the most prevalent structural frameworks is the “work triangle,” which is comprised of the space between the range, refrigerator, and sink. Most of the work happens at these three places, and it is important for them not to be situated too close together (as the cook will feel cramped with too little counter space) or too far apart.
Another option that’s becoming popular is the kitchen designed around the concept of stations, more like restaurant kitchens, with a prep station, a hot station, a clean-up station, and even computer station.
In a kitchen that’s used for both cooking and entertaining, the layout should also create smooth traffic patterns and make it possible for more than one person to cook at a time. In addition, family or friends who are not cooking will feel more comfortable gathering in a kitchen if there is sufficient space outside of the work area for them to relax without being in the way. A welcoming, casual floor plan that is open to the family room, breakfast nook or dining room will allow kitchen traffic to flow easily in, out and around the spaces.
A valuable addition when you’re entertaining is a butler’s pantry. With extra cabinets, counters, sink and perhaps an extra dishwasher or refrigerator, a butler’s pantry provides a perfect area for you to stage foods for serving. Everything from hors d’oeuvres platters to coffee cups can be set up there, and the extra counter space helps when clearing dirty dishes. It’s often possible to carve out room for a butler’s pantry in your existing space…and even a small one can make a big difference in the feel and functionality of your new kitchen.
An Island For The Family
An important design element is an island, which can play a big part in creating comfortable places for non-cooks to socialize in the kitchen. Island options can include bar-height seating at stools, a nook with a bench and upholstered chairs, or a convenient spot to serve food buffet-style. And, if you want the island to house a cooktop or a sink, it is possible to have a dual-height island with a lower level for food prep and a higher level for seating or serving.
In addition to an efficient layout, a kitchen designed for entertaining can include some specialized products to make life even easier. You might consider incorporating a warming drawer or steam oven for keeping one dish warm while you prepare another, or a wine refrigerator which can be built into an island or outside counter for easy service. If you’re always running out of ice, you may want a stand-alone ice maker as well.
Kitchen remodels, while rewarding, can be challenging to plan and construct, and kitchen technology is always changing. That’s why we’re here! With our creativity, experience and design know-how, we can explain your options and make recommendations you may not have even considered to ensure you’re getting everything you want and need from your beautiful new kitchen. See some of our favorites in our kitchen gallery.
TIP: Great Kitchens (and Baths) Begin with Remodeler Certifications
Kitchen and bath remodeling takes an extra level of expertise. That’s why we’re proud of our certifications such as CKBR, Certified Kitchen & Bath Remodeler and CKD, Certified Kitchen Designer. These are designations that NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry) and NKBA (National Kitchen & Bath Association) award only to professional remodelers who have proven they have the skills and real-world experience to make every kitchen and bath project live up to their clients’ dreams.