Kitchens. For some it’s merely a place to warm up frozen dinners in the microwave—the modern equivalent to cooking wildebeest over a pre-historic bonfire. To others it’s a place to create culinary masterpieces and entertain friends, and to still others it’s a place to claim sanctuary from marauding offspring. But to most it’s a place where life happens—time is spent with family and friends, homework is done, the kids hangout with their friends, couples enjoy cooking together, holidays meals and treats are lovingly prepared and much more. It’s a special place, made more so by warm memories of special places like it.
To have a kitchen that works for all who use it and for all the ways that it’s used, here are some rules.
Kimberlee’s Rule of Kitchen Design #1: “You don’t just cook in it”
Your family and friends hang out in it too. There’s homework, paying bills, visiting with friends over a cup of coffee, entertaining, and grabbing a quick breakfast or snack and so much more that happens in the kitchen.
One of the most versatile things you can have in a kitchen is an island. These are the centerpiece of the kitchen and here is the perfect place for all of the above plus a cooktop, microwave, lots of storage—the possibilities are endless. It can be anything you need it to be. It is worth the remodel to make enough room to add an island. A peninsula is the next best thing. If nothing else, one good option is a counter-height table and counter stools.
One of the most popular remodeling projects today is combining the kitchen with the family room or living room. It involves opening up one wall to form an open floorplan but you won’t regret it. Your kitchen will truly be a living space.
Kimberlee’s Rule of Kitchen Design #2: “You can’t have enough storage.”
Do you remember the last time you moved? Your brain may have blocked that memory from your conscious mind for its own safety but I’m certain you had at least 100 times more stuff than you thought you had. You may have far more then you know but you can’t find it. Everything in your kitchen is screaming for shelter and it’s up to you to provide it.
Creative storage is the answer—drawers of various sizes, hidden pull-outs, adjustable shelving in cabinets, built-in organization and, if possible, a pantry. Pantries are fantastic, you can buy food in bulk, store small appliances, and hide from the kids or the grandchildren when necessary.
Always keep what you use often in the handiest location possible and the rest right next door. If you store, like most people do, all those great small appliances (the waffle iron, the ice cream machine, the bread machine) in some out-of-the-way place because you don’t use them often you will never use them at all because it’s too much of a hassle to get them out.
Remember: When planning storage always plan for more things than you currently own.
Kimberlee’s Rule of Kitchen Design #3: “Triangles suck”
The classic design rule for kitchens has always been the “work triangle.” From the days of Moses to Martha Stewart the ideal situation was three steps from fridge to sink to stove. Today kitchens are larger and they contain a lot more. Also there are often two cooks rather than just one, and two cleaning up as well. There would have to be more than one triangle and that really gets confusing and can lead to food feuds, anarchy between the sexes, and possible bloodshed and severed digits. This antiquated system has now been cast aside for ideas that better suit our brave new world.
The newest design revolution takes its inspiration from professional kitchens. The kitchen is divided into stations, each based around a specific function. Food storage, food prep, clean up area, cooking and baking, are the basics but some kitchens have more. These need to be placed where they make most sense.
Although there are basic rules for a good kitchen design, every family is unique and every kitchen should be just as unique, fitting the needs and desires the family.