Kitchen remodels can be pretty daunting. I like to think of them as fun adventures. With the help of our amazing chefs, we've come up with some tips to make the process less stressful and the final result workable and beautiful.
The Triangle of Success
All kitchens need a functional work triangle or triangle of success, as I like to say. The work triangle consists of the sink, stove/oven, and refrigerator being in proximity to one another for efficient movement back and forth. The idea of the triangle of success is to keep the rhythm in the kitchen while preparing meals. Things should flow like honey, smooth and easy. Here are some examples of the triangle of success for a few different kitchen lay outs.
Flooring and Cabinetry
After you've established your triangle of success, the rest of the remodel is fun! This is the place where all the design ideas you've had come into play. Here, we'll work from the floor up.
Materials like tile, stone, and hard wood make excellent flooring choices. The kitchen, in many homes, is the central point. It is the place where family and friends gather before sitting down to dinner. It's the heart of the home. Hard surfaces like stone and tile are incredibly durable, easily cleaned, and can really make a statement.
Hard wood is warm and feels great on your feet; it's inviting. Wood floors are also more forgiving than tile or stone. Have you ever dropped a plate on a tile or stone floor? Man, there is nothing like the sound of that shatter. You know the second it leaves your hand, its a goner. As your brain tells you to try to save the plate, your heart skips a beat and it is already mourning the loss of one of your beloved dish. Dropping a plate on hard wood can be less emotionally taxing. They usually hit the floor, *thud*, then spin like a toy top and land flat, ready to be picked up, brushed off and used again. Both surfaces are wonderfully easy to clean. The flooring choice comes to personal preference, but any of the three are fantastic.
Cabinets really set the tone for the kitchen. Are you looking for something light and bright, fun and whimsical, traditional, or darn and modern? The exterior of the cabinets can be whatever you want them to be, as long as they are easily cleaned. There is nothing like scrubbing marinara off bright white cabinets.
For the interior and storage, we've found that draws are fantastic for pots and pans. This allows the pans to be stacked and easily accessible. If drawers aren't something you like, having a traditional cabinet with a pull out for the pots and pans is great as well. Here are some examples.
Now the question is, "What do I do with those pesky cookie sheets, muffin tins, and random platters?" You're in luck, we've got answers! Over the years you accrue more and more cookie sheets and muffin tins, none of which are the same size, making them difficult to stack and store. Well, having a space that is designated for those random pieces we all have is the first step. Usually it is close to the oven for accessibility. The second step is having racks installed. Like this.
There are a couple different routes to take when thinking about a pantry. First, go for the gusto and have a large walk-in pantry (everyone's dream). Let's face it, a walk-in pantry is amazing. Not only can it hold dried goods, it can act as extra storage for equipment not regularly used, seasonal kitchen decor, etc.
Not everyone has the space for a large walk in pantry, so the alternative is to make your space work for you. If you currently have a cabinet that is deep and floor length, add pull out shelves. The same principle applies with the pots and pans. With pull out shelves, you'll be able to see everything you have...easily. The likelihood of having chicken broth from 2000 decreases tremendously!
Counter Tops and Electrical Outlets
Counter tops are one of the first things people think of when remodeling kitchens, there are so many options. Our chefs work in many different homes and have a vast experience when it comes to workable counter surfaces. Here are some guidelines that will narrow down the search and give lasting satisfaction for durability.
- Under NO circumstances: MARBLE.
- it is beautiful
- it is unique
- it is expensive
- it stains easily (water can stain marble)
- it is porous
- it chips eaisly
- NO LAMINATE
- it is inexpensive
- it will melt if something hot is on it
- it scratches easily
- is isn't easy to repair
- NO CORIAN
- it can be perfectly matched in solid pieces
- is will melt or scorch if something hot is on it
- it can be scratched easily
- YES GRANITE/SOAPSTONE/SLATE
- it is beautiful
- it is durable
- it is stain resistant once sealed
- the color doesn't fade
- it is non-porous
- it won't melt because it is a natural stone
The upfront cost of granite, soapstone, or slate will save you in the long run.
Electrical outlets are a necessity in any kitchen. We've found you can't ever have enough! Here are some tips. First, if you have an island, place electrical outlets on both sides. This increases functionality. Second, allow for more electrical outlets than you think you need. The standard outlets are usually placed next to each side of the stove and both sides of the sink. Once the standard outlets are placed, add a few more. If you have long open counter space and no outlet, put one on the backslash. If you have a corner and there aren't any outlets within cord length, you need to place an outlet on both sides of the corner.
Shopping for kitchen appliances can be overwhelming and a lot of fun. Companies are always coming out with new technology and more efficient ways to work in the kitchen. Our most important note is to have double ovens, one of which should have convection capabilities. Your double ovens should also accommodate a cookie sheet not only side to side, but front to back. The remaining appliances are personal preference.
Sinks are imperative in kitchens. When choosing a sink for your kitchen there are a few things we suggest. First, get a double sink that is deep enough to place a stock pot/pasta pot in without having to hinge the neck of the faucet. One of the basins must have a garbage disposal. The double sink is important because it helps keep the area as sanitary as possible. Imagine you are washing ready to eat fruit and vegetables and rinsing chicken in the same sink. Salmonella anyone?
Depth of the sink is also important because you don't want water all over the floor. You want to be able to fill pots and pans easily. The shallow sinks allow water to splash out onto the floor and surrounding counter space. This screams extra clean up to me!
The surface material used in the sink should also be non porous and heat resistant. There is nothing like melting a sink with a hot pan. Here are some suggested materials, Stainless Steel
is on the top of the list because it is easily cleaned and durable. Composite Granite
is also another fantastic option for sink material. It is durable, scratch resistant, and easy to clean. It also comes in a variety of colors. Cast Iron with a durable Enamel Finish
is next on the list. Cast Iron is one of the most durable materials and has been around for generations. The down side is it is incredibly porous, so it needs the enamel finish. The lighter colored enamel finishes will show scratches, but if you get one with a darker tint, you'll have a great sink for years to come.
There is nothing better than coming home to an amazing smelling kitchen. You sit down and have dinner, the smell is still there. It is time for bed and your are brushing your teeth, but you still smell the roasted chicken dinner you had a few hours ago. This is where the importance of a proper ventilation system comes into play. A hood vent, or ventilation system is a huge part of a kitchen. It allows the odor from cooking to ventilate and dissipate quickly. It really only works if you have a system that vents directly outside otherwise, it is circulating the smells.
These are the major things we've compiled that are really important when remodeling a kitchen. These are tools you'll use to hopefully make your remodel a little easier and a lot of fun.