Like your car or your clothing, your kitchen should fit and serve you well. In addition to accommodating the way you cook, eat and store food, it must harmonise with your home’s design scheme and provide a comfortable- able gathering place for your family and friends. How do you begin planning a kitchen that will do all that?
Start with your primary motive for remodelling and planning your new kitchen. Most likely it will focus on one of two issues: efficiency or appearance. In other words, your current kitchen may not work well for you, or it may just look outdated.
Begin by taking a week or two to observe how you use your kitchen. Keep a notepad handy and jot down any problems or annoyances that keep you from being efficient or comfortable when using the kitchen, as well as anything in the room that you find unattractive. Also, note those elements that work well or aspects of the kitchen that you enjoy.
Imagine the way you perform daily tasks. Where do you set down the grocery bags when you come through the door? Is it convenient to unload the dishwasher? Where do you stack the dirty dishes as you cook? How easily can you slip away from the dinner table to check on something in the oven? What sorts of items do you leave out on the counters, and is there a better place for them? Where do people sit or stand as they chat with the cook? Once you’ve documented the positives and negatives, start dreaming up possible changes.
Also, talk to friends about what they like and dislike about their own kitchens. Don’t worry about the cost yet. There will be plenty of time to bring your fantasies down to earth as you move through other planning stages. At this point in the process, the key is to consider every possibility.
Fulfilling your kitchen fantasy may be as simple as installing pantry shelves in your cabinets, or as dramatic as adding a glassed-in sunroom. When adapting a kitchen to your needs, think in broad terms about the issues at hand. If you’ve lived with a small kitchen for years, you may think of the room simply as a place in which to prepare and store food and clean up after meals. As you brainstorm your kitchen, remember that this room can serve many other functions, as well.
If your kitchen has no eating area, consider adding a breakfast nook. If your home doesn’t have a den or study you might include an office space or a study desk. Also, consider how your household will change over the next fifteen years. The needs of a family with young children who will soon become teenagers are quite different than the needs of a mature family whose children will soon leave for college.