Kitchen Design Considerations

Before any Kitchen remodel, there is an extensive process of design.  Many things will come into play - The shape of the room,  your cooking and life style, the type of cabinets - counter tops and appliances you dream of having and then the big item of "Budget".  Do you have enough money to build the kitchen of your dreams?  That is where something called value engineering comes in.  You take what you want, factor in the cost than see how much money you have, and if it isn't enough - weigh your options and try to get as close as you can to the dream.

Most kitchens have one sink, but many times there are two people cooking - which makes for a crowded kitchen. If you are incorporating a peninsula or island, this is usually also a great place to add a sink. Try and offset the sinks so the chefs are not bumping into each other. It just takes a little bit of tricky plumbing to vent the drain, involving a loop vent - in islands and penninsulas.  I'll write a how to post on this in an upcoming article.

Storage in your cabinets is a big consideration.  I really think cabinets with doors and roll out shelving are a waste of money.  Why not just put in drawers to start with?  Drawers are easy to organize and are completely accessible.  Opening doors and then pulling out a roll out shelf - not only wastes space, but it is inconvenient. The only place I would use cabinets that are not drawer banks would be in a sink base - where you have plumbing, in blind and inside corners and on pantry cabinets.  Drawer banks work great for almost all lower cabinets.

Under counter lighting is something you must plan for in advance of construction. Prewiring for fixture location and switches are done in the planning stages.  Lighting and controls are also essential design elements, in the planning stages. Task lighting, must be planned and it is very handy to split the switches up, so that all of the lights do not have to be on at the same time.  The undercounter lights are really nice for those late night snacks and are great for parties.  They are not something you want to add as an afterthought.

Appliances can wipe out your budget and many times are not very well planned for in advance. This built in refrigerater/freezer is a massive unit. It takes up five feet in width. The unit looked kind of squatty on the show-room floor, because of it's width, so we planned a toe space in advance to elevate the unit four inches. This makes it much more scaleable to its space. The units' trim package had a very tall louvred aluminum panel that goes over the top. This panel was so large that there would not be any storage space above. We cut the panel down on a tablesaw and trimmed the outside metal frame. There are now two cabinets over the refrigerator/freezer and we still provided adequate ventilation for the units. 
Details:  The peninsula has a nice overhang that provides more countertop space and doubles as a bar counter.  This is a high traffic area, so the granite tops were fabricated with an eased radius on the corners.  It wouldn't be a whole lot of fun to bang your hip on a sharp corner as you walked by.  Other details included having a window sill fabricated out of the same granite to match the countertops.  The backsplashes were made from the same slate as the floor and laid diagonally like the flooring to help tie the design together.  It provides more interest than granite slab backsplashes.  The end result saved money and was more attractive.

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