The modern kitchen is the epicenter of every-day living. It’s where family and friends congregate, and has become the nerve center of your home. But how do we, as home designers, look at the kitchen design, with a strong emphasis on functionality, everyday living, entertaining, and of course, style and trends?
There seems to be an infinite number of kitchen layouts and designs, but when you are evaluating home plans or designing your own custom blueprint, we think the following considerations should be on your must-have checklist.
1. Size and Location
A top priority for any home is the size and location of the kitchen. You need to have enough room for multiple people to move around comfortably and have all the necessary amenities and functions arranged in a reasonable workflow. Some of the uses you‘ll want to consider are:
- Morning coffee and breakfast
- Eating counter
- Meal prep
- Meal cleanup
- Location of major appliances
- Small appliance usage and storage
- Loading groceries from the garage
- Food storage
- General cleaning supplies
2. Space / Aisle Width
We can't stress this enough, make sure that the kitchen area has enough room on the floor plan to provide four feet of space for walkways. It really does not matter how good something looks if it doesn't function and you are cramped and bumping into people while trying to work or socialize. If the floor plan you select doesn't have enough room to accommodate four-foot aisles, then it's strongly recommended that you search for a different floor plan, or modify the one you have.
3. The Island
The island has become the command center of the home as the ideal location for the sink, dishwasher, and pull-out wastebasket to allow for food preparation, serving, and cleanup, while being able to watch and interact with the rest of the house.
Also, make sure that your island has enough room for at least four seats. Whether you are looking at the island as an eating, congregation area, or as a buffet table for entertaining, having enough space is essential.
While you may have heard of the “work triangle” (sink, refrigerator, oven/range/microwave), don't forget about planning for the location of everyday use items like the coffee maker, toaster, phone charging station, and other amenities. These areas can be easily repurposed as beverage stations for entertaining, but remember that even for the most frequent entertainers, daily living functions will be the most important factors of your satisfaction with your kitchen.
Another frequent activity is bringing home groceries and supplies. Quick access to the garage with wide doorways and ample counter space to set purchases are important. Sufficient cabinet space and a convenient pantry for storage are other considerations.
5. Focal point
Whether your style is farmhouse, modern, craftsman, traditional, minimalist, or something else, every kitchen should have a focal point. Whether it be a fancy sink, dramatic range and hood, or a stunning backsplash/mural, a strong focal point will elevate the kitchen to featured status within a home design.
Bonus: Appliances and Equipment
In keeping with the goal of enhancing everyday living while making the kitchen a centerpiece for entertaining, we've found the following upgrades to be highly beneficial:
Double Oven – Let’s face it, if we're putting more than one dish in the oven, the second dish rarely requires the same temperature as the first and then it’s a guessing game as to how to adjust the cooking time for both dishes to come out of the oven at the same time and be correctly cooked. Whether you are cooking for one, two, a family, or a party, you will be pleasantly surprised at how frequently a double oven will come in handy.
Toe Kick Vacuum – We think that centralized vacuum systems are a must-have for any new construction and the toe-kick vacuum is one of those amenities that you never thought you needed but once you have it, you can’t live without. With dry spills, broken glass, and general dirt on the floor, simply sweep the debris into a discreet trap door on the toe kick area of your cabinets and watch it disappear. No more dustpans and having to go over the floor with a cloth to get dirt that’s left behind.
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