Good Job! You’ve determined what works or not and now have visions of your new and improved kitchen.
Now, you have to…Get Real
This means you can’t guess about dimensions to get the right quantity and/or size of any new materials or products.
Measure your kitchen and everything in it, and then map it out to scale on graph paper or use an app dedicated to kitchen design. You want to accurately show the location of each door and which way it swings and the size and placement of windows and skylights if any. Mark off the location of electrical outlets, appliances, plumbing fixtures and cabinets. Now, plan in hand, you can start to sketch your ideas to move things around to make the best possible use of the space you have.
When detail-obsessive is a good thing. It’s very smart to measure appliances, cookware, and supplies to make sure that not only do you have a place for everything, but also that everything fits perfectly in its place.
While thinking about the improvements you’d like to make, the notion that bigger is always better is questionable here. What you want is maximum efficiency flow. Think through your typical food prep steps. For example, you would take designated items from refrigerator, to the counter/cutting board, to stove/oven, to sink, to trash, to recyclables.
You want fluid movement with no backtracking.
Attend to any details that will make time spent in the kitchen easier. Case in point: Julia Child was wonderful to watch on TV in her day, not only because of her brilliant cooking lessons, but because her clumsy awkwardness (and subsequent graceful recoveries) was so human and relatable. In her own kitchen she was swan like, due to the customization of the counter tops, cabinets and hanging storage areas to accommodate her six-foot, two-inch height.
Here are some other ideas to throw into your “Think Tank”:
- Generous counters allow you to spread out when you cook instead of wasting time hunting for places to put all the ingredients you will need for a particular recipe. You will have room should you want to roll out dough and a great place to set up a drinks station at party time.
- How about roll-out under-counter containers for sorting the recyclables? Or, if the cupboards are deep, fit them with pullout shelves so it’s easier to reach the stuff in the back of the cabinet.
- Deep wide drawers with special heavyweight gliders on the bottom can hold a lot of items you might otherwise have to leave on the counter top. Expanses of clean cleared space are a wonderful thing.
- Lights installed under the upper cabinets and operated with a separate switch are a great idea. This provides not only useful task lighting but is a lovely option at night rather than turning on the overhead light upon entering the kitchen.
- Make sure you have electrical outlets where you need them, mounted low in the back-splash so you don’t see dangling cords.
- If you like to cook for large numbers of people, you’ll be using big pots and roasting pans. Big deep sinks are a must to accommodate the pots and pans at clean up time.
Max-out on efficiency. Make your kitchen work for you, not the “work-around” you live with now.
Next Time: Kitchen Renovation #5: Field Trip
(Kitchen Renovation Six Part Series)