Insider Solutions

Cook Up Your Own Kitchen Look

Q: I am about to remodel my kitchen, and I'm looking for some advice as to what I should consider before beginning this project.

A: If I asked you what the most important room in the house is, how would you answer? No doubt you'd respond the kitchen. To begin your process, you might analyze what your kitchen means to you and how many different ways it functions for you and your family by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Why do you want to remodel?
  • Is your current kitchen working for you?
  • If not, why?
  • How would your dream kitchen look?
  • What obstacles do you see?
  • How long will you be staying in this home?

Today, architects/builders are creating open kitchens without doors and placing them prominently in view of other rooms. Kitchen cabinets are made to look like furniture, no matter the style. Even appliances don't look like their function, such as dishwashers with hidden controls and refrigerators with drawers.

Experience has taught me the kitchen is the favorite room in most homes. It is the heart of the home—the hub—and can create the greatest sense of belonging.

Kitchens have a pulse. We go there to be nurtured and supported. We go there to accomplish and be productive. We go there to interact.

Everyone knows you don't have to cook to spend time in the kitchen. In many homes we enter the kitchen from the garage. This is the place where we open mail, talk on the phone, entertain, water plants, bathe babies and put away groceries. In fact, it is often a medicine/vitamin center. If it has a desk, it might also be your office.

Kitchens excite all our senses. We go to the kitchen to see what is going on. We venture there to find something to eat. Our sense of taste is stimulated. Superb aromas come from there. Wonderful sounds and touch come from the preparation of food. We hear voices of family. It is a great source of stimulation, connection and comfort. We feel our kitchens!

It is an area of diverse purpose—everyone's purpose is different and individual—the kitchen becomes a space of tremendous personal expression. When I walk into a client's kitchen, I learn so much about the people who live there just by looking around.

As you see, there are many questions to consider when you are planning to redo your kitchen and the answers have to come from you. What works for you may not work for your neighbor or friend. Only you can decide what makes a kitchen personal and workable.

Consider the following to make your kitchen more personal:

  • Is the seating comfortable and the table the right size and shape?
  • Do you have ambient lighting, which sets a mood while dining and relaxing?
  • Are the work areas adequate and brightly lighted?
  • Is there enough space for someone else in the family to help you prepare food?
  • Do you like the colors in your kitchen?
  • Is there a comfortable, out-of-the-way space for someone to hang out during food preparation?
  • Do you have enough storage?
  • Are your cabinets organized?
  • Do you have plants to help infuse life into the surroundings?

There are basic things a kitchen needs and product knowledge is important. Read magazines, visit showrooms, go to home shows and talk to designers to learn about all the many wonderful things that are available to you.

Most of all, remember it's up to you to define the heart of your home; rooms have no feelings, you do!

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