It’s only just ticked over to 2016, and we’re certain some of you are eager to revisit a project that didn’t progress beyond an idea – a 2015 idea. . New year, new resolutions, new start. If that project involves an overhaul of your kitchen, we’ve outlined 6 key considerations to guide you through the initial planning and decision-making process.
As cliché as it sounds, kitchens are the heart of the home. It’s a vibrant place where all 5 senses come to life, friends and family congregate to create, taste and enjoy the experience of dining. Nowadays the kitchen serves as more than just a place to cook, it reaches far beyond that nurturing and nourishing the mind, body and soul.
We are now living in an age that embraces open spaces, showcasing beautiful long island benches that double up as a table for the family with appliances quietly concealed behind stunning cabinetry. Sleek contemporary design or warm and inviting, the styles are endless.
As the central hub of home activity– the kitchen deserves a design that optimises space efficiency and functionality. Every space is unique but there are some standard configurations and common constraints that come into play with any renovations. Careful and practical planning will ensure you avoid some common pitfalls and set the foundation for a smooth renovation.
1. The Dream Kitchen
What is your vision of the ultimate kitchen and what is your styling preference? More often then not, renovating a particular area in the home is more than simple aesthetics. We also need to consider functionality, maximizing space, catering to particular lifestyle needs and ensuring the space works in harmony with centrally living and entertaining areas. You need to set clear goals and communicate them with all involved in the project. Start a file with clippings and images from magazines articles (online and offline) and think about your favourite ‘look’? Minimalist? Traditional? Scandinavian? Industrial? Rustic? Classic?
Create a mood board with samples of materials and colours you love. Bringing all the elements together will help evoke your personal style preference. Whilst your creative cap is on, also consider what flooring options will work best with the design concept.
Some may consider this point to be a little exhaustive, but it can easily be overlooked when in the planning phase. How manly people will be in your kitchen at various times and how big will the get whilst living in the house? Consider three strapping young men (who are now under 5) strutting around your kitchen, rummaging through all the cupboards and feasting on that modestly sized island bench you selected many years ago – all at once!
From doing your research on available (and necessary) appliances to deciding whether you want to showcase your cooking skills or keep them concealed – the choices are infinite.
It’s important to be careful when selecting appliances, as their dimensions will play a pivotal role in the overall layout and finish of the kitchen. Think about what appliances you plan to actually use in your kitchen and eliminate the ones you know will end up collecting dust. What elements do you want to be in close proximity, such as the fridge and cooking station, to avoid countless trips back and forth?
Another important consideration is if your family is a lover of BBQ’s and outdoor entertaining, it needs to convenient to the kitchen space.
No matter how many pennies you spend on your kitchen, if the layout isn’t up to scratch, it’s a complete waste of money. When embarking on a new kitchen the first and most important step is to plan the layout in a way that optimises available space. Though every home is different, there are four or five classic layouts, each with their own benefit.
- Galley kitchens with one or two continuous runs of cabinets
- L-shaped kitchens that are built into a corner and offering maximum counter space
- U-shaped kitchens surround the cook on three sides and are ideal for ‘no through traffic’ to disrupt work zones.
An obvious layout consideration is the placement of the kitchen sink and appliances. The cook top, sink, and refrigerator should all be within adequate proximity to one another. You will need to take into account available space, where you would like your family to eat and how many eating facilities you require. Within the space you will need to fit furniture, so ensure to allow for your furniture (sofa, dining table, chairs, coffee unit) prior to cabinetry being secured to the floor.
Sight lines are another important layout consideration, particularly when designing for an open-plan space. The key views and entrances should be kept as clear as possible so that the room feels open and spacious. Views and traffic patterns should be optimised to ensure everything flows well into adjacent room.
Many people underestimate the importance of storage, and regret it once the kitchen is already in the development stage. An over abundance of kitchenware, food items and small appliances can turn your kitchen into a muddled mess if you don’t have sufficient storage. First call of order would be to clean out everything you haven’t touched or glanced at in years. You will also need to ascertain what size fridge you require and additional storage – perhaps you’ve been fantasizing about a butlers pantry? This little luxury has made a resurgence in home design front and it’s a winner!
Plan everything down to the last detail: consider all storage requirements, utensil drawers, pots and pans stored next to the stove and oven, knife slab and drawers adjacent to food preparation areas.
6. Plumbing, Electrical
Nowadays the trend is to conceal most kitchen appliances. If you want to get rid of bench top appliances taking over your workspace and are unsure of where to put them, they can be kept in drawers for easy access or behind cleverly designed cupboards, plugged in and ready to go. It’s the perfect way to keep these items accessible yet out of plain sight.
Another functional development in the world of kitchen design is installing the sink on your island bench. When you’re limited on space, putting your main sink in the island can save your kitchen layout and functionality. If you like the idea, consider your flooring – if it’s concrete you may be in for a bigger renovation than originally anticipated.
Are you embarking on a new project? Do you have you had any renovation experience to share? Delightful or catastrophic, we’d absolutely love to hear from you on our Facebook page!