To be a good cook, you don’t need a big kitchen, just a well laid out and effectively organized one. The secret to creating gourmet meals for family and friends is making the best use of what you have, by removing clutter and giving you the workspace you need to create effortless feasts. Try these ideas to transform your kitchen design into cooking heaven.
MAKE THE WORKSPACE YOUR PRIORITY
Kitchen design experts talk about a kitchen ‘work triangle’ - that’s the space between the refrigerator, food prep area and stove - or similarly the kitchen 'work zones' that are part of a kitchen layout. You need easy access between these spaces when getting meals together. Keep your favorite kitchen tools such as knives, ladles and wooden spoons close to hand. The trash and recycling cans should also be close by, but not a trip hazard, so built-ins positioned where they will not interfere with movement through the kitchen are the best option, like this kitchen remodel below!
A walk-in pantry like the kitchen design in Newtown, PA below left or well-designed pantry pull-outs like those below right also reduces kitchen clutter.
BRING IT TO THE SURFACE
Work surfaces must look good and be functional. Stainless steel is easy to clean and looks great, but have you considered soapstone, which is heat- and stain-resistant? Classic granite or marble are ideal for baking and bring a touch of class to any kitchen design but use butcher’s block with sharp knives to avoid scratching these surfaces. For an all-around hard working and stylish countertop, engineered quartz is a top choice for a busy chef’s kitchen. Don’t forget the floor - wood, laminate and vinyl are practical with lots of colors and styles available, and because they’re not hard, they’re kinder to a chef’s feet.
STORE IT AWAY
To save time when cooking, have regularly-used items accessible on nearby open shelves or in customized storage accessories in your kitchen cabinets. Store large pots in pull-out racks or deep drawers like the kitchen design in Washington Crossing, PA below left. Keep cookbooks, knives and spice jars off valuable counter space by attaching small shelves or magnetic strips under cabinets or include specialty storage inserts for these items in the cabinetry. Large or rarely used items can go in the basement, and only be pulled out when required like at holidays or when entertaining. If space allows, include specialized storage accessories in your kitchen cabinets for appliances, like this mixer lift shelf below right. It helps to know exactly what you need to store before you start the kitchen design process, and your kitchen remodeling expert can help you figure this out.
THAT SINKING FEELING
If possible, include more than one sink. It can be stainless steel, porcelain, or even concrete, composite or other materials, depending on your style. A deeper sink is better, too as this will hide dishes and pots when entertaining. Ideally, place the sink either between the refrigerator and stove or in an island beside the cooking area. Single handle lever faucets are easy to operate with your elbow when your hands are messy, or you could even opt for a foot-pedal operated valve so you can turn on the faucet hands-free! The whole sink can be cleaned efficiently with a pull-out sprayer.
WHAT APPLIANCES WILL SERVE YOU THE BEST?
Think about what you need from an appliance. A second refrigerator could suit a large family and work well for entertaining. A very large refrigerator will hold a turkey and all the trimmings for Thanksgiving dinner, but may not be necessary if you shop regularly, as many foodies do. Think about what you like to cook and decide if two ovens would suit better than one large one. Dishwashers should always be near the sink to facilitate the clean up process. If you use specialty cookware, be sure to discuss this with your kitchen design expert to see how they fit into different dishwashers, sinks, ovens and refrigerators.
LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU
An island is always a bonus in a kitchen planned for entertaining. Make sure you have enough space between the sink and island, and that your kitchen design work zones are established so guests don’t get in your way when cooking! One end of the island can be for food prep and the other for guests to enjoy nibbles and chat while you are whipping up your culinary delights. If you don’t have room for an island just create a gathering area so guests can face you while you’re getting the food ready.