Design Dilemma: Three Things to Consider Before You Remodel Your Kitchen | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Three Things to Consider Before You Remodel Your Kitchen

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So you’re thinking of remodeling your kitchen. But before you let that contractor rip out your old cabinets, stop for a second. Ask yourself these questions:

1. How will you use the kitchen?

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Will it be for entertaining, or mostly solo use? It may sound basic, but think long and hard about how much space you’ll really need, as it will affect every appliance and storage choice you make. If you entertain a lot, your cabinets and appliances will need to handle multiple sets of plates and serving platters. You might think about a bigger refrigerator to hold lots and lots of food, and maybe double ovens and double sinks. Extra counter space, an extra dishwasher, a wine cooler, may also factor into the equation.  The two kitchens above are an example of entertaining kitchens. In the second kitchen in this post, three ovens mean you can cook lots of dishes all at once. The second kitchen opens directly onto an open patio and dining area, allowing guests to wander between kitchen and other areas. The cook doesn’t feel isolated while the party is going on.

And what if you seldom entertain? Enjoy the compact convenience of a smaller galley kitchen with a small footprint, as below.  Small can often be more comfortable and convenient than large, but not if you love entertaining.

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2. How much value does a change bring, versus the cost of making the change?

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Some changes may cost a lot, but you think they’re worth it— the extra large farmhouse sink, above, is not only beautiful to look at, but it’s perfect for cleaning the goose you like to prepare each Christmas. Is it worth it for that one-time big event? You decide.  Ask yourself if the change will really improve your everyday life. Will the change improve a problem that bugs you every time you use your kitchen? Then make it! Finally, and lastly, will it improve the value of your home? If you’re only so-so about the need for a change and you think it’s too personal to appeal to too many potential buyers, then your decision is clear — better off saving your money for something else!

One good way to figure out how much to spend on a given project is to prioritize your desires by analyzing the frequency and duration of the cooking tasks you must perform. Tasks you do frequently or spend more time on should get more weight than those you seldom do, or don’t mind doing. If you use, for instance, your cooktop 80 percent of the time and your oven only 20 percent, prioritize a great cooktop over a wall oven. Below, a splurge to remove the upper cabinets on one side of the kitchen and to build a storage cabinet in one corner, lends the kitchen a feeling of spaciousness and makes shelves easier to reach. It was worth it to the homeowner.

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3. Is it functional or aesthetic? And which is more important to you?

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Aesthetics refers to high-end finishes, marble countertops, stainless steel appliances, custom tile backsplashes. These things are beautiful but not necessary to make your kitchen function well. Function refers to layout, among other things. Do refrigerator and kitchen doors open easily, or do they block doors? Is there enough space to allow two people to attend to kitchen tasks at the same time? Some people may decide to put their money into aesthetics, particularly if they seldom use the kitchen, so it’s more about look than functionality. In many cases, these homeowners may choose countertops that are beautiful but easily damaged, and it’s no problem. Those who love cooking, however, may never cede on functionality. They are the types who may spend lots of money to change the plumbing to allow for two sinks, but don’t care about extra fancy stainless steel appliances. It’s a change that means a lot to them, but that remains virtually unseen. So it all boils down to, what’s your priority?

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