Planning your dream kitchen is more than choosing cabinet styles and flooring patterns. Its a formula of needs, wants and desires that when carefully mixed, creates the heart and soul of your household. And its also a lot of careful preparation.
Where to Begin
Next, reflect on your lifestyle. When and how do you use the kitchen? Do you cook all your meals at home or just on weekends? Do you bake a lot, gourmet cook, specialty cook (canning, etc.) or entertain formally or informally? Who uses the kitchen?
"Most people take their current lifestyle for granted when it comes to designing their dream kitchen," says Doris Lacroix, a certified kitchen designer (CKD) and certified bathroom designer (CBD) with the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). "When they really start to analyze the way they work in the he kitchen, they often are surprised."
What You Want And What You Need
If you feel you do more walking than cooking when preparing a meal, make a note that you need a "better floor plan."
If the olive green countertop you have has lost its appeal, add "blue countertop" to your list.
Your lifestyle will reflect your needs, as well. A young family with small children may want a kitchen/family room combination with a snack bar, a large capacity refrigerator and pantry space for bulk shopping. An "empty nesters" couple might want to remodel to create a compact kitchen thats suitable for everything from cooking to growing fresh herbs to hosting dinner parties.
If you have special needs, kitchens can be designed to be accessible, appealing and functional for people of all ages and physical abilities - from children to family members on crutches or in wheelchairs, even to those with poor eyesight.
Accessories such as low-mounted wall ovens, varied-height countertops, roll-out shelves and infrared sensory faucets are among the items that can be installed for everyones convenience.
And not only is the kitchen the cooking area, but its also the meeting place, the entertainment center, and the spot for family gatherings. Consider what other activities might take place in your new area - perhaps space for an office/computer, sewing, laundry or ironing, even a recycling center.
"All of these questions are important to answer because it helps a designer plan the space in which the consumer will work, alone or with another," Lacroix notes.
Valuable Resources And Help
Make plans to attend area home and garden shows. Many designers and manufacturers attend these exhibits and can give you a first-hand look at their displays.
Friends and neighbors kitchens also are great resources. Many times, their styles are similar to your own.
Visit kitchen designer showrooms. Their full-scale displays will give you invaluable ideas about the style, color and setting of your new kitchen. Cabinetry, faucets, appliances and special features can start your inventory of ideas.
Setting a Budget
"The budget is a critical factor to designing your dream kitchen," says Lou Hall, CKD, CBD. "You must be willing to be open and honest and have a realistic budget. The design professional then can share with you the products and accessories that you can afford. Good kitchen design doesnt have to be expensive to be a success."
What You Can Expect
Also, be prepared to make sound decisions. the designer is going to work closely with you to develop a design solution that meets all your needs.
Remember...remodeling and building is messy and unpleasant. Your present cabinets will be gone. The water supply to your kitchen will be turned off, and the sink will be taken away. the stove will be disconnected and wheeled off on a dolly. You may have the refrigerator in the the living room, or perhaps have to cook your dinner over a camp stove. But once the dust settles, your only thoughts should be of the new kitchen that depicts your lifestyle and dreams.
Finding a Professional
The NKBA offers consumers a complete planning kit for $5.00, which has everything youll need to get started on your project, including a list of NKBA members and firms in you area. Call 800-401-NKBA (800-401-6522), or visit the Associations web site at www.nkba.org.
11 Virginia Rd., White Plains, NY 10603 914 328 1992
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Last Revised: Thursday, February 18, 1999
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