HANDLE WITH CARE
Creating a Beautiful Kitchen Begins With a Good Design Plan
By Lena Statsenko, Canaima Design
Before designing a kitchen space it’s important to think about it in practical terms: its function and usability. It’s natural for family members and guests to congregate in the kitchen for conversation and fellowship, so there is a high demand for open floor plans with no walls separating the kitchen and living room.
Planning Makes Perfect
Because cabinets are built-in and not easily replaced, it’s important to invest in high-quality cabinetry whenever possible. With a more limited budget, consider delaying some of the other elements of the kitchen so that the right cabinets can be installed during the build or renovation.
If a designer creates the interior concept he or she will plan the details and order the homeowner’s ideal kitchen: comfortable, beautiful, and according to the rules of ergonomics. Homeowners who want to tackle their own remodel should consider from the outset all of the aspects involved in a kitchen design, including the type of cabinetry, opening mechanisms, facades and hardware.
Designers will think about each and every small detail to make life easier. Which way do the cabinet doors open? Will the chosen handles stick out and block other doors and drawers? Is it convenient to open the upper door mechanisms or is the handle out of reach? Whether cabinetry is custom made or ready to buy, all these factors should be considered during the planning and design process. Even the tiniest of kitchens can be made fully functional, while larger kitchens can be designed to reflect natural pathways.
Cabinet placement and design also are important from an aesthetic standpoint, and should be in line with the homeowner’s cooking habits. There are standard dimensions for both modular and built-in furniture, with manufacturers offering a variety of colors and finishes. Buyers generally choose beige or dark wood, while designers often experiment and combine finishes and hardware. With this approach even the most basic modular furniture can become outstanding. For example, designer handles will create a unique look but there also are technologies that avoid handles altogether. Simply push the door with hand or knee and, voila, the door will open automatically.
Also popular are the full-extension cabinet drawers that slide out completely, something not typically found with traditional drawer function. When it comes to closing a cabinet door, there also are mechanisms that slow the movement right before closing while also ensuring the door is flush with the facade.
A Place For Everything
To maintain order within the cabinets, engineers have invented a variety of organizers, including trays and dividers. These smaller spaces allow plates, forks and pans to remain in their places while also keeping the countertop clean and uncluttered.
An L-shaped kitchen layout creates a corner space that is often large and mostly unused. Fortunately, there are various ways to maximize space within a corner cabinet, allowing items to be easy delivered from the hidden corners by way of swivel-retractable trays and carousel shelves. These technical miracles are not inexpensive but provide a very necessary functionality.
One way to use narrow gaps is to fill them with rolling vertical cabinets that can store bottles and cans. Another option, for those who don’t have enough counter space, is to insert an additional surface under the main surface. This can be moved out for cutting bread and vegetables, will serve as temporary storage for plates and cups, and can create an additional tray for snacks.
Popular in modern design are kitchens that don’t have any wall-mounted cabinets at all. Alternatively, especially for those who have a large amount of kitchen appliances, an attractive look is to build a wall of cabinets without a visual separation between top and bottom. One advantage for this is that household appliances can be stored at chest level — the most convenient place for small ovens and microwaves — so that homeowners don’t have to bend down or reach high for a hot dish. This option also is attractive for those who don’t have a separate pantry where objects can be hidden away and out of sight.
Current trends call for clean lines, thin countertops and more bold colors. When it’s not possible or practical to keep the kitchen tidy at all times, one way to quickly hide the mess is by installing large doors that can close like a wardrobe. Everything is kept out of sight so that you can clean the kitchen on your own schedule.
LED lighting can make a homeowner’s life easier and more comfortable; mounting them under the upper cabinets will create task lighting for the countertops and work area. Lights incorporated inside the cabinets make it easy to find items quickly and they can be activated by opening the door. A soft illumination behind the glass facades gives volume to the entire room and lightness to the massive structures, even in the tightest of spaces.
Canaima Design & Remodeling LLC
ASID and GHBA Members