As I write this post the day before, I can tell you that it will be my pleasure to speak to the listeners of the Morning Living show on Martha Stewart Living radio on Tuesday, March 16. See this before the 16th? Tune in tomorrow to hear my tips on pitfalls to avoid in the kitchen design process.
Following is a further collection of my tips to hold disaster at bay as you plan your kitchen design!
1. Identify a trend: I think many of us are aware that trends are something that we see repeatedly in the marketplace. If that is the case, it is most likely that the trend could have a year attached to it down the road as the hot item of that year. When planning a kitchen, made to last for a couple of decades, take care in identifying trends. Planning several trends into your kitchen design will date the kitchen sooner than later!
2. When selecting paint colors for your kitchen, always buy small sample bottles of about 3 to 5 different shades. In my experience it is impossible to select a shade from a little paint chip. You'll need to paint at least 1'x1' squares on the wall to see how the paint samples look on your wall during different times of the day. Look for colored undertones. As color is best viewed in context, you will quickly see the color and shade effects.
3. One of my favorite tips...countertop samples. Often, we have these very small countertop samples which fit into the palm of our hands. The countertop characteristics are admired up close. Remember, that small samples that look to have seemingly medium to large size crystals, when viewed from a longer distance, will be remarkably different. It's all perspective. Look at the countertop up close and from varying distances to fully understand the grain distribution and pattern.
4. White cabinetry - It bears repeating, white painted cabinetry with small children under tow for years to come may not be the best combination. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that my white kitchen became considerably worn over time as a result of raising three children who ran into the kitchen directly from the garage door. Think twice about bright white for that reason.
5. Mix it up - Mixing metals can make your kitchen design feel more authentic, as opposed to perfectly matched metals. You will find metal finishes on appliances such as stainless steel, your sink, faucet, hardware and lighting. Chrome (an age old authentic metal, on a comeback) and oil rubbed bronze lighting? Go for it!
6. Collection proportion - Do you have favorite collections in the kitchen? Two pieces of advice here: change it up from time to time for a fresh new look, and watch the sizes. Very small pieces can look dwarfed when placed high above your line of vision and if it is also viewed from a surrounding room. Does a decorative piece seem to large to use? It probably isn't. Try it.
7. Cooktop Venting - Do you need a vent? Yes! You want to remove odors, toxins, particulate material, smoke, and moisture. Allow for adequate power in the vent, and do not position your hood more than 36" above the cooktop for the best performance. I usually shoot for 32-34" above the cooktop so I am sure nearly all of the nasty fumes will be removed.
8. A very helpful entertaining companion, the portable induction burner is just that...put it anywhere in the kitchen and you have yourself an extra burner for the holidays. It creates another work station for your assistant chef, and you will not have to juggle pots and pans all around the cooktop. It's a great solution!
9. A comfy suggestion - if a banquette is designed into your kitchen plan, do yourself and your guests a favor. Make the banquette short enough to allow for a super thick comfy cushion. Visualize various lifestyle situations...someone is lounging with a laptop or the newspaper, enjoying the cook's company, relaxing with a cup of tea...there is a lot to be said for a 4 to 5" cushion on top of your banquette as opposed to a thin 2" cushion. Do not underestimate the importance of comfort in the kitchen!
10. The best thing you can do for your kitchen design is to hire a competent and creative kitchen designer! He or she will guide you step by step throughout the design process to help you plan the kitchen you have dreamed about. When you do a kitchen once or twice in your life, it makes sense to seek out a specialist.
Questions, or comments, please feel free to chat! Here is more of Martha's inspiration too!