Entries from May 2008 ↓

Five things I’ve learned building a new kitchen


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Now that my kitchen is ready, it’s time to share a few things I’ve learned along the way… So, let’s see what I’ve heard from professionals as well as what are the things I’ve learned the hard way….

1. I can add that easily later, no problem.

Sure, but only if you leave space for that microwave, built-in coffee machine or whatever. Now there’s an issue: there will be a gaping void in your kitchen until you add the new piece of equipment. Sure, you can buy an extra cabinet door to cover it… But don’t forget, temporary solutions tend to become final ones – and as long as temporary things go, they are not the best. So look out.

Designers say it’s best to add features to your new kitchen during, not after, renovation (or building). Even if you’re not sure whether you’ll use a something, prepare for its future installation by running cable and electrical lines. For example, one day, you, your growing kids, or a future homeowner may want a flat-screen television or a home-monitoring screen in the kitchen. Or, you may someday need more outlets on your counters and island. Be sure to have the right cables for electricity – that new washing machine or electric oven needs beefier cables than a hand-mixer..

2. I won’t have any clutter in my new kitchen.

Yes, sure, you don’t need that extra storage, do you? I bet you do! I’m always short of storage and I bet you’re the same, except for that guy living in a warehouse. Sure, it’s not always good to have lots of stuff in a crowded pantry (and the things on the bottom of the heap won’t be used up ever) but always plan for more storage than you think you’ll need. You’ll be thankful to yourself at the end.

Sure, storage units are not the best-looking of the kitchen-furniture herd, but you need a balance between function and style. (or that warehouse…)

3. Bigger is always better.

So the bigger the better, you think. If you just got that greeeeeat big kitchen, prepare for one thing: first you’ll be tired, next you’ll be fit. Because of all that walking, that is.

My designer friend says this is a typical mistake and homeowners have to live with for a long time, since kitchen renovations are done only once every 10 years or so. The solution, some say, is to install two sets of kitchen appliances, essentially having two work triangles into the kitchen area. But you still have to walk…

4. Yes, it will fit. I need it, you know.

New flat, new kitchen. Finally, you can put all your dreams into it. All the things you’ve seen in magazines, that gorgeous island, that fine range and all bells and whistles.

Don’t try to do what’s popular without any thought to whether it would work or not in the space… As opposed to the issues of a great spaces, there are issues with smaller ones as well – you need good organisation and keep an eye on not overstuffing it.

Sorry, you cannot always have an island or that great L-shaped worktop. In smaller spaces it’s better to put in quality – in cabinets, appliances, design – you’ll especially appreciate a good designer helping you think through all aspects on how you best utilise the space you got.

5. I want that kitchen from the magazine

It’s tempting to follow the latest trends, but it’s better to be practical. Do you need that hi-gloss finish with your small kids? (how will it look like in a month’s time?) Will you still love antique cabinets in 10 years? Will that funny red-yellow kitchen featured in the magazine really work in your house?

Always try to keep things – colors, materials, moods – in sync throughout your home – it feels so much better when you arrive. Don’t get carried away and plan before you do anything – remember, changing anything later will definitely cost more.