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Archive for Sunday, November 10, 2002

Assess cooking needs before remodeling kitchen

November 10, 2002

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There's no doubt about it. Kitchen remodels are at the top of the list when it comes to home remodeling. Such projects are for your comfort now, as well as for resale in the future.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, residential remodeling is expected to reach $167 billion this year.

The kitchen might be the heart of the home, but we all use it differently. Some use it for gourmet cooking, and others use it to warm up takeout food and spread out projects. Before remodeling, it's wise to take a look at your needs.

In most households, the kitchen becomes a gathering place for families or for guests. So when it comes time to remodel, perhaps opening up a small kitchen to a larger space is a factor to consider.

Assess your cooking needs. Do you have myriad appliances and gadgets to house? Or are your needs simpler? What's the look you want to achieve? Today's kitchens often have an unfitted look, with furniture-looking cabinets, a pie safe or a big harvest table in the center of the room. In a fitted kitchen, on the other hand, the perimeter of the room is ringed with floor-to-ceiling cabinets.

The most satisfying kitchens fit the habits, preferences, plans and needs of those in the household. Many kitchen designers use a questionnaire developed by the National Kitchen & Bath Association. Here's a sampling to help you get started:

  • The cooks. Who are the primary and secondary cooks? Are they right-handed or left-handed? Do they have any physical limitations? How many other household members cook? Do they have a cooking hobby, such as baking or grilling?
  • Use of the kitchen. At what time of the day is the kitchen used most frequently? What other tasks are performed there, such as crafts, homework, computing, bill-paying or socializing?
  • Table space. Do you want counter seating, table seating or both?
  • This baking center features a cool marble surface, just right for
rolling out dough, and clever storage for appliances, pans and
ingredients.

    This baking center features a cool marble surface, just right for rolling out dough, and clever storage for appliances, pans and ingredients.

  • Cooking habits. Do you cook from scratch or buy prepared foods? Do you do specialty cooking?
  • Entertaining. Do you entertain frequently, and is it formal or informal? Do you need a wet bar or a buffet area?
  • Storage. How often do you shop, and do you tend to keep lots of supplies on hand?
  • Organizers. Do you need specialized storage? Do you use many small appliances?
  • Adjoining spaces. How do you want the kitchen to relate to nearby dining rooms or family rooms?

After those decisions have been discussed comes a critical one " can you handle some of the remodeling yourself, or do you need to hire a professional? Do you need to gut the kitchen or reorganize what you have and update the look and appliances?

Take a look at a number of new items for the kitchen to see if they would work for your situation. Dishwasher drawers, warming drawers, a raised standard dishwasher for less bending and side-hinged oven drawers make kitchens more efficient.

The sky's the limit when it comes to materials " myriad woods for the cabinets; a multitude of styles in cabinets and pulls to create the style you want; granite, laminate, stone, butcher block, steel and concrete countertops, along with wood, laminate, tile and stone for underfoot. The choices are infinite.

Keep in mind that the kitchen is perhaps the most complex room in the house, so good planning is essential.

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