I love kitchens! They are an essential part of every house. For families, the kitchen is the central gathering space, it is the homework or craft room or even at times, it is “party central”. Of course, the most important role of the kitchen is preparing, cooking and serving meals. If your kitchen is not appealing and functional, it makes meals more of a chore. Tasks are simpler (and more enjoyable) with easy access to kitchen appliances, adequate space in front of appliances, sufficient work areas and appropriate transitions from one area to another (preparing, cooking, cleaning and storing).

Along with these aspects of a good working kitchen comes ample storage; one of the most sought after “wants” expressed by my clients! There never seems to be enough functional storage space.  When renovating a kitchen, there are a few easy ways to get more storage space out of your kitchen without necessarily knocking down walls.

My first suggestion is to always bring up the height of your cabinets. Items that you do not use as often, such as serving dishes and china will go on the upper shelves.

Secondly, you need to get rid of that corner pantry! It is such a poor use of space for the amount of area it takes up. In any house I enter, no matter how neat and organized the homeowners are, the corner pantry invariably looks like the one below when it is opened up. And this is one of the neater ones I have seen! Now just try finding the cocoa powder for those brownies…

It is hard to find items in a corner pantry - Google Images It is hard to find items in a corner pantry – Google Images

 

Also, I suggest utilizing pull-out pantry drawers to easily find and access items in the back of a cabinet. A large heavy duty pull-out drawer can also be great for storing all those small appliances that usually take up valuable counter space.  Lower ‘magic corner’ cabinets are terrific as well.  They give you access to otherwise useless storage in the hidden corner of cabinets.

There are so many more options for maximizing your storage that I could go on for pages! Take advantage of your designer (me, I hope) to help you find all the best ways to make storage work for you in your kitchen.

Happy cooks make happy meals!

 

 

 

 

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 The most vital room in the house is the kitchen. This culinary space is the heart of the home, whether a large family or a single person dwells within. My family spends most of our time anchored to this room while we’re doing homework, entertaining family and friends or devouring a quick breakfast before hockey practice. At this moment, it also serves as my office, so I am thinking about investing in more comfortable bar stools! The sun is streaming through the windows; I have my cup of coffee close at hand and have fresh air coming through the back door. It is my favorite room in the house. Most likely it is your family’s favorite as well.

 The amount of time we spend in our kitchens is reflective of the budget and planning that this room deserves in comparison to other rooms in the house. High quality planning is essential for the “here and now” in our kitchens, but it is also great for resale value later on down the road. A fabulous (and practical!) kitchen adds value to our homes and requires thoughtful, knowledgeable planning. Take the time and additional expense required to get it right!

Kitchen renovations come in all sizes: full renovations with new cabinets, new counter tops and island, or perhaps something simple like new backsplash tile or paint. Clearly evaluating and identifying how your family uses (or would like to use) this crucial room is a first step. What works in your current kitchen and what needs to be changed?  Planning also means thinking about the possibility of selling your home and what the design of your kitchen may mean to a potential buyer down the road. A kitchen with good ‘bones’ will make it easier for future buyers to make this space their own. Good planning is important in any renovation, but paramount for a kitchen renovation.

To get exactly what you need and want from your kitchen, hire an expert to advise you. It may cost a little more, but you will end up with a kitchen that works for you and will add exceptional value to your house. Designers are trained to create skillful plans and will provide detailed drawings so that homeowners can visualize how the new space will look and feel. These drawings also communicate to a contractor how a kitchen should be built.  This assures that you get exactly what you envisioned!

So, please, resist the temptation to go ahead prematurely because you have family coming for Christmas or cabinets are on sale at Home Depot. Rushing a renovation can result in mistakes like dark, impractical work areas, inconvenient access to kitchen appliances, insufficient storage and an uninviting space for your family and guests, in other words, unnecessary grief and expense later on.

My point in a nutshell?

Hire an Interior Designer, develop an effective plan, and get the kitchen you desire…because your family is worth it!

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I was in a lighting store the other day with my husband. He was on his lunch break and came along “for the ride”. After pointing out a light fixture I would like over our kitchen table, he said to me, “Well, what are you waiting for?” If you knew my husband, even a little, you would know this was not an invitation to spend money. After considering his comment, I finally realized what he was really talking about. I talk a lot about what I want to do to our house, but in the end, I have done nothing. We have been in our house for 13 years, and it’s overdue for a change.

Since purchasing our home, I have earned a four-year degree in Interior Design. Although I began my career in the corporate design world, my real passion in design is much more personal. I enjoy planning and making improvements for individuals and their families. I make home improvements, big and small, to people’s houses every day, depending on their budgets, needs and dreams. Sometimes, it’s just a small change with a new chair, a few classy accessories and a unique piece of art. At other times, it’s a full makeover renovation.  With a little imagination (mine and yours!), I can suggest ways that you can make minor changes in your home to achieve a desired effect, while later planning for major renovations. “A work in progress,” I say in this case. I truly believe that a home is a living, breathing space that fluctuates and grows with its living, breathing family. Things change; babies come along, children grow up and move out, and people collect treasures over the years!

Yet, I myself am guilty of waiting for the ‘big renovation’ that we can afford one day. My husband and I have both started our own businesses in the last few years, and we are still recovering from my years back at school. After my epiphany (or my husband’s about me) I have let my ideas of our “perfect” home go.  From my own experience with customers, I understand the hesitation of my clients; our homes are very personal, a reflection of ourselves. Even small changes can make a big difference in our homes, our havens, in how they make us feel and live. They can after all,  fulfill not only our physical, but our mental needs for identity, belonging and self-esteem.

So, what is my point in all this? Don’t wait to enhance your living space! I am here to help you!

P.S. I finally bought a light fixture to go over my kitchen table to replace the awkward, plastic shade my builder installed! Now I just need to call my electrician.

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