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Designing a Kitchen

Kitchens and bathrooms are the most frequently remodeled rooms in the home. When upgrading your kitchen, we offer the following advice for your consideration.

Walls

You can choose from paint, wallpaper, tile, or brick walls (or you can blend two or more together). Whichever you choose, use a waterproof surface around the sink and any main work area where you might splash a light of water (this is often accomplished by using a "backsplash," a vertical extension of the countertop that is about four inches or higher, perhaps as high as several feet). Choose light colors that will reflect light (the kitchen is, after all, a work area). If possible, use a pass-through to provide better spatial connection between the kitchen and the rest of the house; however, remember that cooking and doing dishes is a noisy affair, so avoid connecting to a room where quiet is important to others, such as where the TV is located.

Floors

As with walls, there is an array of flooring choices. Ceramic tile is the material preferred for cost, durability, and ease of care considerations, but ceramic tile will chip when jars and other heavy objects are dropped on it, so you may want to invest in porcelain tile instead. Finished wood floors have come back into fashion, but they are not our personal preference. Avoid carpet and any other surface that will absorb water.

Cabinets and Countertops

Don't skimp on the quality of cabinets and countertops. Pick cabinets with strong hinges and good drawer mechanisms. In most kitchens, standardized cabinets will work just fine; in very tight kitchens, where space is at a premium, consider using custom made cabinets so that precious storage space is not lost behind filler boards. Choose the cabinet face that matches your motif, such as smooth finishes for a modern look, or recessed panels for an older, elegant look.

Countertops should be sturdy and scratch and stain resistant. Be sure to provide ample counter space even after reserving space for toasters, mixers, toaster ovens, can openers, and other countertop appliances. The work area should be conveniently located between the sink, the refrigerator, the stove, and storage cabinets so as to allow easy access to each.

Lighting


Although spotlights are dramatic, plenty of bright, even lighting is far more practical for getting a good look at what you're doing while you are preparing the food. Avoid placing lights in a location that will cause you to work in your own shadow.

Appliances

Unless you are feeding an army or running a restaurant, skip the industrial grade appliances. While impressive to view, they take up more

room, use more energy, and take longer to clean. Instead, pick appliances suitable to the size of your kitchen and the number of people you intend to feed. When buying a new dishwasher, it is worthwhile to spend more for a quieter model.

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