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6 Revealing Questions to Ask Before Remodeling Your Kitchen

Do you ever dream about what it would be like to have an unlimited budget and lots of space to design a new kitchen? The sky is the limit! Unfortunately, for most of us, we are constrained by a budget and square footage. The good news? Even under constraints, you can plan a successful kitchen remodel—one that dares to deliver in style and function. To guide you and your decision making, we have put together a few questions that will help you plan a successful kitchen remodel.

1. How do you use your kitchen today?

Look at your current kitchen and consider: What gets in your way? What irritates you most? Do you feel cramped in your kitchen when you prepare meals? Do your guests congregate in the kitchen with no place to sit? Does your kitchen lack storage space, or are frequently used items difficult to reach? List your pain points and discuss them with your design-build contractor. These will be critical items to discuss and incorporate into your design plan.

Also, beyond today, how will you be using your kitchen? 5 years from now? Ten years from now? How many family members will be living in your home? Will you have accessibility needs? Forward thinking will help you make design choices that keep your kitchen working for you well into the future.

At the same time, ask yourself what’s already working well in the kitchen. Are there aspects of your kitchen that you love that you wouldn’t want to change? Add these important items to your list as well.

2. What’s your balance between day-to-day living and entertaining?

Whether you’re feeding a family of four, or just two; entertaining once a month, or once a week; it’s important to think of how you want traffic to flow through your kitchen. Even if you only entertain a few times a year, designing a flexible space that makes you and your guests comfortable can serve your needs long into the future, particularly as your family grows.

3. What is your price vs. value considerations?

There are so many decisions to makes in a kitchen remodel: from sinks, faucets, hardware, and cabinets to countertops, appliances, storage solutions, flooring, and light fixtures. And, every decision comes with a host of product quality and pricing options. Each also come with specific benefits and limitations. So, refer to your list of needs and wants, and ask yourself:

Will splurging on a particular item improve my daily life?

Will the item resolve a long-standing irritation?

Will purchasing one item over another add value to my home?

Ask these questions for each kitchen remodeling item you’re considering for your new space. Then, evaluate this list to conclude where you should invest more money, or where you can save. For example, you may be able to cut back a little on the flooring (there are so many quality, economical options these days) to spend a bit more on high-end appliances.

4. Form vs. function?

Consider this question as an addendum to question 2. If you do a lot of entertaining, having a kitchen that is designed to comfortably cook and serve a party of people will be more important than aesthetics. You may want to redesign your existing space to achieve the right functional layout; choose upscale appliances in exchange for a less expensive countertop or backsplash material. Fortunately, there are several fabulous countertop, backsplash, lighting and hardware options to choose from. So, saving on a few selections doesn’t have to mean sacrificing beauty or style; and smart design never goes out of style.

5. How fast do you need your kitchen remodel completed?

Patience is a money-saving virtue you need during a kitchen remodel. Don’t let the noise, dust, and inconvenience of the job tempt you into unwise choices just to speed up the process. Take time to evaluate and research your options. If you have questions, utilize your design-build team to better understand the benefits and drawbacks of each decision.

6. How wide is the gap between your “dream kitchen” and reality?

Is a kitchen remodel going to change the way you use your kitchen? Likely, yes! Your kitchen remodeling project should incorporate your lifestyle needs into the design, not someone else’s—not a friend’s, neighbor or even a lucky homeowner who received a home renovation on HGTV. If, for example, you need a place to store coupons and bills, a homework station for your kids, or counter space to bake, build those elements into your design plan. Don’t remodel based on someone else’s “dream kitchen”—renovate based on how YOU use your kitchen.

Expert Help with Questions about Your Kitchen Remodel

Each of these questions requires thought and consideration. And, they’ll help you arrive at a kitchen remodeling project you will love for years to come. For inspiration, explore many of the beautiful kitchen remodeling projects in and around West Lafayette.

If you’re ready to dive into your kitchen remodeling project now, schedule a conversation to get the ball rolling: 765.838.1644.

11 Kitchen Remodeling Ideas to Add Long-Term Function and Value to Your Home

For most Indiana families, the kitchen is the home’s nerve center. Essential discussions, conversations, laughter, cooking and nourishment all go on in this room—more so than any other room in the house. It’s a place to cook, eat, work, socialize, play games and entertain.

So, if you’re considering a kitchen remodel, consider how you use your kitchen now, and how you’d like to use it in the future. A well-designed kitchen not only helps improve functionality, it can also significantly boost your home’s resale value.

In fact, looking at the 2018 Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, almost half of participating homeowners said something like: “I can’t stand the old kitchen anymore.” And 36 percent reported they would jump into kitchen remodeling once they had the means.

If you’re planning to remodel your kitchen soon, list all the things that bother you, or that you’d like to improve. Then, talk with us about smart kitchen upgrades to improve functionality and value. These are the top eleven remodeling features that promise both in today’s housing market:

Smart, Spacious Kitchen Storage

We can’t even count the number of homeowners who complain about utterly wasted, poorly-thought-out storage spaces, i.e., cabinets that are too shallow, or drawers that are too small. Some cabinets are so deep that people can’t reach some items without unloading others. We can make it better! Storage design is one of the first line items we discuss when talking with homeowners who want a kitchen remodel. Here are some great kitchen storage design ideas we suggest:

  • Drawers with custom-designed dividers for cutlery or small kitchen tools
  • Kitchen cabinets with smooth pull-out trays to easily organize and access everything from spices and bottles to pots and pans
  • Separate, hide-away waste and recycling cabinets
  • Extra deep drawers for storing larger food containers and kitchen tools or appliances
  • Sturdy, adjustable shelves you can customize to your needs

As you go through your day, make note of your kitchen storage “pain points” and we can come up with great solutions!

New, Energy Efficient Kitchen Appliances

The kitchen draws a lot of energy, so incorporate new, Energy-Star certified appliances right into your new kitchen design. Beginning with the appliances in the design saves time and money from the start: they can be incorporated seamlessly into the whole kitchen design itself, and begin saving energy as you use them.

Also, think about ergonomics when you’re designing your kitchen. As you go through your day in the kitchen, think about appliance placement and workflow so the new design can boost efficiency and ease-of-use.

Stylish, Functional Kitchen Islands

Covington Contemporary Kitchen Remodel 1

Kitchen islands increase your work surface and storage capacity, as long as the cabinets are intelligently designed and organized.

If you’re adding a kitchen island, think about function and dimensions. An open living and dining island requires space for chairs and should accommodate convenient eating. If you’re creating an eating island in the kitchen, we recommend about 36 inches high, so it can be used both for casual dining and food preparation. If you’re adding a breakfast bar, then 42-46 inches high is about right. The countertop overhang for sitting should be about 12 inches.

Durable, Gorgeous Kitchen Countertops and Finishes

Durability is absolutely essential for hard working kitchen countertops. Evaluate your kitchen lifestyle to narrow down your choices for the right countertop material. For example, an active home chef teaching kids to cook may want to avoid marble countertops. They look superb, but they etch and stain easily under frequent use and require more maintenance.

Instead, a hard-working kitchen with a busy family could consider the many beautiful granite countertops or some of the newer, durable laminates that look like your favorite stone instead. Other options for busy kitchens include engineered quartz or Cambria natural stone. Quartz countertops, for example, are tough against scratching and staining. They’re incredibly durable and require little maintenance while also coming in a wide variety of patterns, colors, and edge treatments. They’re a smart, long-term investment that will work for you while boosting your kitchen’s resale value.

Fantastic Faucets and Fixtures

There are so many new, functional and beautiful kitchen faucets and fixtures to choose from these days, that it can be hard for many homeowners to choose which they like best when they’re remodeling their kitchens. High-tech touch features that make it easy to switch a faucet on or off… sprayers that make clean up quick and easy… consider some of the following fixtures:

  • Faucet mounting options—Sink mounted (the faucet comes right out of the sink assembly), deck-mounted (from the countertop itself, rather than the sink), or wall-mounted (easy to clean, but need extra insulation in our cold Indiana winters).
  • Faucet handle options—Single handle (twisting one handle to dial between hot and cold), double-handle (one for hot, one for cold), and “hands-free” (you simply nudge the faucet with your free elbow to turn it on, but you still need to adjust the side handle for temperature).
  • Faucet Finish options—Stainless steel, nickel, brushed nickel, chrome, oil-rubbed bronze, polished brass, black, white… those are just some of the more common options.

Fabulous Flooring

As always, consider how you use your kitchen to get the right flooring option for your needs. For example, hardwood floors never go out of style, but they need a bit more maintenance than some of the engineered hardwood and laminate options that look just like hardwood. But real hardwood can be refinished and refurbished, whereas damaged laminate needs to be completely replaced. You can also use reclaimed hardwood that looks amazing in many kitchen designs.

Today’s high-quality laminates can stand up to a lot of hard use, though, so it’s still an excellent, lasting investment. You also have more choices for design with laminate: think wide planks and exotic textures like Brazilian cherry.

And don’t forget tile. Porcelain and ceramic floor tiles are huge right now. They can be engineered to look like anything (even wood or fabric), they’re incredibly durable and easy to clean (but a bit more of a challenge to install).

Spectacular Backsplash

A backsplash protects your walls from stains and splatters, but they can also be fantastic focal points. It all depends on the materials and designs you choose—and there are so many options: wood, metal, glass, ceramic, stone, tile and more.

“Consider changing a tile backsplash to modern glass, mosaic tile, or a classic white subway tile, which never goes out of style,” says Riverside Construction owner, Andy Haste. “These now come in many sizes and shapes and can be laid in a herringbone or soldiered pattern for an updated, fresh look.”

Remember: neutral colors make your kitchen space feel bigger and brighter to you and to potential home buyers who may have different color tastes.

Natural and Artistic Lighting

Think about all the ways you can incorporate natural light into your kitchen from windows and skylights to light tubes. In addition to saving energy costs, natural light makes kitchens look brighter and bigger. Great, functional under cabinet lighting options brighten countertop workspaces while vintage chandeliers or brightly-colored pendants to add pop and focus over your kitchen island.

Neutral Colors Create Value

Neutral paints and finishes in shades of ivory, white or gray are the smartest colors, both for design flexibility and resale value. You can add personal color accents with accessories, light fixtures, and other design elements to tie other areas of your home together with the kitchen, but keeping the colors neutral also attracts potential homebuyers, helping them “see the possibilities” rather than being jarred by style choices that may not match theirs.

Clever Kitchen Sinks

One of Riverside Construction’s incredible interior designers, Kelly Grish, advises homeowners to consider the sink as both functional, and as a showpiece. Beautiful, apron-front farmhouse sinks are generous, functional and, as she says, they feel “custom and thoughtful”, demonstrating the long-term value of your home’s design, right from the kitchen.

Chef-Worthy Range Hoods

Grish also says that installing a new, stainless-steel hood over the stove says “chef’s kitchen” in a split second to any potential homebuyer, adding literally thousands of dollars in value. It also expands your kitchen’s functionality. You don’t even have to add extra ductwork if you don’t want to—you can use recirculating filters instead—while still enjoying the range hood’s benefits.

If you’re ready to remodel your kitchen, Riverside Construction is prepared to share the knowledge and experience we’ve collected over the years to help you create your perfect kitchen design experience. Schedule an in-home consultation to get the ball rolling with your own personal design consultant, or attend one of our monthly, complimentary kitchen remodeling seminars. Reserve your seat now as demand is high and space is limited! Let’s create the kitchen of your dreams!

Riverside Construction Before and After Home Renovations

Featuring Riverside Construction’s “Designed for Life” Home Transformations in 2017

Whether you’re ready to remodel now or in the near future, tackling a remodel can be an intimidating process. But, seeing a home transform from bland to beautiful is often all the motivation you need to get your project started—particularly as you imagine your own home in these impressive before and after photos. Find your inspiration in these “Designed for Life” transformations we documented in 2017:

Kitchen Renovation
A central island wasn’t working for these homeowners, so we reworked the layout with an L shaped island with seating for two. The dated traditional design was replaced with fresh, sleek cabinetry, granite countertops, and pendant lighting.

Kitchen Renovation
With the help of Riverside Construction, this kitchen went from bland to grand! The kitchen was opened up to a create more efficient workspace, better traffic flow, and improved lighting. Aesthetically, the space was transformed with medium colored Hickory flooring, a honed travertine backsplash with Mosaic tile accents, an undermount Silgranite sink with Hawaii granite countertops, and full overlay cabinet doors in both dark and light colors.

For further design inspiration, view more photos and project details on this West Lafayette Traditional Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Renovation
This small West Lafayette kitchen received a big renovation! These homeowners wanted to make sure that the remodel matched the Mid-Century style and character of the rest of the home. Riverside Construction knocked down a wall and opened the space so that the homeowners could enjoy abundant natural light and the beautiful view outside their windows. Ensuring the home’s architectural integrity, we used Mid-Century inspired materials that complemented the original wood color and style of the house, taking full advantage of the high ceilings to add more storage.

For further design inspiration, view more photos and project details on this West Lafayette Mid Century Modern Kitchen Remodel

Master Bathroom Shower Renovation
This master bathroom shower was dark and claustrophobic. Riverside Construction opened it up using double glass doors, gorgeous marble tile, brass fixtures and a bench for sitting. Beautiful!

Basement Bathroom Renovation
Riverside Construction added square footage to this small basement bathroom by removing a wall that allowed room for a functional shower designed with clean, crisp subway tile. To complete this transformation, dark gray paint was replaced with lighter tones and a new vanity was laid with gorgeous granite and all new brushed nickel fixtures.

Powder Room Remodel
From pink to perfect, this homeowner wanted their powder room to reflect their unique style preference while blending seamlessly with the architectural style of their home. Mission accomplished!

Basement Food and Beverage Entertainment Center
An old dated wet bar gets a much-needed modern facelift, complete with a beverage cooler, microwave, sink, lots of outlets and plenty of cabinet space.

Mud Room & Laundry Remodel
Whether you have a smaller home, or a large second entryway full of storage potential, one of the most envied, desired rooms in the home is a functional mudroom and/or laundry room. For this busy family, custom, built-in cabinetry was installed to accommodate each family member with plenty of creative storage potential—cubbies, cabinets, hooks for coats, shelves for shoe storage, and benches for seating. And, a bright pop of color on the wall helped to make this laundry room bright and airy.

Basement Kitchenette Addition
An unused space in a basement is transformed into a highly functional kitchenette complete with a refrigerator, microwave, sink and plenty of storage.

If you liked what you saw, be sure to like us on Facebook and check out our regularly scheduled “Before and After” posts throughout the year.

If 2018 is the year that you’re ready to tackle that remodel you’ve been dreaming about, be sure to sign up for one of our complimentary home remodeling seminars to help you get started.

If you’re ready to start a conversation about your own home remodeling project, schedule a no-obligation design consultation today. We will get you well on your way to creating a stunning living space that meets your personal design style, functional needs, and budget requirements. That’s what we do!

Kitchen Islands: Styles to Consider for Your Home

Kitchen Islands: Styles to Consider for Your Home

Considering a kitchen remodel? How about designing a kitchen island into your space? Over the past two decades, islands have steadily risen in popularity, not only for smart storage solutions, but added prep work, cooking, eating, seating and entertainment.

As a focal point for the kitchen, it is important to select an island that not only blends aesthetically with the rest of your space but also meets your practical needs. With so many styles and options to choose from, selecting an island can be a bit confusing to say the least. In fact, you may discover that an island won’t work in your kitchen at all.

To make the decision process a little easier, we have highlighted some of the more sought after island styles you might consider:

 

Basic Built-In

The basic built-in kitchen island is your standard workhorse. A cook can never have enough workspace, and this island offers that in spades, limited only by the size of your kitchen. A basic built-in kitchen island is also a great option if you are looking to maximize your kitchen storage space.

Kitchen Remodeling

Island for Dining

Seating is a premium in many kitchens. Homeowners often seek ways to add additional seating for large groups or entertaining. Installing an island that has plenty of room for seating solves two problems—1) extra counter space and 2) additional seating.

Clean-Up Island

Another great choice is to use the island as a clean-up area by locating the sink and dishwasher in the island. Scraping dishes and loading the dishwasher becomes less of a chore when strategically placed next to each other. Plus, you’ll have extra prep and storage areas for your kitchen as well.

Two-Tier Island

If you like to entertain, more often than not, your guests are hanging out in the kitchen while you’re prepping your meal. A two-tier island not only adds dimension and visual interest to your kitchen, it also hides the messy work of cooking from people in the adjacent living area when one of the levels is a raised dining bar (as shown below).

Optionally, a two-tier island can be designed so that the working side is set lower for prep work and the dining side is set higher to accommodate bar stools and seating. This also gives the host breathing room to prep and cook, which is separate from guests that can visit and enjoy their food and drink.

Transitional Kitchen West Lafayette 2

Cooking Center Island

Depending on the layout of your kitchen, you may decide to designate the island as a cooking center, by including feature appliances like a stove top, a lower oven, microwave, warming drawer or beverage refrigerator. This style requires the island to be outfitted with power and water and may cost a little more. The advantage, however, is that it leaves plenty of remaining counter space for other amenities like a designated baking station, second sink or wet bar for entertaining.

Courtesy of MainStreet Design Build

Furniture Style Island/Island on Wheels

If your kitchen has a small footprint, a furniture style island is an excellent choice. It’s basically a table with a flat work space and some open or closed storage depending on the style of the piece. Since this island is not built-in, it’s portable and gives you the freedom to move or remove the island as your needs change.

Another smart choice for a smaller kitchen is a portable island on wheels. These little workhorses can be pushed around with ease, offering additional work space when cooking or acting as the beverage station for entertainment purposes. Then, when it’s not needed, it can be pushed into a corner and out of the way.

Courtesy of Mahoney Architects & Interiors

Nix the Island

You may also discover, given the layout of your kitchen, that an island may not work for your space. When designing a kitchen, it’s important to consider the traffic flow and ensure there is enough room to maneuver between all key activity zones in the kitchen. In some cases, adding an island will impede this flow and should be left out of your remodeling design plan altogether.

Inspired to design your own kitchen? Like the idea of incorporating a new kitchen island into your living space? Let the design professionals at Riverside Construction help you plan a space that is just right for you.

Not ready to pick up the phone, but would like to learn more? Sign up to attend our next Kitchen and Bath Seminar. We’d love to see you there!

Kitchen Remodels: 3 Budgets, 3 Kitchens

Is your current kitchen out of date or not functioning well? Is it too small or closed off from the rest of your home? Perhaps you’re ready to get cooking with a brand-new kitchen remodel, but the whole thing is feeling a bit overwhelming, from cabinetry to countertops, and appliances to air ducts.

That’s where the design and planning at Riverside Construction adds enormous value. We’ll get to know you and your kitchen needs through an initial on-site consultation. Then, we deliver a comprehensive scope of work alongside a realistic budget, fit to bring your dream kitchen to life.

Before that, though, let’s start with an overview of the three types of kitchen remodels to consider: Basic, Mid-Level, and Deluxe.

The Basic Kitchen Remodel

Love to cook but not in love with your current kitchen? A basic, cosmetic remodel elevates your existing layout, appliances, and fixtures and spares expenses for plumbing and ductwork, while implementing the professional polish essential to a complete remodel. A basic kitchen remodel involves replacing easily removed products and typically runs $20,000 – $35,000.

So, what does a basic remodel look like? Here are some items it might include.

Efficient Lighting — Recessed lights are nice, but they offer a lot less illumination than the average light fixture (60 vs. 120+ W). Simple light fixtures with 120w, 180w, or more can be simple, tasteful, and brilliantly illuminating, all without the hefty price tag.

Simple Appliances — One of the keys to a successful basic kitchen remodel is the use of simple appliances that don’t need to be built-in. Nixing the custom cabinetry saves you both money and time.

Go Vinyl — What’s a remodel without new flooring? Vinyl is the versatile material of choice for floors and other surfaces, and can even make a great-looking backsplash. Speaking of backsplashes, if it’s in your budget, a ceramic tile backsplash is a great splurge for an extra stylish finish to your basic kitchen remodel.

Cabinet Hardware — Reusing your existing cabinetry is one of the key ways to keep costs down, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with dated or damaged storage. Fix up any broken cabinets or replace cabinet doors and consider adding new cabinet hardware to upgrade your kitchen. When it comes to cabinets, a little goes a long way.

Lovely Laminates — Laminate is a surface material whose reputation has come a long way in recent years. Photo printed laminate countertops and a bevy of striking edge designs provide lots of aesthetic choices at low cost.

The Mid-Level, Pull and Replace Kitchen Remodel

Want to break the mold of your existing kitchen layout? A pull and replace kitchen remodel lets you do just that. Whether it’s a new island or professional-grade appliances, a mid-level remodel totally reworks your kitchen from the ground up, including moving appliances, plumbing, ductwork, electrical, and more. Ranging from $25,000 – $55,000, a mid-level kitchen remodel creates the space you need for the renewed functionality you desire.

A pull and replace kitchen remodel may include:

Professional Appliances — Liberate your inner chef with awesome appliances. From stainless steel refrigerators to double convection ovens, it’s all on the table.

The Island — As the focal point to your new kitchen remodel, why not consider an island? It’s perfect for serving up a meal hot from the oven, or for the family to gather around as dinner is being prepared.

Upgraded Cabinetry — Upgrade cabinets with standard cabinet sizes and eye-catching materials like maple with a custom glaze. Get the beautiful storage you need without compromising. Make the most of your kitchen’s existing storage space by installing a pull-out shelf in one—or all—of the base cabinets.

Designer Accessories — Select the details and accessories that make your kitchen feel unique. Custom handles and knobs are a great way to make it personal.

New Floors — With a bigger budget, wood and ceramic floors enter the picture, and boy do they make a great impression!

Surfaces Built to Last — For surfaces that look and feel amazing year after year, look no further than stone counters and glass tile backsplashes. Pricier than laminate, quartz and natural stone (like granite), look sharp for decades.

The Deluxe, Custom Kitchen Remodel

Got great taste and a budget to match? Let’s talk cutting edge style and chef-approved functionality. Whether it’s a built-in refrigerator or a Wolf gas range, a custom kitchen remodel, quite literally, can have it all. From $40, 000 to $125,000, the deluxe kitchen remodel wipes the slate clean with a brand new, well, everything — all put together in a totally fresh layout. It involves redesigning the layout, moving walls, demoing an existing area or adjacent spaces, new framing, relocating and updating plumbing and electrical, and installing custom cabinetry.

Here are some of the items you might look forward to in your deluxe kitchen remodel:

Architectural Consistency — Not only should your kitchen look great, but it should also look like a part of your home. Tall ceilings with beadboard finishing, leaded glass windows, crown moldings, or authentic baseboards and casings are just a taste of what’s possible when it comes to integrating your remodel into the home you already love.

High End Material — Start with the richest of materials and accessories for your deluxe kitchen remodel— wood floors, stone counters, and even a chandelier. Add an oriental rug to add to elegance and style that’s uniquely yours.

Totally Custom Cabinetry — The finest craftsmanship and construction goes into fully custom-sized and custom-designed storage to make your kitchen cabinets both uncommonly beautiful and functional.

Creative Storage — Why settle for stock cabinets? Go custom with drop-down doors that turn into extra counter space for those big holiday spreads, or that tastefully conceal a small appliance when it’s not in use.

Cooking with Elegance — Serve up meals using pro tools in world-class style with a hand-made La Cornue range (or Sub-Zero and Wolf) and custom hood built to your specifications. Truly, it’s the most beautiful, stylish, and functional kitchen fixture that money can buy.

Backsplash With Style — Ground your cooking area with a stone mosaic backsplash that is the finest in class and can last literally decades.

Unified Style — Add the details that tie the whole kitchen together, from the table-like island to feet on the base of the sink, and know that cabinets don’t have to look like cabinets! Get all the details that age and style the kitchen to the surrounding house without sacrificing any functionality or efficiency.

Built-In Appliances — Tuck high-end appliances behind wooden doors and custom wood panels consistent with the style of the rest of your kitchen.

Attention to Details — Get the extra attention that achieves your vision of a perfect kitchen, such as a farmhouse-style sink or a faucet from the era in which the house was built.

You’ll pay more for high-end materials and detailing, but your remodeled kitchen will be both a visual treat and a joy to you and your family for years to come.

 

If you’re ready to get remodeling, join us at our Kitchen and Bath Seminar to learn how to successfully remodel your home. We’d love to see you there!

If you can’t make it to the seminar, you can always schedule a conversation with one of our qualified design-build professionals to discuss your home remodeling timeline, budget, functional needs, and design preferences.

Design a Custom Kitchen Perfect for Entertaining

Assess how well your own kitchen functions this holiday

It happens every year—you host a memorable, family gathering; every room is decked out with your favorite holiday decorations; you’ve made a crackling fire; and appetizers are spread out ready for sampling.  Where do all of your guests end up?  You got it… the kitchen.  The well-known expression “the kitchen is the heart of home” is never truer than during the holidays.  Since food is central to most festive occasions, your guests spend much of their time in the kitchen visiting with you as you finish the final preparations of your meal.

As you host your family gathering this year, pay close attention to the functional use of your space. Use these design considerations to determine whether your kitchen can use an upgrade—perfect for entertaining.

A Kitchen Fit for Festivities

The challenge for many homeowners is configuring their kitchen to accommodate a house full of guests a few times a year, while serving their immediate family needs the rest of the year.  This holiday, pay close attention to how much space you have. If it is becoming an issue, square footage can be added with a new room addition. You may also be able to reconfigure your existing space to increase efficiency and room flow without adding an addition.

Before any work is started, it’s important to ask yourself what you want to accomplish in your kitchen space.  If you entertain all the time, a larger open concept kitchen might be ideal for you.  If you host large gatherings two or three times a year, adding a large center island with additional seating might be the perfect solution.  Create a “must-have” list for your new kitchen and keep those priorities top of mind as you plan your ideal working space.

Seating

Seating is a premium when you entertain large groups. If your kitchen doesn’t currently have an island, consider what it might be like to have one. An island creates additional seating and more surface area for prepping and serving.  In fact, a popular trend is to have two islands in the kitchen – one for cooking and food preparation and the other for seating and serving. If you have a L- or U-shaped kitchen, an island can also eliminate the “dead end” space where people can end up “stuck” in the back of the kitchen.

Tiered counter heights on an island or a long counter are also a great way to create additional space for guests. Your family or friends can visit you in the kitchen without interfering with the food preparation or cooking process.  It can also give your guests an area to place beverages and eat hors d’oeuvres, while concealing food that is being prepped on the other side.

Flow and Function

When you’re working in your kitchen this holiday, consider how you use your space. Are you in easy reach of all the kitchen appliances and supplies you need to complete your holiday preparations and finish your holiday meal?  Do you have to maneuver around guests to get from one end of the kitchen to another?  When you evaluate your kitchen space, consider the kitchen “work triangle,” which is a concept used to determine efficient kitchen layouts. The work triangle makes up the primary tasks in a home kitchen that are carried out between three points—the cook top, the sink and the refrigerator.  Something as relatively simple as moving the sink to a more central location can make a huge difference in the efficiency and flow of the space.

Is there an empty wall near your kitchen or eating space? If you find yourself maneuvering around your guests in your kitchen, you might consider installing a custom side bar. This will create a natural place to set up a beverage bar or appetizer area for your guests to congregate while they are waiting for you to serve them.  It’s also a great place to store additional beverages and glassware.

Storage

Speaking of storage, when you do a lot of cooking and entertaining you tend to have a plethora of kitchen supplies, i.e., glassware, pots and pans, dishware, cooking utensils, special holiday dishes, linens, etc. Consequently, storage becomes an important consideration to your kitchen plan.  How easy is it for you to access your special holiday dishes? Are your chaffing dishes tucked away behind your pots and pans or are they on a shelf buried deep in the garage? As you rethink your kitchen, consider ways to maximize your storage space.

Walk-in pantries are a great option for storing holiday items that are used just a few times a year. If you don’t have space for a walk-in pantry, custom cabinetry can go a long way to maximizing your kitchen space.  Custom cabinets can double or triple your storage by not only leveraging floor space but also areas up high.  Instead of installing cabinets one or two feet from the ceiling, you can run them all the way to the top of the ceiling.

Appliances that Enhance Entertaining

There are some great products on the market today that can help a host or hostess pull off the perfect party or family gathering. Consider these appliances to enhance your entertaining experience: Warming Drawer, Cappuccino Maker, Convection Oven, or Ice Maker. A secondary dishwasher, refrigerator or freezer placed adjacent to the main kitchen area can also help with quick, easy clean-up and extra storage.

For questions about remodeling a kitchen in your home fit for entertaining, contact Riverside Construction today!

Take the first step by scheduling an in-home meeting with your very own personal design consultant.

We also schedule complimentary kitchen remodeling seminars regularly each month. Let us know your interest in attending by signing up today.

Designing A Kitchen for People Who Love to Cook

If you enjoy spending time in your kitchen, nothing is more important than spending a little time and a few extra dollars to make it work flawlessly for you.  We’ve put together a list of five essential ingredients our kitchen designers would recommend you consider if you enjoy cooking.

  1. Size and Function

The old adage “Bigger is better” is not always true when it comes to essential kitchen design.  While most of us would love a large, expansive kitchen to work in, it’s not always feasible.  If you’re designing with limited square footage, it’s important to consider “economy of movement.”  In other words, you don’t want to find yourself running back and forth between areas of your kitchen when creating a culinary masterpiece. Instead, design your kitchen in a “work triangle,” strategically placing your refrigerator, sink, and cook top in an efficient kitchen layout.

If you have the luxury of a larger kitchen, you may want to consider oversized or even double kitchen islands, a popular trend today.  With a smart layout and configuration, this additional space allows the cook plenty of room to prepare food, while still being able to interact with guests.

  1. Coveted Counter Space

Ask anyone who loves to cook, and they’ll tell you “you can never have too much counter space!”  Easy-to-clean surfaces are also important to serious cooks. When choosing the right countertops, you need a surface that you can scrub and won’t stain. Choose a material that is both low-maintenance and beautiful. A popular choice like Quartz withstands high heat and makes cleanup easy.

How you cook can also determine the best countertop to choose. For example, the use of granite is perfect for kneading dough and marble is the better choice if you make a lot of confections. In some cases, choosing a mix of materials will give you the best option for creating a cook-friendly layout.

  1. Efficient Storage

Similar in importance to counter space is storage. Design your kitchen after taking inventory of everything you own. Make sure you measure and plan space for every item that you plan to store or use in your kitchen, before deciding on a final layout.

Choose closed cupboards to hide clutter and avoid open shelves, as they just gather dust. If you have the option to choose custom or semi-custom cabinets, plan to make your upper-tier cabinets 15 inches deep instead of the standard 12 inches to accommodate larger sized plates or platters. Adding dimension to an otherwise flat run of cabinets not only improves function to your kitchen, but creates visual appeal.

You can also plan to store specialty appliances like stand mixers or coffee makers. Serious cooks generally have a large number of pots and pans. Deep pullout drawers are a great option to keep your pots and pans out-of-site, while still keeping them within easy reach.

And don’t sweat the small stuff. Custom spaces can even be found for the smallest, albeit crucial, cooking items like spice jars, knives, cookie cutters, etc.

  1. Perfect Pantry

A serious cook can’t get far without the perfect ingredients to cook with.  A well laid-out and well-placed pantry is essential for any chef who needs to access those ingredients.  When designing your kitchen pantry, consider convenience, accessibility and visibility.  If ingredients are hard to get to, you won’t use it.

There are a variety of pantry options and ideas that range from small to large and inexpensive to more expensive.

Common for high-end homes with large kitchens, are walk-in pantries that offer convenient access to ingredients while hiding them out of sight.  For the average home, a butler’s pantry offers similar convenience and style. It can be located off the kitchen or dining room or tucked under a staircase. Rather than build a custom pantry, many serious cooks are also finding existing space near the kitchen that can be configured into a small pantry.

Other options for finding accessible space is making changes to existing cabinets with storage accessories such as pullout shelves and baskets, drawer organizers or built-in racks for spices or cookie sheets, etc.

  1. A Sink or Two

Would you believe that the sink is the most used area in the kitchen? That’s why choosing the right sink is so important. Most cooks would agree that a large deep sink is ideal (think large pots) over sinks that are divided into small, double or triple bowls, limiting their use.  If space allows, you may want to consider installing two full-sized kitchen sinks. This allows you to designate one sink for prepping food, and the other for dirty dishes, among other uses.  

An undermount sink is ideal for serious cooks who value being able to scrape food right into the sink. Single handle faucets also are convenient, making it easy to use when you only have one hand free.

Take the time to consider each essential ingredient and write down your thoughts. Make sure you have an idea of what you need to make your kitchen work flawlessly for you. Share this information with Riverside Construction’s design/build team and we’ll help you create a plan that factors in your budget, functional needs, logistics, schedule and lifestyle to design a perfect kitchen for you.

Take the first step by scheduling an in-home meeting with your very own personal design consultant.

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