• Suzanne

Choosing the Kitchen that is right for YOU

Updated: Feb 4, 2018

Of all the projects that take the most planning and consideration, the kitchen ranks at the top of the list. There are literally hundreds to thousands of decisions to be made, along with as many mistakes! People become overwhelmed with all the ideas circulating online with sites like Pinterest and Houzz, as well as the glossy magazines showing all the latest 'trends'. It makes it more difficult to focus on what is important for you, and what your exact needs will be.

Some thoughts before you begin that are important. If you are a person who entertains a lot and you like to cook, you might want your kitchen to be open and friendly to guests. This seems to continue to be a major trend in homes of late. But some people who don't entertain in a kitchen might want to reconsider a more closed off area. Both have their advantages. Which one are you? How long do you plan on living in your house, and how do you plan to use it while you are there?

That's when designers step up to help. Here is the kitchen I designed for my clients, Kris and Tim.

When I met Kris and Tim in Santa Rosa, California, they had a some very good ideas of how they wanted their remodel project to look and feel. Faced with an outdated kitchen from the 60's they wanted something fresh and simple that opened up to the rest of the house, with a place to entertain family and friends. Tim is a cook, and he wanted to face to the back of the house and out to the views, where friends would gather. He wanted everything to have a place keeping counters free of clutter. Kris wanted a quiet kitchen, without a lot of frills, but clean and neat...and not white!

I was brought in by the contractor to help with some preliminary drawings, organization plans, and ideas for the floors, finishes and fixtures. They needed someone to put the ideas into a cohesive plan of attack. The discussions began, and we talked and talked.

There was a counter/cabinet separation between the kitchen and the dining room, with a back door that seemed in the wrong place. We decided to open up the back of the house where they have a wonderful garden and patio, just off the family room. The ceilings were painfully low with old fluorescent lighting. We wanted to add height and provide some utility lighting along with some accent lighting on the island and under the soffit.

A kitchen remodel starts with a diagram and a list formed by talking to my client. Being an investigator is my favorite part of any job. Asking the questions, listening, sitting in different areas of the house and garden, walking around and hearing how they plan to use the space and make it special to them is how a successful project begins. This time spent with my clients provides me the chance to get to know them and be assured of how I can best serve them in their design needs. Where do they make morning coffee, what direction do they want to face when they are cooking, what utensils do they commonly use, how do they store items and where do all those incidentals live and how to keep them easy to reach. The list was long and everything needed a place. After that, we discussed the colors, finishes, and flooring. White was out. We chose a subtle grey/green that worked with the rest of the house and garden. It bounces color just enough off the grey back splash and oak flooring.

The contractor, Arron, who had worked with Tim and Kris on their previous home. jumped in and demolished the ceilings, walls, floors, and tore out cabinets. He moved water heaters and opened walls. Everyone saw the potential immediately. Then the rebuild started with an large empty shell. The old door was closed off and a new slider placed to open onto the outside patio. New cabinets were measured and custom made. What came out of all this planning and work was a modern, functional, beautiful space. It took some time, but it was well worth the wait! Plus, I made new friends while the work was going forward!

Do you have a kitchen in need of some updating? As a cook myself I study kitchens like a science project. A well designed kitchen is a pleasure to work in, where everything has its place and cleaning up is easy. A kitchen becomes the core of the home and a place to share with friends and family. It is worth the price to do it just for you the first time around.

If you have questions about your remodel ideas and need some help to answer those hundreds of questions, give me a holler!

Photography by Bart Edson

Cabinets: JR's Woodworks, Santa Rosa, California

Construction: Aaron Lorenzo

Floors: Solid white oak, installed and finished by Rudy Hasad, Floortex

Silestone countertops