Over my 20 years in business, I’ve designed dozens of kitchens. While all kitchens have the same elements — space for cooking, washing, refrigeration, food storage— the fun part is in designing spaces that really fit the clients’ needs and wants. With that in mind, I’ve complied some tips for you to consider when planning your own kitchen remodel.

Ingredients within easy reach

If you love to cook from scratch, then having your oils and spices in a drawer or pull-out cabinet right next to the cooktop will be essential. In instances where lower cabinet space is limited, creative use of the upper cabinets becomes more important. One of my new favorite products is called Vertical Spice which is a pull-out spice rack designed for upper cabinets. It’s very handy! The website is www.verticalspice.com

Adequate counter space for food preparation

Plan for at least 15” of counter space on each side of the cooktop for prep space; more is definitely better if possible. If there are multiple cooks in the family, plan for multiple prep spaces also. For example, while one cook is stationed near the cooktop, the other can be stationed near the sink, or at the island. Keep cutting boards, utensils and knives in a location that’s easy to reach for both cooks. 

Wide walkways

Plan for a minimum of 36” of walk space between an island and the perimeter cabinets. When I design a kitchen, I aim for 42” of walk space, and even more if there are multiple cooks. 42” allows for a dishwasher to be open and for someone to walk by, and for two people to pass each other comfortably. 

Everything in its place

When I design a client’s kitchen, I provide a drawing with a layout I think makes sense for that person based on conversations with them and my design knowledge. Then I give my clients a homework assignment: I ask them to label each drawer and cabinet shown and make sure everything has a place to live. Where will dishes and glasses go? Coffee and tea? Pots and pans? Small appliances? I try to think of everything, and then, together, we make sure nothing is  overlooked. This is a very important step! Making sure everything has a place to live is the key to a well-designed kitchen. 

Multipurpose Spaces

Kitchens are more than just places to prepare food. For most of us, kitchens are also where kids do homework, where we pay bills, catch up on work, read the news. Make sure to plan for those tasks too. In my own kitchen I have a file drawer for household files, and a drawer for bill paying supplies. An island or peninsula is an ideal space for kids to interact with you as they do their homework. And extra outlets for charging phones and laptops is must these days. 

High Quality Materials

Purchase the best materials your budget will allow. In my designs I use custom-made solid wood cabinets with top quality hinges and hardware, and custom-fabricated quartz or natural stone countertops. Kitchen remodels are expensive. You use your kitchen every single day for multiple purposes, and you want it to last for decades. You will not regret spending a bit more for high quality materials.