Cooking up a New Kitchen

City Lights Home and Gardens Supplement
Reprinted with permission from the Jerusalem Post

So, you’ve decided to remodel your kitchen! Whether you are planning to do a minor facelift or are considering a major overhaul, you’re probably won­dering if you need a professional kitchen designer.

You can hire a designer to do the whole works, from start to finish; if you are a do-it-yourselfer you can call one in for consulta­tion and floor plans.

If you are going it alone, research the sub­ject thoroughly; look through every magazine possible, visit every kitchen outlet and equip yourself with an in-depth knowledge of the lat­est materials, equipment and trends in design.

Two hints to the wise: Most people don’t realize how unsettling kitchen remodeling can be. In some cases, the kitchen will be com­pletely gutted, so that some kind of auxiliary kitchen must be set up for use while renova­tion is underway.

Second, be prepared for the dust and dirt.

THE WELL-PLANNED kitchen is the one de­signed with you, your family and your lifestyle in mind. As no two families are identical, no two kitchens, ideally, should be exactly alike. The most successful kitchen layouts are based on the tried and true tested method known as THE WORK TRIANGLE. This is a concept devised, by time and motion experts to provide a logical work sequence with a minimum of leg work.

The three parts of the triangle are food storage, preparation and cooking areas and they are linked by counters or work surfaces. Ideally, the triangle should not exceed nine meters all around. In many kitchens, it is im­possible to have an unbroken work sequence. As the two zones most often used are the preparation and cooking areas, it is better to keep these together and separate the storage section.

Lighting plays an important part in the re­modeling process. The darker the finished sur­faces will be, the more light absorptive they will become. An all-white kitchen is going to require dramatically less light than a kitchen with dark wood cabinetry.

Fluorescent and halogen lighting are most effective in the kitchen but can be too harsh. Consider using dimmer switches, since dim lights soften both the appearance of people’s faces, as well as the hard, sharp look of nine­ty degree angles from appliances and cabinets.

Though windows let wonderful sunlight in by day and make the scenes outside visible, they become black reflecting holes at night unless exterior lighting becomes part of the plan. Therefore, window coverings in the kitchen should be an integral part of the design from the start. Simple mini-blinds with areas of the slats in a deeper matching or contrasting color to the body of the blind, or laminated window shades which are a twin to colorful wallpaper make ideal coverups.

Kitchen style is often described in terms of categories like traditional or contemporary. However, outside of magazine pictures, they cannot be categorized so easily. The average kitchen contains a hodgepodge of furnish­ings, appliances, flooring, countertops and ac­cessories that reflect past efforts at design. To imprint your personality and tastes on your kitchen a few creative ideas are needed.

First, pick your color scheme carefully. Color unifies any room more than any other entity. It is also the least expensive and easi­est avenue of making the room your own. A big difference can be achieved with paint and wallpaper. Paint can soften, darken or brighten a room. Flat paints will create a soft­er effect, glossy acrylics will produce a brighter, brittler surface and they’re easier to wipe clean. Dark colors will make a large room look smaller, especially when applied to high ceilings or side or end walls. Light col­ors will seem to enlarge a small kitchen.

Wallpaper can be used to extend and complement the color scheme you’ve estab­lished with paint. It can also delineate style and mood. Papering an eating area in the same color family as that of the paint on the other walls will give a cozy feeling, yet it will still harmonize with the overall decor of the room. Papering a large kitchen can give it a warmer, more intimate atmosphere.

Color coordinate your accessories and even seemingly trivial items such as dishtowels, canister sets, paper towel hold­ers, wall pictures and plaques. Even covers for mixer, toaster and other small appliances can be an important part of the color scheme. Oth­er integral color components that can jazz up a room are the chair upholstery and, trivial though it might sound, a colorful, coordinat­ed tablecloth or attractive placemat.

THE FOLLOWING are a potpourri of ideas to make the kitchen more attractive and utilitari­an follow.

Cabinet doors come in a world of finishes and styles: formica, in many colors and tex­tures; woods, in light or deep, warm shades and stained glass in wood frames, plain glass or textured glass. For the trendy, open-stor­age effect, don’t use any doors.

Have the refrigerator built in, facing it with cabinet door material for a unifying, luxurious effect.

For the sink: install a liquid soap dispens­er to eliminate soap bottles and drippings on the sink; or, install an instant hot water heater. To eliminate minerals from your drinking wa­ter, you can also put in a kitchen sink water filter.

Kitchen cabinets can be made more practical and useful by installing pull-out pot drawers, slide-out shelves and basket draw­ers. For a sleeker, contemporary look, elimi­nate handles or knobs on upper cabinet doors. Affixing the door slightly lower than the cabinet creates a handhold and keeps the door cleaner. Self-closing hinges and magnets on the doors are another example of a small idea with great return.

The modern kitchen generally has no space for an old-fashioned pantry, but a two- can pantry with a depth of 25-30cm can fit into small spaces, will hold much more than in proportion to its size; contents can easily be seen at a glance.

“ROLLED EDGES” is an oft-heard phrase in current kitchen design lingo. It is best de­scribed as the soft-edged look, characterized by rounded contours on cabinets and rolled edges on countertops. Today’s thinking is that instead of crisp, sharp edges, curvy counters become the focus of attention. It is unexpected and catches the eye; and a principle touchstone of interior design is that the eye loves a curve. There are also practical advantages as a kitchen with no sharp edges to bump into is comfortable to move around in.

So, BE BOLD, think out of the box and treat yourself to a brand new cooking and eating center… your kitchen.