Tag Archives: kitchen

Kitchen Strategy

Kitchen Strategy

Designing Your Kitchen to Work Hard So You Don’t Have To

Some say that life is lived in the kitchen. After all, the kitchen is the heart of most homes today. While the space was once considered purely utilitarian and frequently closed off from the rest of the house, the kitchen has evolved into the family epicenter, consciously integrated into the overall flow and character of the home.

Functional design and organizational techniques are essential for all of our kitchens – especially given the significant role the space plays in our client’s lives. The overall flow including workspaces, storage, and shelving options are all essential factors we consider unique for each homeowner to help simplify their lives. And everything has a home with customized drawers dedicated to flatware and cooking utensils, along with pull out drawers for cookware or spices, for example.

Our first recommendation is to incorporate full-height cabinets which visually heighten the ceiling and provide optimized storage options: everyday items can be at hand’s reach, while less frequently used items and appliances can be stored up above. Those with tall ceilings can add upper cabinets for even more storage!

Storage above a refrigerator or oven is another option for less frequently used items while cabinet garage doors or a conveniently located butler’s pantry can be used to store or hide large appliances. A more discreet storage technique – and possibly one of our favorite tricks – is to transform columns and cased openings into usable space. All of these options help reduce clutter but sometimes our clients have meaningful pieces or decorative accessories. In this case, we recommend glass cabinets lit from within or classic open shelving to highlight those pieces.

For many, the island or peninsula is a kitchen’s primary gathering spot – not just for food preparation, but also for social entertaining or eating a meal. The island also serves as a key functional component. Refrigerator drawers and dishwashers can be compartmentalized around an island, while wine coolers and microwaves can be handsomely integrated into the design. Adding a practical work surface, such as wood, helps set the island apart, as does choosing a beautiful, decorative overhead light fixture. If designed properly, the island can be the most functional space in the kitchen.

Acknowledging this is a highly utilitarian space, to create a sense of warmth in the kitchen we use millwork such as beadboard on our walls and beamed ceilings articulated in a beadboard. If a homeowner wants their kitchen to exude a distinctly modern tone, in which case we may choose storage options that feel a bit more tailored. For example, stacking wine elements on either side of an integrated built-in refrigerator can establish a sleek, tailored look. For homeowners looking for a more traditional look, nearly all appliances can be paneled to appear like furniture.

A kitchen’s design and functionality sets the tone for a home by increasing the ease with which a homeowner lives and entertains. Whether it is reclaimed timber beams or sleekly designed storage drawers, it should be an inspiring space that tells the story – welcoming all to the heart of the home.

Breakfast Nooks

Breakfast Nooks

Not Just for Breakfast

Casual seating areas off of the kitchen, often referred to as “breakfast nooks” are increasingly popular in many of our homes. While traditional dining areas are great for hosting large dinner parties, the breakfast nook can accommodate a range of purposes.

Based on a homeowner’s objectives, a breakfast nook can add informal seating options or provide a solution for unused (or awkward) space that cannot fit a traditional dining table. Maximizing space is important in both large and small kitchens and a breakfast nook is a great way to add functionality. Typically located in close proximity to the kitchen, the area can be fully integrated with the design of the home, or have its own creative identity. The nook can also take advantage of special views and vantage points that are meaningful to the family.

To enhance the informal, cozy feel of the area, clients often mix seating options such as benches, chairs or custom banquettes. Statement lighting, sophisticated or rustic patterns can also provide personal style to the space. Clients also appreciate the ease with which the space can be updated: swap out a traditional rug – or replace chairs with upholstered benches – and voila, a freshened look.

In addition to its design flexibility, a breakfast nook offers homeowners a multitude of popular uses. For some, it is the treasured place to enjoy coffee and the morning paper. For others, it’s the favorite spot to work from home. At holidays, it may be the “kid’s table” or a place for family overflow. Or, it may simply be the essential, casual dining space used night after night: the most comfortable spot in the house.

So whether it’s large or small, rustic or formal, enjoy the many options of your breakfast nook: chances are, it’s not just for breakfast anymore.