It’s all in the Planning!
When it comes to designing your dream Kitchen, it’s all in the planning! I like my clients to think about their Kitchen from the minute they start their new build or to at least give themselves six months to achieve the perfect design if they are renovating an existing Kitchen. Any less and you risk missing essential elements of the Kitchen design. What makes a Kitchen a successful Kitchen is less about the look of it and everything to do with the functionality. There is no point having a stunning Kitchen if you have to reach over other people or appliances to reach the fridge.
Here are my top tips for achieving your dream Kitchen.
Set a Budget
1. Set a realistic budget – This is important because you do not want to set your heart on a Kitchen to find out it will cost you €35k when your budget is €10k. Factor in appliance, flooring, worktop – if you are going for a stone, and finishes.
2. Pick a Kitchen designer that you have a connection with. One that you feel understands your needs. This does not have to the one in a particular showroom. You can pick an independent Kitchen designer and they will guide you in the right direction.
Give it Some Thought
3. Spend time with your Kitchen designer and label each cupboard and drawer with what you plan on putting in them – it might seem silly but it will help focus your mind and help you visualise the space.
And Then Give it Some More…
4. The Kitchen tends to be a high traffic area as it is often the heart of the home. Make sure you create an area for school bags and discarded shoes before you come into the Kitchen, like a Mudroom or Utility, so that you can have an unobstructed pathway around the Kitchen.
5. When laying out the Kitchen, make sure you keep the main tasks in mind – preparing, cooking, serving and cleaning up after meals. As such, you need to make that they are in a comfortable distance of each other. There is no point in taking a tray from the oven only to have to walk to the other side of the room to leave it down on a counter top, or to have a larder on the opposite of the room to a fridge meaning when you are unpacking the groceries’ you have to go back and forth across the room. It is all about making your life easier.
6. Irish people love the idea of an Island, and it is a great addition to a Kitchen if you can fit one. But most older house cannot fit an Island comfortably in to their space and an island placed incorrectly will not work well. Ideally it should be at least 1 metre around the island, meaning the space between the island and the cupboards or wall is at least one metre. This allows for safe opening of the dishwasher door, the oven and just ease of passing. Also, make sure it is not too far away as you need to be able to reach it at arm length in order for it to be a useful addition to the Kitchen.
7. The old rule was to place the sink first, this was grounded in tradition from when people spent a lot of time scrubbing dishes, but with the invention of dishwashers this is no longer the case. But it is still important to consider its placement as food preparation and rinsing will still be done here. More and more clients are opting to add it to the Island and I think this is a good place for it as you can meal prep while talking to your family. The bins are usually placed under the island too so it means with one quick swoop you can have your potato skins in the compost bin. If you don’t place the sink in the island, I would say that you should place it in front of a window. Washing dishes is much better with a view.
8. The Hob placement is another consideration and just like the sink it can be placed in the island. The main issue with having the hob in the island is that you can have splatters go everywhere if the island isn’t deep enough, so this is something to take into account.
9. No matter what the style of your kitchen and the amount of people you will be catering for, two single ovens or a double oven placed at eye level is always a good idea. Especially as we get older. How many times have you bumped your legs off an open oven door when you have forgotten it is wide open?
10. Utilise all the available space – I believe you should use all the space you can in your Kitchen. Extend larder units to the ceiling and take advantage of all that wasted space.
11. Lighting – this is very important in a Kitchen. Make sure you have plenty of task lighting and some feature lighting too. Good LED spotlights work well in a Kitchen for day to day work, and if you add feature lighting above an Island it can work as both. Run LED strip lighting under cupboards to give you direct light, but also you can have these under shelving to create a feature at night.
12. Make sure you get a good drawing of your Kitchen. Get a 3D drawing if possible, and make sure it is to scale. Look at the finishes – worktop, handles, door colours etc in your own home so you can see the effect of natural light on them.
Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy!
13. And lastly, enjoy the process. This has to function for you and your family. If have your heart set on a pink Kitchen, then so be it. Have fun with it after all, you are creating your dream Kitchen and that is unique to you!
Just remember that planning is key and repeat the mantra – it’s all in the planning!