Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Guide to Renovating A Kitchen: Part 2

Since this is such a meaty topic, we've broken the Guide to Renovating A Kitchen into two parts. You can see the post from last time where we discussed permits for renovation projects, cabinets and backsplashes. 

This post will go into kitchen islands, countertops, and appliances. We love to hear your feedback, so if you would like more tips on anything or have questions, please leave them in the comments section below and we'll write a blog post answering your questions!

The Island
The kitchen island has many admirable attributes, it provides a larger work surface, additional storage options, dining, as well as adding style to the space. It’s also part of the kitchen triangle, which is the golden rule of any kitchen layout. Here are a few things you should consider when designing your kitchen island:

  • Size - Islands are now being designed to optimize every inch of available space, especially in a large kitchen. Even small kitchens can accommodate an island. A rolling cart or a small rustic table can provide extra surface area for working.
  • Function - Some homeowners prefer to have an island where the family can dine on. This adds extra functionality, however you’ll need to consider height for seating. The kitchen island is also a great place for extra cabinets and drawers, we all know how crucial storage is in a kitchen.
  • Style - Designers advise mirroring the other design elements of your kitchen when thinking about the style of your kitchen island. If you have a modern space, with stainless steel and dark surfaces, then the island should mimic those contemporary aspects, like a slate countertop and dark wood stools.

Homeowners have a lot of options when it comes to kitchen countertops. The options available range from moderately priced to very expensive; from manmade materials to natural surfaces.

Laminate is popular and the least expensive of the group, ranging from $15-$40 per linear foot. There are numerous colors and patterns to choose from. The downside is the surfaces can burn and scratch easily.

Granite it the most popular of the natural countertop category, other popular options include marble and soapstone. Stone countertops are extremely durable, but also very unforgiving - if you drop a plate on it, it’ll be reduced to pieces. It is also the most expensive of the group and can range from $100-$250 a linear foot.

Major Appliances
When choosing major appliances for your kitchen, aesthetics, technology, and budget will be some determining factors. You’ll also need to think about the placement of each of these pieces to be sure there is an efficient work flow from your refrigerator to your cooktop or the sink to the dishwasher.

  • Dishwashers have come a long way in their design and noise levels. New streamlined designs can almost make them disappear into the cabinets and now with advanced technology, you may not even know they are running.
  • Cooktops are now fully independent of ovens, their versatility is limitless. For example, homeowners who entertain in the kitchen might like to have their cooktop installed on top of the island so they are included in the action without having their back to guests. Where do you put the exhaust fan? Downdraft ventilation systems can eliminate the need for overhead hoods.
    • Convention and convection are your choices when it comes to ovens. Convection will be the more expensive option, as the ovens have blowers that circulate the heat for faster, even cooking. It is becoming a trend to have two ovens in your kitchen for more flexibility and greater cooking capacity.
  • Refrigerators come in side-by-side, top-and-bottom, and built-in units. Choosing a style may be largely a matter of personal preference, but the size should take into account the size of the family.
    • The height and width of the refrigerator will need sufficient clearance from hallways, doorways and cabinets. A rule of thumb is to allow at least 2 inches minimum on each side to allow a door to swing open, depending on the model.
    • If you want additional features like ice makers or water dispensers, think about placement in relation to water access. Another popular kitchen trend are under-the-counter units for auxiliary fridge/freezer space.
We hope this guide has given you a taste of what to plan for when you are preparing for your renovation project. Kitchens can seem like a daunting project, so our advice is to start looking for inspiration on Houzz and Pinterest for your dream kitchen. Compiling these ideas will help lay the groundwork to get you into your dream kitchen lickitysplit. Happy dreaming and planning!

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