Dream Kitchen Remodeling Tips

By Bruce Meller

Your kitchen is arguably the most important room in your house. Food-its storage, preparation, and consumption-is one of our most basic needs, and key to our sense of security. “Warm kitchen feelings” is a phrase used in our house to evoke happy memories of the family gathered around a well-supplied table, and the concept of “comfort food” has taken off in this era of fast food and eating out.

A remodeled kitchen certainly adds more to the resale value of your house than any other room, including adding a master suite. Plus, if your family is like mine, everybody gathers there, no matter how many yummy hors d’oeuvres I put out on trays in the living room.

Each of us has different needs and wants for his or her dream kitchen. That’s why there are so many plans-some with islands, some with dining counters, bar areas or pass-through features, some with butler’s pantries, or office areas, some with keeping rooms-each reflecting its owner’s priorities.

The following dream kitchen remodeling tips can be incorporated into almost any design, thereby “ramping up” the things you love about your particular kitchen.

  1. Increase your counter space – pull bottom cabinets forward and install a deeper counter top to increase work space. Think of it as reclaiming the original counter space you now have to share with your toaster, your cookbooks, sugar tin, etc.
  2. Mount faucets on the wall above the counter – makes it easier to clean behind the sink.
  3. Install an extra-large garbage disposal – it takes up the same space, provides the best value for minimal cost, and decreases clogs.
  4. Replace bottom cabinets with multitasking drawers, pullout shelves, or open shelving – no more standing on your head to see what’s in the back of the cabinet.
  5. Choose a refrigerator with the freezer on the bottom – places the refrigerator at a convenient level for accessing the majority of your daily food needs. Consider making that bottom freezer into a pull-out drawer-see item #4 for reasoning.
  6. Install a sink with the main bowl large enough to accommodate oversized pans – so there’s no more wrestling with washing half the turkey roaster at a time, or spraying the rest of the kitchen rather than the dirty dishes.
  7. Put in the strongest exhaust hood (or downdraft) you can afford, and vent it to the outside – this is invaluable for eliminating smoke or food odors (ever burned the salmon under the broiler?) in a hurry.
  8. Place a built-in banquette in the eating area – increase storage of dining-related items like linens and flatware, or rarely-used items like that turkey roaster, while also increasing space normally taken up by freestanding chairs.
  9. Designate a “snack area”, either in the island, if you have one, or one end of the available counter space, with its own refrigerator drawer and food storage and prep area – keep your hungry kids from hanging on the door of an open refrigerator scrounging for after-school snacks.
  10. Leave room for a sofa and coffee table (or two side chairs and a table and lamp between them) – everyone ends up in the kitchen during parties, so accommodate them with a comfortable place to be while you’re preparing the feast; it also adds a great design focal point to the room, especially if you have room for a small fireplace, as well.

Spend your time enjoying your company, as well as the preparation of the food itself. While cleaning and organizing your kitchen are necessary evils, designing ways to cut down on cleaning time and effort might make you a very happy chief cook and bottle washer.

Bruce Meller is president of Home Forge Remodeling LLC., a full-service kitchen and bath residential remodeling company headquartered in Decatur, Georgia.