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The 2008 Kitchen

by Kim Kinrade

kitchen remodeling, remodeling ideasWhen you look at the home as a compilation of functional units you will see that each section has its distinct characteristics in relation to others. Each is important in its own way and everyone has a monopoly on the occupants' time-of-use depending on the time of day, or day of the week. The garage workshop, for example, may get used more in the evenings and weekends whereas the bathroom is used most in the early morning, after dinner and late evening.

However, the room which received the most amount of use, and at all hours, is the kitchen. The reason that the kitchen is used more than the other areas is geared to the function. The kitchen is not only the food preparation area, it is also used for storage and, in many cases, the consumption of food. Many kitchens contain breakfast nooks or stools around the island for snacking. The dishwasher and utensil storage is also contained in the kitchen. So when it comes time to renovate the kitchen into a space that is multi-tasking yet easy to navigate the process takes a lot more time and expertise than many homeowners expect.

In addition, the kitchen is almost always #1 on the realtor's list of resale items. Homebuyers are not necessarily renovators and many want all the spaces of the home finished so they can move in and enjoy their new home. This makes the kitchen a deal maker or breaker in many home sales.

The Cabinets

Used as the storage component of the kitchen the cabinets also make the aesthetic mark on the area. It is generally the first view that hits the eye when approaching the area and beautiful cabinets can create a vision for the rest of the home.

In the recent past the clean “Euro-look” of kitchen cabinetry dominated the kitchen design spectrum with its bank of blocks coordinated by stainless-steel appliances and modernistic dining accessories. That has since evolved into another European motif which features the rural kitchens of the Mediterranean farms. In these kitchens the wall cabinets may be a different design than the island. Rather than the symmetry of the urban condominiums the cabinets are more ornate with carved posts and colored with creams or beige with charcoal-blue accents. The storage is geared toward bulk goods but can accommodate almost any usage.

The Appliances

There is a movement among designers to hide appliances such like the dishwasher and fridge because many of their clients think they are a ugly. The new technology makes it possible to break up the appliances rather than combine them, as in the case of the refrigerator freezer. New items such as under-the-counter refrigeration units are covered with a cabinet door, just like other cabinets, for a homogeneous look.

Countertops

In the past the horizontal parts of the kitchen tied the themes together in a ribbon of gloss and beauty. Even today, granite, marble and engineered stone enhance the elegance of the area while providing a functional workspace for food preparation. These choices have not changed and we can add to that the addition of polished concrete countertops and exotic woods. However, just as the cabinets are not uniform the counter follow suit. There could be granite on the wall cabinets and marble or soapstone on the island.

Flooring

Since the kitchen has evolved into a place where the family is spending more time the choice of a softer flooring is becoming more important. Tile and even vinyl are hard on the feet and back during long periods of food preparation but cork and “floating floors” of special laminates are find their was into more kitchens. In addition there are new, softer vinyl flooring options which are easier on the body and these come in a wide variety of colors and designs. Cork has a great many options in color and design and can be installed with glue or as a floating floor.

Lighting

On of the most impressive changes in kitchen design has been the lighting. Gone are the old overhead fluorescents and track lights with large pots. Replacing them are a wide variety of designated working lights which are installed under the wall cabinets and inside the base ones. The addition of energy-efficient LED lighting and solar options make keeping the lights on in the kitchen easier on the energy bill. As well the new lighting puts a different glow on an old lighting scheme.


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