Holidays highlight kitchen shortcomings

by lcmremodel

Although our waistlines might disagree, Thanksgiving dinner is behind us. We hope you were able to share good food and memories with loved ones this year.

This particular holiday always spotlights the kitchen as command central for the feast preparation. Thanksgiving puts a kitchen to the test like no other holiday and often shines a light on its shortcomings.

As we head into December with even more holiday meals and baking, we can’t help but wonder how to make kitchens more functional.

In fact, it’s kind of tradition that we dedicate our November column to kitchens and the people who make food magic happen there (P.S., we love you). So many cooks pull off holiday baking and meal prep under less-than-perfect conditions. In years past, we’ve shared new gadgets, appliance trends, cutting-edge equipment and must-have kitchen features that make a chef’s job easier. This year we’re going back to the basics to revisit kitchen layout and functionality.

We’ve all been there. A poor kitchen layout can turn making a simple meal into a frustrating ordeal. Bad lighting and unpredictable appliances can cause mistakes that ruin a trusted recipe. Poor traffic flow creates logjams at the sink and can make cleanup an isolating chore. Lack of ample counter space makes it hard to perform simple tasks like rolling a pie crust, cooling cookies or even preparing a simple salad.

More often than not, frustrating kitchens that feel cramped and dated have adequate square footage and simply suffer from a case of poor layout. We see this all the time, and it’s usually resolved with a minor remodel.

According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value report, www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2014/mountain/, the average return on a major kitchen remodel in the mountain region of the United States is 72 percent, and a minor kitchen remodel will recoup nearly 79 percent of your costs. So when you invest in making your kitchen more palatable for you and your family, it increases your resale value to boot.

When considering a kitchen remodel, look for underutilized space, such as a breakfast nook, blank wall or adjoining closet. You might remove a wall to combine the kitchen and dining room into one larger, open entertaining area. If you have space, add an island with bar stools, beverage sink and under-counter storage. The awesomeness and utility of islands cannot be overstated.

The primary cooking tasks in a home kitchen are carried out between the refrigerator, the stovetop and the sink. These three work stations, and the imaginary lines that connect them, make up what kitchen designers call the work triangle. When remodeling, rearrange existing cabinetry and appliances to make an efficient work triangle that facilitates flow.

Think about purchasing Energy Star appliances, proper task lighting, and natural flooring and countertops to address health, safety, efficiency and comfort issues, too.

Kitchens are so much more than where we prepare food. They are multi-use living spaces that often serve as the heart of our homes. So if you’re thinking about a kitchen remodel, rest assured — your heart is in the right place.

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