Information About Kitchen Designs

Kitchen designs help to make individuals homes more pleasing to look at and functional. Every homeowner appreciates different styles and decorations in this very special place. Designs of today give homeowners better usage of their kitchens by providing better functionality and appearance in this part of their home. Transforming a kitchen to meet your needs can be a very pleasing and desirable task that every homeowner wants to be involved in doing.

An individual’s kitchen is important because it is often used more than any room of the home to prepare food, cook, eat, entertain guest, and for other purposes. Having a space set up to work well for doing all of these things is helpful for getting what you need to do done faster. Kitchen designs may be changing the flooring, adding new appliances and cabinets, rearranging your entire room to fit your needs, adding or taking away wall dividers and adding accessories and storage to your kitchen to give it a brand new look and feel. Kitchen designs help the homeowner get the type of kitchen that they want and make the kitchen a better living space for the entire family. All the tasks and everything that goes on in the kitchen will need to be thought about when preparing for new kitchen designs.

A new design can add more style to an outdated kitchen. New cabinets can do a lot for an outdated kitchen giving it an entire new appearance. The way a kitchen is laid out can make everything more suitable for doing tasks in the room. Kitchen designs can make your work in this area easier getting more done in a shorter amount of time. Each homeowner will have a different idea when it comes to kitchen design. Some people desire more storage and others just want updated appliances. There are people who want to expand a kitchen giving it more space so each person will have to decide for him or herself about what type of kitchen design they will want for their home.

Designing a kitchen is a lot of fun for everyone involved. Deciding what to change can be exciting to the homeowner because kitchen design is like creating an entirely new kitchen. Some of the most desired kitchen designs are adding storage in the kitchen through new cabinets, pantry, cupboards, and shelving. This gives the homeowner more space in the kitchen and allows them to put away clutter that would otherwise be setting out. This will help to keep the kitchen more organized and give it a clean appearance. There are many ways to design a kitchen to help make your home more appealing to you and to others visiting your home. There is no limit to all the ideas that you will be able to come up with for designing your room. When deciding on designs get some ideas from magazines and from looking at other people’s kitchens to decide what would best suit your own space. You will be able to get the style you are looking for and have the creation you have always wanted.

Kitchen Design – Is There a New Kitchen in Your Future? Take the First Steps to Success – Planning

INTRODUCTION

Many of my clients have, unfortunately, initiated the design of their kitchen without an understanding of the extent of what is actually involved in the process, in terms of design, budget, timeline and other issues. In these cases, our design process together, was frustrating for the client and for me. As a result, this article will clarify the process so that you will have the opportunity to become better informed before you begin your kitchen project, thereby avoiding uninformed decisions or possibly spending time and/or money needlessly.

This article is not about the specific design features of your kitchen and how to design it. There are many good resources available for that. Instead, it is about the process of designing your kitchen. It is meant to help in getting a head start and to expose anyone who is, or might be, embarking upon the design of a new or remodeled kitchen, to the first and most important step – Planning.

Designing a kitchen for a new or existing home is a big investment in time, money and energy and it is sometimes stressful and challenging. Unfortunately, some vendors and TV programs don’t like to dwell on this aspect and therefore mislead the consumer regarding the actual amount of time and effort that is required. Even though creating a new kitchen is challenging, most clients say that the results are more than worth the effort. I hope that the information provided herein will be a helpful contribution toward having you well on your way to a successful project.

Before you begin the process of designing your new kitchen, you will need to set the criteria for the design. I recommend that you engage a professional kitchen designer that not only designs the cabinet layout, but designs every element of the kitchen and is involved throughout the entire project, so that the final result will be a cohesive design that reflects optimum function and style. The designer will not only help you create a beautiful, efficient, kitchen but will save you significant time and money and you will both have fun developing your joint creation. I trust that what follows will get your energy flowing and thoughts racing, in preparation for actually embarking upon your journey. And, it “is” a journey!

THE KITCHEN OF TODAY

The kitchen has traditionally been the most important room in the house because cooking and sharing food has long been central to family life. Meals will always be important, but cooking has, in some cases, significantly changed. The grocery industry has focused on replacements for home meals and hundreds of restaurants have incorporated “to-go” in their business model. Whether we cook frequently or not, kitchens remain the foundation of family life because it is where we live and gather. It is where most of us start and end our days and share the information of our day.

Today’s kitchens serve more roles than ever before: entertainment center, home office, cooking and dining space. The electronics for an entertainment center may include TV, music and internet connection and the office area may have a desk, files, computer and bookshelves.

THE FIRST STEPS

Determine with your family, who uses your current kitchen and how, and discuss the conveniences you would like to have in the new version. Make a scrapbook of articles and notes on kitchens and kitchen features that interest you and photographs of kitchens you like. Evaluate how and when you cook, where you serve meals to whom and how often you entertain and how you entertain. Inventory your dishes, silverware, serving pieces, cookware, linens, and your typical grocery storage requirements so that you can be sure that the new design accommodates everything.

It seems that no matter how much time you budget for a remodeling project, it usually takes longer than you expected. For a complete remodel, the down time during construction can be at least two or three months and much longer, depending upon the size and extent of the project. Your family needs to eat in the meantime. So, before construction starts make arrangements to store, heat and clean up, enough to keep you going until the kitchen is back on-line. Many of my clients who have had the good fortune to have a bar sink in the family room, have moved in the old refrigerator and microwave near the bar sink and this combination becomes the interim kitchen during construction of the new one. The upside to this is that it provides a great rationale for eating out more often!

THE KITCHEN FOOTPRINT

Let’s start with the space you have available for the kitchen. Whether you are designing for a new home, or remodeling in an existing one, you are limited by how much space you have available in which to create your dream. If the space is fairly small, you will want to consider whether or not you have the option of expanding. You may be able to accomplish this in your existing home and, in a new home, very often you still have time to alter the architectural plan, if needed. In either case, if you can eliminate or relocate a wall or walls or add to the house to create more space for the kitchen, it will improve the function and value of the room significantly.

Of course, if you don’t create an addition to the house, and just remove or relocate a wall(s), you then have infringed upon a contiguous space and decreased its size, so you have to weigh which option is the best for you. Is it worth giving up the other space to increase the size of the kitchen? In my experience, if you can do without the adjoining space, it is much better to devote that extra space to the kitchen.

When you plan to remove or relocate a wall(s), the key factor to determine is, by so doing, will you encounter a load-bearing situation? This occurs when the wall(s) is part of the support system for the structure of the house. Usually a contractor can determine this. If the contractor is uncertain, you will need to have a structural engineer examine the structure to make that determination. If it is non load-bearing, when you are ready to start construction, the contractor can proceed to build out the space per the new plan. If it is a load-bearing issue, your local building authority will require that you retain a structural engineer or an architect to design a structural solution for removing or relocating the wall(s).

He or she will submit design drawings and calculations of the solution, to the building authority for approval and permit. Upon receiving the permit, when you are ready to begin construction, the contractor can then proceed to build-out the structure per the engineer’s or architect’s specifications. This is the process in California, based upon the state building standards, Title 24. The process in the other states is very similar.

In any case, once you have made the decision of whether or not to expand or re-configure, you will know the size and shape (footprint) of the space that you have available from a horizontal standpoint – Plan View.

VERTICAL SPACE

You should also consider what size and shape the room will be from a vertical standpoint as well. If it is possible to increase the height of the room by raising, eliminating or altering an existing low ceiling or soffit, you should seriously consider taking advantage of this option. The additional height will provide more cabinet storage from the increased height of wall cabinets and the room will become more voluminous which is always more visually impressive and comfortable. From a construction standpoint, the load-bearing issues will apply to increasing the room height just as it applies to moving or eliminating walls.

Of course, in dealing with all of these design and construction issues and decisions that need to be made, you will not be alone. Your designer will be the pivotal person who will help you evaluate the choices you have available. He or she will produce drawings in order to visually demonstrate these options and will offer advice on which options are best and why.

I understand that this all sounds very tedious and problematic. In some sense these two words are a good description of the design/construction process. However, what I have outlined above is done thousands of times every day and most of those homeowners have survived and, as a result, now have the new, beautiful, functional, kitchen of their dreams. You notice I said “most”! Seriously, the project will be challenging and there will be some problems. This is just the nature of design and construction and that is why you should not proceed without experienced professional help throughout the process from the very beginning to the end.

UTILIZING YOUR KITCHEN

Are you an expert chef, who does it all: cooking, baking, barbecuing, or are you a minimal cook whose main goal is to just get a meal on the table for the family as expeditiously as possible, or are you somewhere in between? Do you always cook by yourself or do you often have family and friends help with the cooking? Do you often entertain and all flow into the kitchen while munching on your Brie between sips of chardonnay? Do you bake often and want a marble surface for that purpose? The questions can go on and on.

Some clients have large, prestigious, homes and entertain frequently and/or have large families. They may have someone do the cooking for them. Some of these types of projects may need the full treatment, such as a butler’s pantry or walk-in pantry, two islands, two refrigerators, two dishwashers, two microwave ovens, a wine cooler, a separate beverage cooler, a built-in espresso machine, sink, prep-sink and bar sink and glass-door cabinets to display the family heirloom china, etc.

Most clients require something substantially less than all of this, but I bring it up just to emphasize that how you utilize your kitchen has a strong influence on the design and therefore, as I mentioned, you should think about how you want to operate and what you want to accommodate in your kitchen. You can start to think about what type of appliances and features you would like. Think of the three major work areas of a kitchen: Food Prep (refrigerator and sink), Cooking (cook top, oven and microwave) and Cleanup (sink, dishwasher and recycling). You will find a myriad of styles and options available which you and your designer will need to carefully consider. More planning, of course!

HOW & WHERE YOU WILL EAT

You may prefer to be able to eat in the kitchen by having an island with seating. The size of the island that the room will accommodate will determine how many persons you can seat. Seating at an island reduces the storage space available in the island, so the balance of the kitchen storage will need to absorb this loss. You can basically sit at three counter heights: chair height (29-30″), counter height (36″) and bar height (42″).

If you have an adjacent breakfast room, you may want to eat there in the interest of having more storage space in the island. If the room will accommodate it, you may like the idea of a built-in booth in the breakfast room or kitchen, in lieu of a typical table and chairs. Many clients like to have the option of eating in both the breakfast room and at the island in the kitchen. In some cases there is no breakfast room and the dining room serves as both breakfast room and dining room. In any case, you should give these and other possibilities careful consideration.

THE DESIGN STYLE

There are many design motifs available to you: Traditional, Modern, Contemporary, Country, Craftsman, Cape Cod, etc. The design motif that you select will obviously heavily influence the selection of all of the other elements in the kitchen. The cabinet style and finish have the strongest influence on the design style of the kitchen. As I mentioned, you can start by collecting magazine photos of kitchens to get a feel for what you do and don’t like. They will give you great ideas for all things kitchen. Stock, semi-custom or custom cabinets have many different styles and finishes to offer and of course, custom cabinets can provide any design and finish.

REMAINING ISSUES

The planning process will continue until every aspect of the total kitchen design is selected and specified. However, once you have established your footprint and vertical space, how you want to utilize your kitchen, how and where you want to eat, and your design motif, you are more than half way there. The planning process continues, on a smaller scale, as you are making more decisions about all of the items and issues that make up a total kitchen design.

Examples: Do you often make spaghetti and pasta, which requires filling a large pot with about four to six quarts of water? If so, you should have a pot-filler over the cook top or range top. Since there are only two of you and it takes a long time to fill up the dishwasher before you can wash the dishes, you should consider a two drawer dishwasher which enables you to wash one drawer at a time, thereby saving energy and providing you with clean dishes more often. Do you prefer an air switch in the countertop for the disposal or do you want the switch to be on the backsplash? Do you want a garbage disposal in the prep sink as well as the main sink? Do you want soft close on your cabinet drawers? Do you like the idea of pendant lighting above the island? Do you want a filtered water system? The questions go on and on!

The various categories you will be encountering in designing your new kitchen are as follows. This listing of categories will give you an idea of what is to come. I didn’t say it was easy!

APPLIANCES, CABINETS, HARDWARE, FLOORING, PLUMBING, COUNTERTOP, BACKSPLASH, LIGHTING/ELECTRICAL, WALL FINISH, FURNITURE, WINDOW TREATMENTS, ART WORK, ACCESSORIES AND CONSTRUCTION.

CONCLUSION

I trust that by reading this article, you now have an appreciation of how important careful planning is to the successful design of your kitchen. The more thought and quality time you devote to it, the better prepared you will be when you begin with your designer and the process will become easier and more efficient, which everyone involved will greatly appreciate.

Once you have made most of these macro-decisions that I have mentioned, you will be ready to tackle the micro-decisions that are coming next. As you can see by the examples I have mentioned and the listing of categories above, you have a lot more planning to do, but remember you are now over half way there. Be strong and resolute and I am sure that you will get through the entire process virtually unscathed. And, if you are thoughtful, organized and work in the spirit of mutual cooperation, you will probably have some fun too! Remember that not all of this is on your shoulders. Your professional designer will be by your side for the whole trip.

I sincerely hope that you have found this information helpful and I wish you the best of luck on your journey.

Kitchen Design 101 – Getting Started

Section 1 – The Beginning

Once you have made the decision to build a new facility with a commercial kitchen, or remodel/expand the existing kitchen facility in your building, you will need to take one of the following steps to begin:

1. You go directly to the Architect to develop the location and preliminary design for the facility.

2. You request that several Architectural firms provide information on their firms and requests information on the Subtrades (i.e., Electrical/Plumbing/ Mechanical Engineers, Foodservice Consultant (Kitchen Designer),etc.) to evaluate and select a firm to assist you with the project.

3. You hire an Architect or Project Control firm to develop the location and the preliminary design of the facility and prepare a Request for Proposal (RFP) for other Architectural firms to provide the Architectural services for the design of your new facility.

Request for Proposal

The Architect developing the RFP may or may not be requested to provide a proposal for this work. The RFP should provide basic information on the project by the owner or architect as to type and size of building, etc. and generally requires information on all of the team members; the architect needs to provide information on:

• Personnel to be assigned to the project and their resumes

• Finances to ensure that the company is financially capable of handling the project

• Firm history

• Similar projects, with examples and pictures

• Methods of operations, explain how they do business

• Resumes and information on Consultants, i.e., Engineers, Landscaping, IT, Foodservice, etc.

Foodservice Consultant

The Foodservice Consultant (Kitchen Designer) should also be brought in as early as possible in the planning process to ensure there is adequate space provided to meet your vision of the foodservice area. This does not always happen, and by the time the Foodservice Consultant (Kitchen Designer) is brought,in most of the floor spaces have been designed or allocated for other purposes.

Section 2 – Kitchen Design 101 – Concept

Architect plus a Kitchen Designer (Foodservice Consultant)

You may have already done a preliminary programming exercise with either an architect or programming firm to develop a location and a preliminary concept for the building. You may have done some of the concept for the facility and foodservice areas (kitchen and servery) but this is just the beginning.

Once you have selected the architectural firm to work with you on the project, they will have further meetings with you to develop and finalize the program for the building that will include the kitchen design. During these meetings, they will assist you with the continuing development of the required areas within the building and the overall footprint of the building.

The Foodservice Consultant (Kitchen Designer) is normally not included in the design and programming of the facility at this point. We feel that this is an error in the design process!

Why a Foodservice Consultant?

We believe that the Foodservice Consultant (Kitchen Designer) should be part of this early design process. We will work with you and the Architect to identify the number of potential customers and operational functions, which will significantly impact the design process.

We will work with you and/or the chef/operator to develop the type of service and food products that will be provided.

We will do preliminary block plans and a sketch of the necessary functional area(s) to allow for the proper amount of square footage. This will allow the square footage required for the kitchen design to be programmed into the project as part of early planning, not as an afterthought.

The information gathered during this stage will be further developed and expanded during the Design Development phase.

Section 3 – Kitchen Design 101 – Program

Foodservice Consultant

Five Oaks Kitchen Design’s approach to a project is to address all planning issues during the pre-design or Concept Development portion of the project.

Five Oaks Kitchen Design will provide the Owner and Architect a “Foodservice Program Questionnaire Form” designed for your facility. (See Appendix)

The program questionnaire will include statements of planning facts, goals, special owner/operator requests, operational characteristics and assumptions, area allocations, and cost estimates.

Unless these items are discussed early and resolved, unspoken assumptions could result in problems as the project develops.

Questionnaire

The Foodservice Program Questionnaire approach gives the Owner, Architect, and the design team the opportunity to understand, in detail, how the foodservice facility will operate and is the basis for the design assumptions. This program is reaction-oriented and we ask all of the team members to review the program, to confirm, refine or expand on any part of the program.

For a design to be effective in the early planning stages, it is important to explicitly state what the directives and proprieties are, so a well coordinated and approved program can be the basis for developing the most successful design.

Foodservice/Planning Considerations

• Corporate Goals & Policies (Operational Objectives/directives)

  • Has the owner pre-established foodservice guidelines, operational profile, or specific financial targets.

• Demand Requirements (Who/How Many we feed)

  • We need to analyze populations by employee categories, location within the facility, and likely participation.

• Serving/Dining Format (How are we serving the employees)

  • Do we need multiple, complementary-format foodservice entities? What are the serving requirements, training/conference center, private dining, executive dining, employee cafeterias, patient feeding, school/institutional feeding, etc?

• Operational Characteristics (How are we going to prepare the food)

  • Should there be an in-house bakery, meat/vegetable preparation area, etc.?
  • Do we need an ingredient control room?
  • Staging areas for remote feeding areas or transport equipment, etc.?
  • How do we encourage self-bussing?

• Functional Relationships (Proximity and adjacency relationships, process flow workstation organization)

  • How can process flow be shortened and streamlined for food preparation, service, warewash, and trash.
  • How can cross-flows or flow restrictions be eliminated or minimized?
  • Have we met all the program objectives?

• Equipment Costs (Capital initial cost)

  • What is the initial foodservice equipment budget and what is the basis for the estimate?
  • How can it be reduced and if necessary, still maintain the design of the project?
  • Long term quality equipment vs less expensive short life equipment.

• Operational Efficiency (Equipment life cycle & labor/staffing costs)

  • In most applications, a 10+ year life cycle is an appropriate factor. Can the facility be designed to use fewer workers, can one person work two stations easily?

• Project Schedule (Planning and Construction management)

  • An early assessment of the project milestones needs to be done to see if there are any constraints on the foodservice planning, bidding, or construction schedules.

• Growth Considerations ( Future Employee Growth)

  • Do we need to develop “soft” spaces for future growth in certain foodservice component areas?
  • Should we size the cold storage assemblies for future growth?

Section 4 – Kitchen Design -101 Schematic Design

Bubble Diagrams

During the schematic design phase, the Foodservice Consultant (Kitchen Designer) will work with you, and the chef or operator, as well as the architectural team, to develop a floor plan layout using bubble diagrams, of the major functional areas and work stations:

• Receiving

• Storage (Dry, Refrigerator, Freezer, Non-Food, Disposable Paper Goods Storage)

• Preparation Area, dry, vegetable and meat

• Production Area (s) (hot & cold), a la carte cooking/grille

• Waiter pick-up/beverage area (s)

• Serving counters/serving lines

• Warewashing / Potwashing / Pulping

• Other/Specialty Areas

  • Office (s)
  • Toilets/Lockers
  • Bakery
  • Service Bar
  • Service Pantries
  • Executive Kitchens
  • Banquet Kitchen, Dish-up, Staging
  • Tray assembly area
  • Cart Wash

• Seating Areas

By reorganizing the bubble diagram, as necessary, and relocating the relationships of the work areas and flow from one work area to another (with minimal counter flow of product or crossing traffic), we can create a bubble diagram that works.

Block Plans

Once the bubble diagram is completed, we will create a block plan which shows the required square footage for each functional space. This will also further define the space requirements; we will reorganize blocks, as necessary, to incorporate the ideas and fit within the overall plan.

Keep in mind that gross square feet (the sum of all areas on all floors of a building included within the outside faces of its exterior walls, including all vertical penetration areas, for circulation and shaft areas that connect one floor to another.) is larger than net square feet (Net square feet is computed by physically measuring or scaling measurements from the inside faces of surfaces that form the boundaries of the designated areas. Areas defined as building service, circulation, mechanical, and structural should not be included).

Once we have an approved block plan we will create a schematic plan (a drawing intended to explain how something works; a drawing showing the relation between the parts) for your review and approval. We will provide a budget estimate for review based on the estimated cost per square foot.

After the schematic plan is approved, we will move on to laying out the basic equipment as part of the Kitchen Design Development.

To be continued.