We all know the kitchen is the center of activity in the typical American home. It has become the place for family gatherings. Where does everyone migrate to during the holidays and parties? You know the answer, it’s the kitchen. Unfortunately, if the kitchen is small or outdated, it can be frustrating to a point where you need to make a transformation, usually a total remodel. The latest trend we’re seeing as part of that transformation is the removal of walls to open up the space, usually to accommodate an island. 

Functionality is still the most important aspect of kitchen design, unless of course, you don’t plan to use it for cooking. With that in mind, I’ve compiled my list of the most important aspects of kitchen design. 

  1. Your appliance selection should happen early in the design process, it is critical to the cabinet layout.
  2. Design kitchen lighting in layers including: general lighting, accent lighting, and task lighting. Include dimming and even better, lighting controls to easily control the lighting in “scenes”.
  3. Locate the dishwasher on one side of the kitchen sink and a trash/recycling bin on the other side. The trash bin should be a pull-out and not behind a swing door.
  4. Provide landing spaces convenient to the refrigerator.
  5. The cooktop should have a working space on each side. Don’t design combustible vertical surfaces directly adjacent to the cooktop. 
  6. Pantry cabinets should be included whenever possible. A walk-in pantry is a wonderful asset if you have the room, however, well-designed pantry cabinets can be equally effective.
  7. There are many great options for countertops. Choose a durable surface that coordinates well with both the cabinets and backsplash. Quartz surfaces are durable and popular.
  8. Providing an abundance of natural light is always a popular option. However, it also reduces the amount of upper cabinet space. Think about large, deep drawers designed to store dishes in the lower cabinets when upper cabinet space is minimized. Under counter microwaves are also a great option when necessary because of a lack of space.
  9. Think about aging in place when designing the kitchen. Besides providing for accessible surfaces and cabinets, an induction cooktop is a great option to protect elder users and children against burns from the hot surfaces of conventional cooktops.
  10. Under cabinet lighting should be considered essential.
  11. Consider a touch controlled kitchen faucet to turn on the water. Faucets with an integral sprayer are my preference. 
  12. Bonus tip. The island should be considered a place to gather. Consider keeping sinks and cooktops off the island. Today’s entertaining lifestyle is more conducive with a clear countertop area for conversing and it can also double as a buffet counter. A cooktop or sink tends to create clutter.

Intro to this newsletter included the following note from Bill:

I hope this newsletter finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy.  I don’t have to tell you we are living in a strange and difficult time.   A special thanks goes out to everyone on the front lines of this battle against the Covid-19 virus. Thank you to the first responders and their families.  It’s times like these when they are appreciated the most.

As an employer, my number one priority has been to provide a safe work environment for my employees.  Our staff has recently been working from home, with an occasional trip to the office as necessary.  We are trying to do all the “right things”.  I am usually working alone in our office; every day is like a quiet Saturday morning catching up on the loose ends from the week.  

There is a sense of responsibility as a business owner to continue to provide a place of employment and a regular paycheck for everyone on our staff. This is not always an easy task.  However, it is important to provide leadership that will get us all through these troubling times.  Everyone who is a business owner understands what I am talking about.

If there is anything I can do to help you in this time of need, let me know.  I’ll do what I can.  I also ask that you also keep Studio21 Architects in mind if you know someone that can use our services.  My employees, who I consider family, count on it. 

I thought about delaying this newsletter but then decided to proceed.  Sending this out is a small symbol that life must continue with some resemblance of normality.  Things will eventually return to normal, a somewhat new normal that has yet to be defined. I look forward to eventually watching baseball, hockey, and auto racing again.  I also look to the days that the grocery store is fully stocked with toilet paper.

I hope you enjoy this newsletter; I have included a story about a wonderful couple that faced the challenges of a kitchen remodel.  Also, I would love hearing from you and what you are doing to cope with this pandemic that has overtaken the world.  Send me a note, an email or a phone call.  We are all in this together, please stay safe.
Letter from Bill Styczynski regarding Covid-19

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