If you have an interest in design on any level, I think it is important to maintain exposure to new influences as well as reaping the benefits from those that have extensive experience in the field. I recently attended a kitchen design class at the Builder’s Education Center in Berkeley, California. The class was primarily focused on homeowner’s who are considering a kitchen remodel in the near future. I was definitely an outlier because of my experience in the remodeling industry. That said, I still gained new insights from Beverly Wilson, a design veteran who has fresh ideas and 30 years experience to back it up.
These are some of the key points that came out of the design discussion.
- The concept of the classic kitchen triangle has morphed into a pentagram based on the multiple work stations that exist in most kitchens. Key learning: Don’t get locked into a traditional layout because it follows the dictates established at the start of the 20th century. The sacred cow that needs to be maintained is to have adequate counter space between the sink and stove. If the refrigerator is isolated on the other side of the room, so be it.
- Eliminate the garbage disposal as a hold-over from 80’s and 90′ over consumption. If you are truly composting all of your natural food refuse as you are supposed to, why do you need a garbage disposal ?
- If you have a small to medium sized kitchen approach your design as if everything needs to fit under the counter. Take advantage of under-counter refrigerators and freezers and pull-out drawer dishwashers. Use base cabinet drawer banks to provide highly efficient storage that will allow you to reduce the number of upper wall cabinets.
- Support local cabinet makers who can provide custom solutions to your kitchen storage needs.
- Raise your counter heights to 39″.
- Maintain the integrity of natural wood cabinets with simple designs and finishes. Don’t over-paint, over-glaze over-distress your cabinets. Let the beauty of the natural wood speak for itself.
- Don’t give in to pesky corner cabinets that seem to have no use. If conventional access is unconvincing then look for alternative access.